January 2, 2017


Norman Bird (1920-2005) b. Coalville, Leicestershire, UK.

Norman Bird

Recognisable British character actor Norman Bird left school aged 16 and spent six months working in an office before earning a scholarship at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. The Second World War briefly interrupted his career before Bird was demobbed from the RAF in 1947. He appeared with repertory companies before joining John Gielgud’s Shakespeare Company as an understudying and toured the United States, South Africa and Russia. He made his London stage debut in 1951 and his screen career began shortly afterwards in 1954 with a brief role in Guy Hamilton‘s An Inspector Calls starring Alistair Sim.

During the 1960s he appeared in a collection of films involving lifelong friends Richard Attenborough and Bryan Forbes. These collaborations included Basil Dearden’s The League of Gentlemen (1960), The Angry Silence (1960), Whistle Down the Wind (1961), The Wrong Box (1966) and The Raging Moon (1970). Other notable roles included a closet homosexual being blackmailed in Basil Dearden‘s Victim (1961), the commandant of a military stockade in Sidney Lumet’s The Hill (1965), and the voice of Bilbo Baggins in Ralph Bakshi’s animated version of Lord of the Rings (1978). He made over 60 screen appearances but was even more prolific on television, claiming to have made over 200 appearances including Z Cars, Up the Workers, The Saint and Worzel Gummidge; mostly as henpecked husbands, minor civil servants or police inspectors.

blog comments powered by Disqus