David Tomlinson (1917-2000) b. Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England.
The son of a solicitor, David Tomlinson was an affable comedy character actor with doleful features, popular on stage and in British films from 1940 to 1970 making over 50 films; frequently as a bewildered upper-class fool. Educated at Tonbridge School and briefly with the Grenadier Guards, he made his West End stage debut in 1938, and was spotted by director Anthony Asquith while touring in Quiet Wedding and cast in the 1941 film, and followed that with an appearance in Leslie Howard‘s Pimpernel Smith (1941).
After RAF service in WW2, he continued in supporting roles, becoming busy in the late 40s, when he featured more prominently in such Gainsborough films as the popular mermaid comedy Miranda (1948), plane crash melodrama Broken Journey (1948), My Brother’s Keeper (1948) and in The Chiltern Hundreds (1949), stands for both Tory and Labour as an election candidate. In the 50S, he introduced a light touch in serious films such as The Wooden Horse (1950). A sighting of Tomlinson on stage by Walt Disney led to his best remembered role, the prosperous Edwardian father in Mary Poppins (1964), resulting in a string of Walt Disney successes including The Love Bug (1968) and Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971). His last film credit was with Peter Sellers in 1979′s The Fiendish Plot of Dr Fu Manchu. He died peacefully in his sleep after a series of strokes, aged 83.