Peter Bowles Biography, Wiki, Age, Career, Death, Cause of Death | Who was Peter Bowles? Bio, Wiki

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Who was Peter Bowles?

Peter Bowles (16 October 1936 – 17 March 2022) was an English stage and television actor.

Peter Bowles, star of TV sitcom To the Manor Born, dies aged 85

The actor Peter Bowles, who starred in the Manor Born, has died from cancer at the age of 85.

In a career spanning more than 60 years, Bowles appeared in hundreds of productions in film, TV, and theatre. But he was best known for his role as Richard DeVere in the BBC sitcom, which aired from 1979 to 1981, starring alongside Dame Penelope Keith, with the pair reprising their roles in 2007 special.

A statement to the PA news agency said: “The actor Peter Bowles has sadly passed away at the age of 85 from cancer.

“He worked consistently on stage and screen, becoming a household name on TV as the archetypal English gent into the Manor Born, Only When I Laugh, The Bounder and Lytton’s Diary, which he devised himself.

“He leaves his wife of over 60 years, Sue, and their three children, Guy, Adam, and Sasha.”

To the Manor Born catapulted Bowles to fame, with the series regularly attracting TV audiences of 20 million. He played the nouveau-riche businessman DeVere, a wholesale foods magnate of Czech descent, who purchases a grand English manor house from its original owner, Audrey Forbes-Hamilton (Keith), who is forced to sell her beloved Grantleigh estate and decamp to a tiny cottage on-site, from where she views DeVere’s activities disapprovingly.

The pair married in the final episode. The chemistry and comedy that Bowles generated with Keith turned the show into one of the most-watched programs of the 1970s.

In 2013, Bowles told the Guardian in an interview about the sitcom: “The show cut across all classes and was watched by 20 million viewers at its peak. The day after the first episode, I walked out to get my morning paper and people stopped me in the street; when I went on stage that night there was a huge round of applause. Suddenly people wanted to talk to me.”

Bowles’s famous fans included Robin Ince, who described his turn as Archie Rice in The Entertainer as “utterly superb”, and cited him as a force behind the production of Gangster No 1 – a play Bowles would star in and which would go on to be turned into a film directed by Paul McGuigan.

Peter Bowles Biography, Wiki

Playing the archetypal English gent, with caddish mustache and dapper Savile Row suit, finally brought Peter Bowles to the notice of the viewing nation in 1979 after some twenty years toiling in repertory theatre and in countless supporting roles on television.

Although a contemporary of Albert Finney, Alan Bates and Peter O’Toole at RADA, he remained outside the undefined theatrical club of his colleagues, whom he watched move swiftly on to stage and film success.

Throughout the 1960s he amassed a long line of smoothie villains and swarthy rogues in various ITV action dramas such as No Hiding Place (1959-67), Crane (1963-65), Public Eye (1965-75), and the cross-Atlantic series Danger Man (1960-61; 1964-66), The Saint (1962-69) and The Baron (1966-67).

During this seemingly hectic yet thankless period, one of his more enjoyably manic roles turned up in the offbeat ‘Escape in Time’ episode (tx. 27/1/1967) for The Avengers (ITV, 1961-69) in which he gave a vigorous performance as an eyeball-rolling psychopath with over-heated designs on Diana Rigg.

Peter Bowles Biography Wikipedia
Peter Bowles
BornPeter Bowles
16 October 1936
London, England
Died17 March 2022 (aged 85)
OccupationActor
Years active1959–2021
Spouse(s)Susan Bennett ​(m. 1961)​
Children3

Peter Bowles Career

Bowles began his career with the Old Vic Company in 1956 playing small parts in Shakespeare’s MacbethRomeo and JulietTroilus and Cressida and Richard II. After a season the company toured North America, concluding with a sell-out season at the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway. He played in many performances at the Bristol Old Vic.

Bowles’ performance in Running Late was another turning point in his career because it was seen and admired by Sir Peter Hall, who over the next twenty years chose Bowles for eight plays he produced in London’s West End theatres. Bowles’ first leading role in London was offered after playing Byron in Alan Bridges’ TV film Shelley

His next play was Alan Ayckbourn’s Absent Friends, also starring Richard Briers, at the Garrick Theatre in 1975. Then came Tom Stoppard’s Dirty Linen and New-Found-Land at the Arts Theatre in 1976. (Bowles had last played there in 1963 in Anthony Powell’s Afternoon Men in a cast that also included James Fox, Alan Howard and the actress and pop artist Pauline Boty).

Bowles’ first starring role in the theatre after many years of TV successes was as Archie Rice in John Osborne’s The Entertainer at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 1986; he was the first actor to play the part in London since Laurence Olivier in 1957. In 1990 Bowles starred opposite Michael Gambon in Alan Ayckbourn’s Man of the Moment at the Globe Theatre.

The role of Vic Parkes was Bowles’ first, but not last, performance as an East End gangster. After Running Late Sir Peter Hall began to offer Bowles a succession of leading roles in West End theatre, including Terence Rattigan’s Separate Tables opposite Patricia Hodge and George Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara with Jemma Redgrave. 

George S. Kaufman’s The Royal Family and Noël Coward’s Hay Fever, both opposite Judi Dench at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, followed. In 1996 Bowles played Arnolphe in Molière’s The School for Wives at the Piccadilly Theatre.

Another play for Hall, this time at the Theatre Royal, Bath, was Rattigan’s The Browning Version. Bowles’ last play for Hall was Sheridan’s The Rivals in 2011, opposite Dame Penelope Keith, again at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. His other West End theatre plays include Coward’s Present Laughter, Anthony Shaffer’s Sleuth, Peter Nichols’ Born in the Gardens, Frederick Knott’s Wait Until Dark and in 2004, Simon Gray’s The Old Masters directed by Harold Pinter at the Comedy Theatre.

Then again at the Haymarket Theatre in Hutchinson’s The Beau, opposite Richard McCabe, and Rattigan’s In Praise of Love at the Apollo Theatre. In a South Bank Show, special Melvyn Bragg interviewed George MacDonald Fraser, and Bowles played the part of Fraser’s hero ‘Harry Flashman’.

Other parts include Higgins in Shaw’s Pygmalion and the General in Jean Anouilh’s The Waltz of the Toreadors, both at the Chichester Festival Theatre; and Judge Brack in Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler (translation: Frank McGuinness) opposite Francesca Annis.

Bowles played the ultimate gangster in Mellis and Scinto’s Gangster No 1 at the Almeida Theatre in 1995 for which he held the film rights; he raised money from Channel 4 Films and was executive producer for the film Gangster No. 1 (2000), starring Paul Bettany.

Peter Bowles Wife

Bowles married Susan Bennett on 8 April 1961. The couple lived in Barnes, south-west London, and had three children together, Guy, Adam, and Sasha. 

Peter Bowles FAQ’s

Who was Peter Bowles?

Peter Bowles (16 October 1936 – 17 March 2022) was an English stage and television actor.

How did Peter Bowles die?

He died on 17 March 2022 from cancer.

How old was Peter Bowles?

Peter Bowles died at 85.

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