Jon Pertwee was born 100 years ago

Jon Pertwee in 1996
Jon Pertwee in 1996

John Devon Roland Pertwee (photo ©Mark (Carlisle Who Fan)) – this is his birth name – was born on July 7, 1919 in London, England.

Growing up in a family of actors, Jon Pertwee followed in their footsteps by studying acting in various schools even though in some occasions he got expelled. His first acting experiences were in radio programs but World War II broke out and Pertwee served in the British Navy and in 1941 he was assigned to the Naval Intelligence Division (NID).

After the war ended, Jon Pertwee resumed his acting career, initially gaining fame thanks to a radio program. Over the years, he also played roles on stage, in television and movie productions and in the 1960s they became important such as the children’s TV show “Jackanory” and some movies in the Carry On series.

In 1969 Jon Pertwee was cast to play the Third Doctor in the TV show “Doctor Who“. It was a period of great changes in the show’s production as it which moved from black & white to color TV concentrating it on a lower number of episodes per series. That era reached a new peak in popularity but in 1974 the actor announced that he’d leave the show. He didn’t want to be typecast as the Doctor and the show was already left by actress Katy Manning, who played the Doctor’s companion, and producer Barry Letts in addition to the death of actor Roger Delgado, who played the Master and had become a great friend with Pertwee.

Jon Pertwee reprised the role of the Doctor in the 1983 special “The Five Doctors”, in “Dimensions in Time” in 1993 but also in the audio adventures “The Paradise of Death” and “The Ghosts of N-Space” and in the stage play “Doctor Who – The Ultimate Adventure”. He had another role in “P.R.O.B.E .: The Zero Imperative”, an episode of an unofficial “Doctor Who” spinoff. He also participated in the 1993 movie produced for the home video market “The Airzone Solution” along with other actors who were in “Doctor Who”. The fan film “Devious” contains a 1995 appearance but only in 2018 the first episode was released. Practically until the end of his life he participated in “Doctor Who” conventions.

Between 1979 and 1981 Jon Pertwee was the protagonist of the TV show “Worzel Gummidge”, in which he played a scarecrow who came to life. Between 1987 and 1989 a revival was produced set in New Zealand, “Worzel Gummidge Down Under”.

During the 1980s Jon Pertwee lent his voice to the character Spotty in the cartoon show “SuperTed”, followed by a revival produced in the USA.

Jon Pertwee died on May 20, 1996 following a heart attack, leaving his wife Ingeborg Rhoesa, their son Sean and their daughter Dariel, who followed in his footsteps. Jon Pertwee is known all over the world above all for playing the Third Doctor but he was an eclectic actor and throughout his career he’s been famous in his country for many quirky characters played using funny voices.

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