Inspector Morse actor James Grout dies at 84

image captionGrout is probably best known for his role as Inspector Morse's boss in the long-running series

James Grout, the actor best known for playing Inspector Morse's boss Chief Superintendent Strange, has died in Wiltshire, aged 84.

The Rada-trained actor appeared on stage, film, television and radio and received a Tony award nomination for his role as Harry Chitterlow in Half a Sixpence.

The 1965 musical led to a series of major West End roles until the 1990s.

Grout, who had been ill for some time, died on Sunday.

While he is probably best known for his role as Inspector Morse's boss on the long-running TV series with John Thaw, he also played prominent characters in other much-loved series, including Yes Minister, Rumpole of the Bailey and David Copperfield.

Born in London, he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, making his debut as Valentine in Twelfth Night at the Old Vic in 1950.

Theatre roles

Following his Tony Award nomination for his performance of Harry Chitterlow in Half a Sixpence on Broadway in 1965, Grout went on to play many major roles in productions in London's West End.

image captionJames Grout as Mr Spenlow in David Copperfield

In the 1980s, he took up residence at the Theatre Royal in Haymarket, playing opposite Peter O'Toole in Bernard Shaw's Man and Superman.

He had brief stint at Richard Eyre's National Theatre in the mid-1990s in Charles MacArthur's Johnny On a Spot.

Grout also appeared on BBC Radio, taking part in the King Street Junior series, as well as Old Harry's Game.

He played Barliman Butterbur in the 1981 Radio Four adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, as well as Rev. Timothy Corswell in The Secret Life of Rosewood Avenue and a role in Any Other Business.

In 1977, he and his wife Noreen moved from west London to Malmesbury in Wiltshire, where he wrote a much-loved column for the local newspaper.

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