Ian Hendry

Ian Hendry
Ian Hendry

Ian Hendry obituary in “The Times”.

The Times” obituary.

Ian Hendry, who died in the Royal Free Hospital, London, on December 24 at the age of 53, was an actor who specialized in virile, aggresiveroles, in films of which he had made a substantial number, and more predominantly from the mid 1950s onwards on television.   On the small screen he is especially remembered for his starring roles in popular series like “Police Surgeon” and “The Lotus Eaters.”   Ian Hendry was born in Ipswich on January 13, 1931. His first experience of the world of theatre was when as a part-time drama student he worked in cabaret as a stooge to Coco the Clown. Later, after National Service in the Royal Artillery he trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama.

From here he began a life in rep at Hornchurch and Worthing and was seen in Goldoni’s “Servant of Two Masters” at the Edinburgh Festival.   He also had film parts in “Simon and Laura” and “The Secret Place” at this period, but it was a successful season at the Oxford Playhouse which brought him to London and to wider notice.   He secured himself a television following in the role of a polio patient in “Emergency Ward 10” and parts in films such as “Sink the Bismarck” and “In the Nick” further established him.

He became a sought after television actor, appearing in such series as “Probation Officer” and “The Avengers” of which he was one of the original trio, and “Police Surgeon”. But perhaps one of his most characteristic roles was as Erik Shepherd the tortured alcoholic trying to pull the threads of life together in “The Lotus Eaters” in the 1970s.

Hendry’s own tempestuous and hard drinking personal life often seemed to echo his screen one, and the breakdown of his second marriage to the actress Janet Munro who was to have played his wife in the series, as it was about to go into production, threatened the entire venture when she withdrew from the role. She died from drink related problems in 1972 aged only 38.

In spite of more leading television roles and a series of films which included “Casino Royale”, “Get Carter”, “Theatre of Blood” and “The Bitch” Hendry’s life continued to have its ups and downs and in 1980 he was declared a bankrupt, later on being discharged on payment of his debts, thanks to his securing a major role in the television series “Maddie for Love” in which he starred with Nyree Dawn Porter.  

Hendry’s first marriage to Joanna, a makeup artist, had been dissolved in 1962. His third marriage was to Sandy Jones, a former children’s nanny, who survives him.

Janet Munro

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *