Vet thesp McKern dies

Star of TV's 'Rumpole,' roles in 'Help,' 'Seasons'

LONDON — Veteran character actor Leo McKern, best known internationally as the star of the long-running BBC TV series “Rumpole of the Bailey,” died at a nursing home near Bath in Somerset, England Tuesday. He was 82.

McKern, who had been suffering from diabetes and other health problems, had a 50-year career, including acclaimed Shakespearean performances on stage, and film roles in everything from the 1965 Beatles’ pic “Help” to “A Man For All Seasons” (1966) to “Ryan’s Daughter” (1970) to “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” (1981).

He first took on the part of the curmudgeonly and quick-witted lawyer Rumpole in 1975 and made a total of seven series, the last in 1992.

Prominent British human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson said: “His great achievement was to create a lawyer the world could love.”

McKern’s final film appearance was in 1999’s “The Story of Father Damien,” and he last tread the boards in London’s West End in 2000.

McKern was born in Sydney, Australia, and moved to Britain at age 26. He is survived by his wife, actress Jane Holland, and two daughters, Abigail and Harriet.

More TV

  • Picture by Vaughn Ridley/SWpix.com - 16/01/2018

    10 Things We Learned From Four Top Media Analysts at NATPE

    LONDON — Veteran character actor Leo McKern, best known internationally as the star of the long-running BBC TV series “Rumpole of the Bailey,” died at a nursing home near Bath in Somerset, England Tuesday. He was 82. McKern, who had been suffering from diabetes and other health problems, had a 50-year career, including acclaimed Shakespearean […]

  • Black Lightning -- "LaWanda: The Book

    ‘Black Lightning’ Boss on Telling a Tale of ‘African-American Paranoia’

    LONDON — Veteran character actor Leo McKern, best known internationally as the star of the long-running BBC TV series “Rumpole of the Bailey,” died at a nursing home near Bath in Somerset, England Tuesday. He was 82. McKern, who had been suffering from diabetes and other health problems, had a 50-year career, including acclaimed Shakespearean […]

  • Qué Vida Buena

    Natpe: Brazil’s Globo Unveils Its Drive into Diversity, New Generation Talent

    LONDON — Veteran character actor Leo McKern, best known internationally as the star of the long-running BBC TV series “Rumpole of the Bailey,” died at a nursing home near Bath in Somerset, England Tuesday. He was 82. McKern, who had been suffering from diabetes and other health problems, had a 50-year career, including acclaimed Shakespearean […]

  • Ann Curry Matt Lauer Today

    Ann Curry to Appear on 'CBS This Morning'

    LONDON — Veteran character actor Leo McKern, best known internationally as the star of the long-running BBC TV series “Rumpole of the Bailey,” died at a nursing home near Bath in Somerset, England Tuesday. He was 82. McKern, who had been suffering from diabetes and other health problems, had a 50-year career, including acclaimed Shakespearean […]

  • Catastrophe

    'Catastrophe,' 'Divorce' Co-Creator Sharon Horgan Inks Overall Deal With Amazon

    LONDON — Veteran character actor Leo McKern, best known internationally as the star of the long-running BBC TV series “Rumpole of the Bailey,” died at a nursing home near Bath in Somerset, England Tuesday. He was 82. McKern, who had been suffering from diabetes and other health problems, had a 50-year career, including acclaimed Shakespearean […]

  • Fort Hood, Killeen, TX - Noel

    Nat Geo TV Goes Shopping for Movies, Docu Series at NATPE

    LONDON — Veteran character actor Leo McKern, best known internationally as the star of the long-running BBC TV series “Rumpole of the Bailey,” died at a nursing home near Bath in Somerset, England Tuesday. He was 82. McKern, who had been suffering from diabetes and other health problems, had a 50-year career, including acclaimed Shakespearean […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content