British actor Rodney Diak, who starred in a number of long-running West End hits, died of cancer Oct. 6 in London. He was 83.
Diak was known for his roles in the film “Dunkirk” and legit hits “Goodnight Mrs. Puffin” and “Busybody.” He also wrote and staged three of his own plays.
Born David Rodney Jones, in Harrow, he made his West End debut at 24 at the New Theater, with Michael Redgrave and the Old Vic Company in Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labours Lost.”
He remained with the Old Vic Company to appear in “She Stoops to Conquer” and in 1951, appeared in Twelth Night before the present Queen and Princess Margaret, leading the princess to observe, “That’s the most handsome actor in Britain.”
Diak was put under contract by MGM, but he was mortified to find himself making his bigscreen debut in “Fire Maidens from Outer Space,” a film that has been described as “a strong contender for the title of worst movie ever made.”
His screen parts improved with a cameo role in “Carry On Admiral,” and then “Dunkirk” with John Mills and Richard Attenborough. His other film roles included “Mr. Topaze” with Peter Sellers and “The Flesh and Blood Show.” For British television, he appeared in numerous programs including BBC series “The Troubleshooters.” “Z-Cars,” “Barlow at Large” and “People Like Us.”
He starred in the West End hit, “Goodnight Mrs. Puffin,” for 691 performances, and had another long run with “Busybody” in 1964. His later stage roles included “My Cousin Rachel,” “The Secretary Bird,” “Private Lives” and “The Boy Friend.”