John Thaw

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John Edward Thaw CBE (3 January 1942 – 21 February 2002) was an English actor, who appeared in a range of television, stage and cinema roles, his most popular being police and legal dramas such as Redcap, The Sweeney, Inspector Morse and Kavanagh QC.


Early life

Thaw came from a working class background, having been born in Gorton, Manchester, to parents John and Dorothy (née Ablott). His father was a long distance lorry driver. He had a difficult childhood as his mother left him when he was seven years old and he didn't see her again until twelve years later. He had a younger brother called Ray. He grew up in the Burnage area of the city and attended Ducie Technical High School for Boys in Manchester. He entered the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art at the age of 17, where he was a contemporary of Tom Courtenay.[1]


Soon after leaving RADA he made his stage début in A Shred of Evidence at the Liverpool Playhouse and was awarded a contract with the theatre. His first film role was a bit part in the 1962 adaptation of The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner starring Tom Courtenay and he also acted on-stage opposite Sir Laurence Olivier in Semi-Detached (1962) by David Turner. He appeared in several episodes of the BBC police series Z-Cars in 1963–64 as a detective constable with a drink problem. Between 1964–66 he appeared as the central role of hard-nosed military policeman, Sgt John Mann, in two series of the ABC Weekend Television/ITV production Redcap. He was also a guest star in an early episode of The Avengers. In 1967 he appeared in the Granada TV/ITV series, Inheritance, alongside James Bolam and Michael Goodliffe, as well as appearing in TV plays such as The Talking Head and episodes of series such as Budgie, where he played against type (opposite Adam Faith) as an effeminate failed playwright with a full beard and a Welsh accent.

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