Sgt. Arthur Wilson
in Bedford in 1912, John attended a school in Dorset before embarking
on a career in Law. However his real inkling was to become an
actor and at the age of 20 with his parents approval, his acting
career at the Fay Compton school of dramatic art.
After the war in which he served
as a Captain in the North West Indian Frontier he returned to
acting on stage and film. By the late 1950's he was a frequent
face to be seen in many films, especially those made by the Boulting
Brothers and also made his mark on television appearing in several
episodes of Hancock's Half Hour. A close friend of Tony
Hancock, John also appeared in Hancock's films on the big screen
in the early 60's.
By now John was in high demand although
sometimes he felt going to work was like going back to school.
In 1968 he landed the role of Sgt Arthur Wilson in Dad's Army,
a pleasurable role for himself, as he had mutual respect for the
actors he worked alongside with on the show. He sometimes likened
it to be part of an old boys club. As well as performing in Dad's
Army John still kept busy with other TV and film roles including
his BAFTA award-winning role in the Dennis Potter play Traitor.
the end of Dad's Army he had become very ill, but was saddened
even further by the end of the series, nevertheless he kept on
acting and by the end of his career had amassed appearances in
over 150 film roles.
His last role was in the radio sequel
to Dad's Army, It Sticks Out Half a Mile of which
he returned to his role of Arthur Wilson in the years after the
John died in 1983 aged 71, according
to his self composed epitaph in The Times 'he conked out'
wanting to inject some humour and a layed back approach into his
passing, this was the ultimate tribute to John Le Mesurier. John
was survived by his third wife Joan.
His autobiography, A Jobbing Actor
was published posthumously.