Ronald John Allen|
16 December 1930
Reading, Berkshire, England
18 June 1991 (aged 60)|
|Cause of death||Lung cancer|
|Spouse(s)||Sue Lloyd (1991, his death)|
Allen was born in Reading, Berkshire. He studied at Leighton Park School in Reading and trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London, where he won the John Gielgud Scholarship. He worked in repertory theatre and had a season at the Old Vic in London. Allen also appeared in several films, including A Night to Remember (1958) about the sinking of the Titanic, the espionage film A Circle of Deception (1960), the British horror films The Projected Man (1966) and The Fiend (1972), the war film Hell Boats (1970), and the black comedy Eat the Rich (1987).
After roles in the BBC soaps Compact (1963–64) and United! (1966–67) came his best remembered role, in the long-running Crossroads (1969–85). Allen played David Hunter, who was a shareholder of the Crossroads Motel with Meg Mortimer, Tish Hope and Bernard Booth. He also twice appeared as a lead actor in the science fiction programme Doctor Who, in the stories The Dominators (1968) and The Ambassadors of Death (1970).
Allen also frequently appeared as a guest in The Comic Strip Presents. In the first episode, Five Go Mad in Dorset (1982), which spoofed Enid Blyton's The Famous Five stories, he makes a surprise appearance as Uncle Quentin; deliberately sending up his staid image, he most memorably told The Famous Five, "Your Aunt Fanny is an unrelenting nymphomaniac – and I am a screaming homosexual". Allen reprised the role in the sequel Five Go Mad on Mescalin (1983), and also appeared in South Atlantic Raiders Part 2 (1990), The Strike (1988) and Oxford (1990), in addition to the feature film The Supergrass (1985). There was much comic mileage to be gained from Allen sending up his conservative image. In a 1987 interview, he said that he was approached by a very intimidating-looking punk who shook his hand and said, "I thought you were really cool in The Supergrass". Then, as he was about to walk away, he turned back and said, almost apologetically, "I loved you in Crossroads too!"
Allen lived for many years with the actor Brian Hankins, who also appeared in Crossroads. He was also very close friends with his co-star and on-screen wife, Sue Lloyd. When the British media started to intrude into their private lives, they made it known they were a couple. After Allen was told that his cancer was terminal, they married. He died three months later, aged 60. Sue Lloyd died twenty years later in 2011, also of cancer.
- A Night to Remember (1958) - Mr. Clarke
- A Circle of Deception (1960) - Jim Abelson
- Cleopatra (1963) - Minor Role (uncredited)
- The Projected Man (1966) - Dr. Chris Mitchel
- Hell Boats (1970) - Comdr. Ashurst, R.N.
- The Fiend (1972) - Paul
- The Supergrass (1985) - Commander Robertson
- Eat the Rich (1987) - Cmdr. Fortune