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Bernard Fox

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Also Known As: Bernard Lawson Died:
Born: May 11, 1927 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: United Kingdom Profession: actor, writer, assistant stage manager, lumberjack, postal worker

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A fifth generation performer, veteran character actor Bernard Fox appeared onstage for the first time at age 18 months and by the time he was 14 was not only acting but also working as an assistant stage manager for a repertory theater. After service in the Royal Navy during World War II, he resumed his career, soon joining the prominent York Repertory company and, later, London's Whitehall Farce Players. Fox made his screen debut in "Spin a Dark Web/Soho Incident" (1956) and played the man in the crow's nest of the Titanic who spots the iceberg in 1958's "A Night to Remember". He ended up on a BBC-TV series called "Three Live Wires", whose producer Ray Saffian Allen had American TV connections and promised to help the actor if he ever went to Hollywood. Once in Los Angeles, Fox acted first in the play "Write Me A Murder" (1962) before Allen (who along with partner Harvey Bullock wrote some scripts for "The Andy Griffith Show") got him a part on "The Danny Thomas Show" (CBS) as an inept waiter named Alfie. If the 1950s in NYC were the Golden Age of Live TV, then 1960s' Hollywood could be considered the Golden Age of the TV Sitcom, and Fox was right in the middle of it. The spot on "Danny Thomas" led...

A fifth generation performer, veteran character actor Bernard Fox appeared onstage for the first time at age 18 months and by the time he was 14 was not only acting but also working as an assistant stage manager for a repertory theater. After service in the Royal Navy during World War II, he resumed his career, soon joining the prominent York Repertory company and, later, London's Whitehall Farce Players. Fox made his screen debut in "Spin a Dark Web/Soho Incident" (1956) and played the man in the crow's nest of the Titanic who spots the iceberg in 1958's "A Night to Remember". He ended up on a BBC-TV series called "Three Live Wires", whose producer Ray Saffian Allen had American TV connections and promised to help the actor if he ever went to Hollywood. Once in Los Angeles, Fox acted first in the play "Write Me A Murder" (1962) before Allen (who along with partner Harvey Bullock wrote some scripts for "The Andy Griffith Show") got him a part on "The Danny Thomas Show" (CBS) as an inept waiter named Alfie.

