In the 1970s, one of the most popular sitcoms on television was Dad’s Army, the story of a fictional Home Guard Platoon that was to protect the village of Walmington-on-Sea in the event of a German invasion during WWII. The series was populated with a number of iconic characters, and one of the most popular was Lance Corporal “Jonesy” Jones, played by actor Clive Dunn.
Sadly news has arrived that this much-loved actor has passed away in Faro on the Algarve in Portugal following complications from surgery. He was born Clive Robert Benjamin Dunn on the 9th January 1920, in Brixton, London to parents who were both heavily involved in the theater. He was educated in London and attended the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, in London.
He took on several small roles until, in 1940, he joined the army, serving with the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars. He saw action in Greece until he was captured and became a prisoner of war, held in Austria. Four years later he was freed and finally left the army in 1947.
After demobilization, Dunn rejoined the acting fraternity and took on several roles playing an elderly gentleman. This ability to portray an elderly gentleman landed him the role of the elderly butcher, who became a central member of the cast of the hilarious sitcom Dad’s Army. Dunn was awarded an OBE in 1975.
When Dad’s Army came to an end, Dunn continued acting as the elderly gentleman in the television series, “Grandad.” On his 51st birthday in 1971, he recorded a hit single with the title song of the series, accompanied by a children’s choir.
When the series came to a close in 1984, he retired to the Algarve in Portugal where he spent his time as an artist until his eyesight failed.
Dunn was a popular member of the cast. Surviving members of the cast remembered him as being great fun to work with and said that he was a very nice man. One of their fondest memories of Dunn was the fact that he used the word ‘nice’ often and rarely had anything bad to say about others.
Other actors, with whom he worked, also had fond memories of Dunn. He starred as the baron in a pantomime, Cinderella, in Bournemouth with comedian Roy Hudd. Hudd remembers Dunn’s eccentricity in that he rarely knew all his lines but the lines that he produced were inevitably hilarious!
Another colleague that remembers Dunn with fondness is Michael Bentine, who worked with Dunn on his sketch show, “It’s a Square World.” Dunn’s ability to play an assortment of unusual characters and to play them extremely well made him a popular colleague in the world of comedy.
In September, writer Paul Bailey, went to Portugal to interview Dunn for the magazine The Oldie. At age 92, Dunn was almost completely blind and deaf, but he entertained Bailey with wine and humor. The loss of his sight saddened Dunn as it meant that he could no longer indulge in his favorite pastime of painting but he still had his marvelous sense of humor and kept Bailey entertained throughout the interview, BBC News reported.
Many of Dunn’s colleagues have taken to social media to pass on their condolences to his family and to air amusing anecdotes about the actor. Dunn is survived by his wife and daughters.
This extremely popular and talented actor will be sorely missed by the acting fraternity around the world.