Lionel Jeffries was an English character actor. He was known for his bald head and bushy mustache. This allowed him to play much older roles. During his career Lionel Jeffries played a nice line of English eccentrics.
Lionel Jeffries was born in London in 1926. During World War II he was an officer in the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. Following the war, he trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. This lead to a two-year stint with a repertory company followed by work in English television.
Lionel Jeffries had a successful career in English films mainly in comic character roles but he also had dramatic roles such as in Bhowani Junction (1956) with Ava Gardner. In the 1960s he began to get lead roles in films such as Two-Way Stretch (1960), The Trials of Oscar Wilde (1960), First Men in the Moon (1964) and Camelot (1967). However Jefferies continued his drama roles in films such as Dunkirk (1958), horror such as The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), and adventure such as The Long Ships (1964).
His early baldness lead to some interesting roles like playing the father of Caractacus Potts (Dick Van Dyke) in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968). In reality, Jeffries was six months younger than Van Dyke.
[Tweet “Jeffries had a dislike of television”] and he avoided it for many years. In the 1980s he moved to television. Jeffries stopped acting in 2001 and died on 19 February 2010 in a nursing home in Poole, Dorset.
The Black Rider (1954) Martin Bremner
The Colditz Story (1955) Harry Tyler
Bhowani Junction (1956) Lt. Graham McDaniel
Lust for Life (1956) Dr. Peyron
1957Blue Murder at St. Trinian’s Joe Mangan
1957Decision Against Time Keith
1957Hour of Decision Elvin Main
1958Behind the Mask Walter Froy
1958Dunkirk Colonel – Medical Officer
The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958) Fritz
1960Life Is a Circus Genie
1960Tarzan the Magnificent Ames
1960The Trials of Oscar Wilde John Sholto Douglas, Marquis of Queensberry
1963Call Me Bwana Ezra
1963The Crimson Blade Col. Judd
First Men in the Moon (1964) Joseph Cavor
The Long Ships (1964) Aziz
1965The Secret of My Success Insp. Hobart / Baron von Lukenberg / The Earl of Aldershot
1965You Must Be Joking! Sgt. Maj. McGregor
1966The Spy with a Cold Nose Stanley Farquhar
1967Camelot King Pellinore
1967Those Fantastic Flying Fools Sir Charles Dillworthy
1968Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Grandpa Potts
1972Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? Inspector Ralph Willoughby
1979The Prisoner of Zenda General Sapt