If the 1950s in NYC were the Golden Age of Live TV, then 1960s' Hollywood could be considered the Golden Age of the TV Sitcom, and Fox was right in the middle of it. The spot on "Danny Thomas" led to his memorable role as Malcolm Merriweather in three episodes of "The Andy Griffith Show" (CBS). Over the next few years, he appeared in a wide array of the medium's best fare, including "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (CBS), "McHale's Navy" (ABC), "The Farmer's Daughter" (ABC) and "The Monkees" (NBC). The tremendous demand for his talents resulted in his simultaneously playing the recurring roles of physician-warlock Dr. Bombay on "Bewitched" (ABC) and Colonel Crittenden on "Hogan's Heroes" (CBS). Since then, Fox has acted in such features as "Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo" (1977) and "Private Eyes" (1980), both with Don Knotts, and landed guest spots on "M*A*S*H" (CBS) and "Murder, She Wrote" (CBS), among other series. He debuted on Broadway in "13 Rue de L'Amour" (1978) and rode the doomed luxury liner a second time as Archibald Grace in James Cameron's Oscar-winning "Titanic" (1997).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Surge of Power (2006)
2.
 Mummy, The (1999) Winston Havelock
3.
 Titanic (1997) Colonel Archibald Gracie
4.
 Rescuers Down Under, The (1990) Voice Of Chairmouse And Doctor
5.
 18 Again! (1988) Horton
6.
 Yellowbeard (1983) Tarbuck
7.
 Gauguin the Savage (1980) Captain Chablat
8.
 Private Eyes, The (1980) Justin
9.
 Rescuers, The (1977) Voice Of Chairman
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Carried onstage at 18 months
:
Cast in children's roles in productions such as "Richard III" (playing the little prince) and "Two Little Vagabonds"
:
Went to work with mother in Ireland, eventually returning to England
1941:
By age 14 was not only acting but serving as assistant stage manager of a repertory company (date approximate)
1943:
Began serving in Royal Navy; did some entertaining of his fellow servicemen, but much time spent doing serious work aboard a minesweeper
:
Returned to acting after World War II and worked his way up to the prominent York Repertory company
1952:
Joined London's Whitehall Farce Players, performing in "Reluctant Heroes", "Simple Spymen" and "Dry Rot", among other plays
:
Performed in London production of Shaw's "Misalliance", with Roger Livesey, Alan Webb and Donald Pleasance
1956:
Film debut in "Spin a Dark Web"
1958:
Played the man in the crow's nest who spots the iceberg in "A Night to Remember"; learned at its premier that his father had been a Titanic steerage passenger who had tried to guide passengers to safety
1959:
Met his wife (also an actor) in Rome doing "The Amorous Prawn"
:
Worked on a TV series called "Three Live Wires", meeting its producer Ray Saffian Allen who told him if he came to the states, " . . . I promise you a couple of shots"
:
Moved to L.A.
1962:
First Hollywood stage performance, "Write Me a Murder"
1963:
American TV debut on "The Danny Thomas Show" (CBS), playing an inept waiter named Alfie
1963:
Acted in John Huston's "The List of Adrian Messenger"
1963:
Portrayed Malcom Merriweather in "Andy's English Valet" episode of "The Andy Griffith Show" (CBS), the first of three appearances for the popular Merriweather character
1964:
Appeared on episodes of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (CBS), "McHale's Navy" (ABC) and "Twelve O'Clock High" (ABC)
1965:
Performed in three episdoes of "The Farmer's Daughter" (ABC) as three different characters
1966:
Acted in two "Man From U.N.C.L.E." (NBC) missions, one "The Mother Muffin Affair" with Boris Karloff in drag as Mother Muffin
1967:
Played recurring role of the eccentric warlock Dr Bombay on "Bewitched" (ABC); had previously played Osgood Wrightmeyer, a supposed "witchbuster", in a 1966 episode
:
Had recurring role as Colonel Crittenden on "Hogan's Heroes" (CBS)
1972:
Played Dr Watson to Stewart Granger's Sherlock Holmes in TV-movie "The Hound of the Baskervilles" (ABC)
1973:
Portrayed Constable Hooks in the feature "Arnold"
:
Acted, was master of ceremonies, directed and wrote "A Night in an English Music Hall", a recreation of a Victorian Music Hall at Santa Monica's Mayfair Theatre; later distilled portions he had written into a one-man show "Miniature Music Hall", which he performed in a variety of venues
1977:
Appeared in "Herbie Rides Again", starring Don Knotts and Dean Jones
1977:
Provided Chairman's voice in animated feature "The Rescuers"
1978:
Broadway debut as Duchotel in "13 Rue de L'Amour"
1980:
Portrayed Captain Chablat in TV-movie "Gaugin the Savage" (CBS)
1980:
Reteamed with Don Knotts for "The Private Eyes"
1990:
Lent his voice to the sequel "The Rescuers Down Under" (Chairmouse and Doctor)
1997:
Second time on the doomed Titanic, this time as Colonel Archibald Gracie in James Cameron's "Titanic"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

Fans of the ABC daytime drama "General Hospital" may remember Fox as Nigel Pennysmith.

About his role as Dr Bombay in "Bewitched": "So they called me in to play this doctor, and I thought it just was a one-shot, and that was it. And I thought to myself, I don't want to just be any old doctor, so I made him a very kind of--there's a man I knew in Ceylon actually, who'd been a vet, and he was the officer in charge of the camp that we were in, and it was an all male camp, and one evening, I was on duty, and we got six Women's Royal Naval Service arrived to be put up, and it was an all male camp. So I went to this officer and I said 'We got six Women's Royal Naval Services, what shall I do?' And he said 'Oh, I don't know, give 'em a hot bran mash, some clean straw, and bed 'em down for the night.' And I thought what a great way to play this doctor. And that's the way I played him, and they just kept writing him back in."

Fox treated "Andy Griffith" fans to delightful bits of his one-man show "Miniature Music Hall" during three cast events he attended in 1995 in Grand Rapids, MI, Winston-Salem, NC and Oxford, AL.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Jacqueline Fox. Actor. Met in Rome while performing in "The Amorous Prawn" (she played a Cockney maid to his butler); married c. 1961.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Gerald Lawson. Actor. Was a steerage passenger on the Titanic.
mother:
Queenie Barrett. Actor.
uncle:
Wilfred Lawson. Actor. Specialized in comedy.
sister:
Mavis Lawson. Actor. Older; lives in Sidney, Australia.
daughter:
Amanda Fox. Manager. Works at a debt-collection agency.
daughter:
Valerie Fox. Assistant manager. Works for hospital supply firm.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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