Warren Mitchell

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Warren Mitchell (born 14 January 1926) is an English actor who rose to initial prominence in the role of bigoted cockney Alf Garnett in the BBC television sitcoms Till Death Us Do Part (1965–75) and In Sickness and in Health (1985–92) written by Johnny Speight. He holds both British and Australian citizenship[1] and has enjoyed considerable success in stage performances in both countries.


Early life

Mitchell was born Warren Misel in Stoke Newington, London. His father was a glass and china merchant. He is of Russian Jewish descent,[2] but describes himself in interviews as an atheist who sometimes believes in God.[3] He was interested in acting from an early age, and attended the Gladys Gordon's Academy of Dramatic Arts in Walthamstow from the age of seven. He did well at school and read physical chemistry at University College, Oxford, for six months. There he met his contemporary Richard Burton, and together they joined the RAF in 1944. He completed his navigator training in Canada just as the war ended[4].


Richard Burton's description of the acting profession had convinced him that it would be better than completing his chemistry degree and so Mitchell attended RADA for two years, performing in the evening with the Unity Theatre. After a short stint as a DJ on Radio Luxembourg, in 1951, Mitchell became a versatile professional actor with straight and comedy roles on stage, radio, film and television. His first broadcast was as a regular on the radio show Educating Archie, and this led to appearances on Hancock's Half Hour. By the late fifties, he regularly appeared on television: as Sean Connery's trainer in boxing drama Requiem for a Heavyweight (1957), with Charlie Drake in the sitcom Drake's Progress (BBC, 1957) and a title role in Three 'Tough' Guys (ITV, 1957), in which he played a bungling criminal. He also appeared in several episodes of Armchair Theatre, during the first of these in 1958 (Underground) one of the lead actors died during the live performance,[5] and The Avengers in addition to many ITC drama series including: William Tell, The Four Just Men, Sir Francis Drake, Danger Man and as a recurrent guest in The Saint.[4]

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