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A serious actor of great ability, Leonard Rossitter's place in history was assured by his appearances in a series of vermouth adverts with Joan Collins and two brilliant comic roles.
He gave up a career in insurance to become an actor, making his breakthrough in Billy Liar.
He came to comedy on BBC-3 in the mid-60s but it was as Rising Damp's obnoxious landlord Rupert Rigsby that he first captured the public with his perfect timing, comic energy and ability to convey volumes with a single flick of the eye.
He brought the same skills to the title role in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, his performance (along with excellent scripts) making the tale of one man's journey through a nervous breakdown and out the other side both sympathetic and utterly hilarious.
After Perrin, Rossitter largely eschewed comedy. Sadly his last comic project was the dreadful Tripper's Day.
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