About Dennistoun John Franklin Rose Price
<The Times, October 8, 1973>
<MR. DENNIS PRICE>
<AN ACTOR OF STYLE>
Mr. Dennis Price, a stage and film actor of wide range who was adept at the presentation of both suave villlainy and polished comedy, died on Saturday in Guernsey. He was 58.
He was an intelligent and sensitive performer - at times too sensitive perhaps for the hurly-burly of film making - who will be remembered with pleasure by a younger generation who never witnessed his style on the stage or in films, for his television appearance as the Wooster manservant, Jeeves, eyeing the peccadillos of the young master with an urbane omniscience; for Price was always at his best when displaying emotion tempered with refinement.
There will be many people who, on hearing of Price's death will feel a pang of regret that an actor of his gifts and potential should, for various reasons, have of late years been seen so little in plays and films.
Dennistoun Franklyn John Rose-Price was born at Twyford, in Berkshire, on June 23, 1915, the son of Brigadier-General T. Rose-Price. He was educated at Radley, and at Worcester College, Oxford, and at this time it seemed probable that he would either follow the family tradition of going into the Army, or else might enter the Church. But he became a member of the OUDS and adopted acting as his profession.
On leaving Oxford he studied at the Embassy Theatre School, and made his stage debut at the Croydon Repertory Theatre, in June 1937, as Dick in "Behind Your Back". He first appeared in the West End in the following autumn, at the Queen's Theatre in John Gielgud's company. A promising career was interrupted by the war, and he served with the Royal Artillery from 1940 until he was invalided out in 1942. He then toured in "This Happy Breed" and "Present Laughter" with Noel Coward; and was seen in "Springtime of Others" at the Arts Theatre, and it was here that he caught the eye of Michael Powell, one of the leading British film directors. As a result his film career began in 1944 when he appeared in Powell's "A Canterbury Tale", and from then on he was kept busy acting both on stage and in the cinema.
His cool, sardonic style was never seen to better effect than in Robert Hamer's classic black comedy, "Kind Hearts and Coronets" in which he played with Alec Guinness, Valerie Hobson and Joan Greenwood. His other films included "The Bad Lord Byron", in which he played Byron, "Private's Progress"; "Caravan"; "I'm All Right, Jack"; "School for Scoundrels"; "Don't Panic Chaps"; "Tunes of Glory"; "The Millionairess"; "Tamahine"; "Wonderful Life", and many others. He was also seen frequently in the theatre, nearly always in London, although he appeared in "Bell, Book and Candle" in the United States in 1951. He made his first appearance in South Africa in 1957 in "Table by the Window", where he also played Major Pollock in "Separate Tables". In 1959 he made his debut in New York, as Hector Hushabye in "Heartbreak House". On television he enjoyed outstanding success in 1965 when playing Jeeves opposite Mr Ian Carmichael as Bertie Wooster.
For some years he had suffered financial embarrassments and had lived in the Channel Isles.