Star Archive

Kenneth Griffith (1921 - 2006)

When Kenneth Griffith died recently, his obituaries focused on his later career as a documentary film maker and on his reputation as a grumpy old sod. He probably wouldn't  have had it any other way; but most of us will actually remember him as a fine supporting player.

He was born in Tenby and raised by his grandparents. He left grammar school at fifteen with an ambition to act. He was still struggling in rep when he was called up to serve in the RAF. He was invalided out in 1942 thanks to illness and he joined the Old Vic.

His big break came in The Shop at Sly Corner at St Martin's Theatre. His portrayal of spivvy  blackmailer Archie Fellowes, set the pattern of his roles for the next few years, and he reprised the part both on TV and in film. For a while he cornered the market in untrustworthy, seedy characters but as his career progressed he moved up the social scale. In his career as supporting player he portrayed both Hitler and Napoleon, though usually the villainy was of a lesser level.

In the 60s and 70s, as well as his film work, he became ubiquitous as a guest artist in numerous TV series such as The Prisoner and Callan. It was however his TV documentaries that got most notice, beginning with a film on the siege of Ladysmith in 1964. His most notorious work was Hang Out Your Brightest Colours about Michael Collins. His films concentrated on the effects of British imperialism, and in an age of impartial documentaries his were unashamedly polemical. Several of his projects got shelved.

In his later years he remained angry and committed to his beliefs. Good for him!

Filmography as actor

1941 The Farmer's Wife
1941 Love on the Dole
1942 The Black Sheep of Whitehall
1942 Hard Steel
1942 The Great Mr Handel
1946 Fame is the Spur
1947 Bond Street
1947 The Shop at Sly Corner
1948 Forbidden
1949 Blue Scar
1949 Helter Skelter
1950 Waterfront
1951 High Treason
1953 36 Hours
1955 Track the Man Down
1955 The Green Buddha
1955 The Prisoner
1956 Private's Progress
1956 The Baby and the Battleship
1956 1984
1956 Tiger in the Smoke
1957 Blue Murder at St Trinian's
1957 Chain of Events
1957 The Naked Truth
1957 Lucky Jim
1958 The Two-headed Spy
1958 Rag Doll
1958 A Night to Remember
1958 The Man Upstairs
1959 I'm All Right Jack
1959 Carlton-Browne of the F.O.
1959 Tiger Bay
1959 Libel
1960 Suspect
1960 Snowball
1960 Expresso Bongo
1960 Circus of Horrors
1960 A French Mistress
1961 The Frightened City
1961 Payroll
1962 We Joined the Navy
1962 Only Two Can Play
1962 The Painted Smile
1963 Heavens Above!
1965 Rotten to the Core
1967 The Whisperers
1967 The Bobo
1968 The Lion in Winter
1968 Great Catherine
1969 The Assasination Bureau
1979 The Gamblers
1971 Revenge
1973 The House in Nightmare Park
1974 S*P*Y*S
1976 Sky Raiders
1977 Why Shoot the Teacher?
1978 The Wild Geese
1980 The Sea Wolves
1982 Remembrance
1982 Who Dares Wins
1987 Shaka Zulu
1996 Four Weddings and a Funeral
1995 The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill...
2001 Very Annie Mary

 Kenneth Griffith at Amazon UK

 Kenneth Griffith at Amazon US