Warren MitchellWarren Mitchell (born 14 January 1926) is an English actor.
Mitchell was born Warren Misel in Stoke Newington, London. He is of Russian Jewish descent, but describes himself in interviews as an atheist that sometimes believes in God. His father was a glass and china merchant. 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
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 The Avengers and many ITC drama series, for ITV: William Tell, The Four Just Men, Sir Francis Drake, Danger Man and as a recurrent guest in The Saint
His cinema début came in 1957 in Guy Hamilton's Manuela, and he began a career of minor roles as sinister foreign agents, assisted by his premature baldness and facility with eastern European accents. He appeared in The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone (José Quintero, 1961), and Help! (Richard Lester, 1965) and played leads in All The Way Up (James MacTaggart, 1970), The Chain (Jack Gold, 1984), The Dunera Boys (Ben Lewin, 1985) and Foreign Body (Ronald Neame, 1986).
In 1965, he was cast as Alf Garnett in a play for the BBC Comedy Playhouse series, broadcast on 22 July 1965. This was the pilot edition of the long-running series Till Death Us Do Part with Gretchen Franklin, Una Stubbs and Anthony Booth (later Tony Blair's father-in-law). The part of Mum played by Gretchen Franklin was taken by Dandy Nichols when the programme was commissioned as a series. Mitchell may be best known for his role as the bigoted cockney West Ham United F.C. supporter, Alf Garnett, but ironically, his real life persona is quite the opposite, being a left-winger, Jewish, and a staunch supporter of Tottenham Hotspur F.C.. The show ran from 1966 to 1975, in seven series, making a total of 53 30-minute episodes
He has a long and distinguished career on stage and television. Other small screen roles include performances in The Sweeney (Thames Television for ITV, 1978), Lovejoy (BBC), Waking the Dead (BBC), Kavanagh QC (Carlton Television for ITV), The Merchant Of Venice (BBC, 1980) and Gormenghast.
On stage he received extensive critical acclaim for his performances in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman and Harold Pinter's The Caretaker at the National Theatre; and Pinter's The Homecoming and Miller's The Price in the West End, also appearing in Visiting Mr. Green in 2007 and 2008.
Even after the cancellation of the Alf Garnett sequel series In Sickness And In Health, Mitchell still played him on a number of occasions. ITV aired a series of mini episodes called A Word With Alf featuring Alf and his friends. When Johnny Speight died in 1998, the series was cancelled at the request of Mitchell saying he no longer wanted to play Alf now that Speight was dead.
Warren was voted TV Actor of the Year in 1965, for his portrayal of Alf Garnett, in Til Death Do Us Part'. For his 2003 performance in The Price, he was awarded the 2004 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role, and also nominated for a London Evening Standard Award for Best Actor. In 1982, he received an Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, for the film, Norman Loves Rose
Mitchell is a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association.
He has been married since 1950 to Connie (Constance Wake), an actress who appeared in early 1960s television dramas such as Maigret. They have three children; Rebecca, Daniel and Anna (also known as Georgia Mitchell). He is a naturalised citizen of Australia.
For over twenty years, Mitchell has suffered pain from nerve damage, caused by a virus, and is a supporter of the Neuropathy Trust. He suffered a mild stroke in August 2004.
Warren Mitchell - what members say
review by howie from London
Half Gilliam, half Python 28 April 2004
review by BluePeta from Brighton, England
The Chain 4 October 2006
review by Flickophile from London
An Astonishing Performance 28 April 2007
Warren Mitchell - filmography
Warren Mitchell facts
5 most recent filmsGormenghast - 3.0 stars
Warren Mitchell - The Thoughts Of Chairman Alf - 3.5 stars
In Sickness And In Health - Series 6 - 4.0 stars
In Sickness And In Health - Series 5 - 4.0 stars
In Sickness And In Health - Series 4 - 4.0 stars
5 highest-rated filmsIn Sickness And In Health - Series 4 - 4.0 stars
In Sickness And In Health - Series 2 - 4.0 stars
In Sickness And In Health - Series 3 - 4.0 stars
In Sickness And In Health - The Christmas Specials - 4.0 stars
In Sickness And In Health - Series 6 - 4.0 stars
5 lowest-rated filmsStand Up Virgin Soldiers - 2.5 stars
The Galton And Simpson Playhouse - The Complete Series - 3.0 stars
Calculated Risk - 3.0 stars
Night Caller - Colour Version - 3.0 stars
The Boy Who Stole A Million - 3.0 stars
Most frequent co-starsDandy Nichols - 8 times - show films
Una Stubbs - 8 times - show films
Carmel McSharry - 6 times - show films
Anthony Booth - 5 times - show films
Oliver Reed - 4 times - show films
Most frequent directorsBasil Dearden - 5 times - show films
Richard Boden - 5 times - show films
Douglas Argent - 4 times - show films
Andy Wilson - 3 times - show films
none - 3 times - show films