Brian Rix, Baron Rix, CBE

public profile

Is your surname Rix?

Research the Rix family

Brian Rix, Baron Rix, CBE's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Norman Brian Roger Rix

Birthdate: (92)
Death: August 2016 (92)
Immediate Family:

Son of Herbert Dobson Rix and Fanny Rix
Husband of Elspet Gray
Father of Shelley Rix

Managed by: Terry Jackson (Switzer)
Last Updated:
view all

Immediate Family

About Brian Rix, Baron Rix, CBE

Brian Norman Roger Rix, Baron Rix, CBE

(born 27 January 1924) is an English actor and charity worker. He is the younger brother of British actress Sheila Mercier (Emmerdale).

Early years

Born in Cottingham, East Riding of Yorkshire, the son of a Hull shipowner, Brian Rix was educated at Bootham School, York. He became a professional actor, briefly, when he was 17, playing with Donald Wolfit in Cardiff. His wartime National Service began in the Royal Air Force, but he soon after volunteered to become a Bevin Boy, working instead as a coal miner.


After the war, Rix returned to the stage and in 1947 formed his own theatre company. He ran rep companies at Ilkley, Bridlington and Margate, and at only 26 years old was a highly successful actor and manager. Rix was associated with the Whitehall Theatre from 1944 until 1969, although as an actor-manager he became increasingly well known on TV as well as stage.

He became famous for his staging of Reluctant Heroes, both on tour and at the Whitehall Theatre for 4 years. The theatre specialised in farces, such as Simple Spymen and Dry Rot, some of which were regularly televised. After the Whitehall Theatre, Rix moved on to the Garrick and more successes. Rix appeared in 11 films and 70 farces for BBC TV and was regularly seen on screen without his trousers on. He also made a handful of films that were well suited to his talents as a farceur such as The Night We Dropped a Clanger (1959), The Night We Got the Bird (1961), Don't Just Lie There, Say Something! (1973).

He also hosted the TV series Let's Go, the first British programme to be created specifically for people who had learning disabilities. In 1980, he retired from acting, and became Secretary-General of the National Society for Mentally Handicapped Children and Adults (Mencap) - it became “The Royal Society” the following year - and in 1987 became its Chairman. Since 2002 the Society has been officially called the “Royal Mencap Society”, with Rix serving as its President.

Honours and awards

Rix was created a Commander of Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1977, and knighted on 25 November 1986 [1] for his services to charity. On 27 January 1992, he was created a life peer, becoming Baron Rix, of Whitehall, in the City of Westminster and of Hornsea in Yorkshire.

He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Essex in 1984. After nine years as a Vice Lord Lieutenant of London, Lord Rix was installed as the first Chancellor of the University of East London on 16 July 1997.

Personal life

In 1949 he married the actress Elspet Gray. They had four children, including the producer and children's author Jamie Rix and actress Louisa Rix. Their daughter Shelley Elspet Rix was born with Down's syndrome, and he has always used his name to promote public awareness and understanding of learning disabilities. Shelley Elspet Rix died in July 2005 in Hounslow, Greater London.[2]

Rix has been a radio ham for over 50 years, and has call sign G2DQU. [3]


Rix is the author of two biographies, My Farce From My Elbow (1974) and Farce About Face (1989), and two theatre histories, Tour de Farce and Life in the Farce Lane. He also edited, compiled and contributed to Gullible's Travails, an anthology of travel stories by famous people for the Mencap Blue Sky Appeal. His 80th birthday in 2004 marked the start of a year of fundraising and publicity for Mencap.

Recent work

He appeared on Desert Island Discs on 1 March 2009.[4]


Reluctant Heroes (1951) Up to His Neck (1954) What Every Woman Wants (1954) Dry Rot (1956) Not Wanted on Voyage (1957) The Night We Dropped a Clanger (1959) And the Same to You (1960) The Night We Got the Bird (1961) Nothing Barred (1961) One for the Pot (1968) Don't Just Lie There, Say Something! (1973)

see also

The Rix Centre


1.^ London Gazette: no. 50759. p. 16784. 30 December 1986. Retrieved 2011-01-23. 2.^ Deaths England and Wales 1984-2006 3.^ Famous Ham Radio Operators and their Callsigns 4.^ "Desert Island Discs with Brian Rix". Desert Island Discs. BBC. Radio 4. 2009-03-01.

External links

Brian Rix at the Internet Movie Database Whitehall Theatre History The Rix Centre - Learning Disability Charity [1] Mencap Official site

view all

Brian Rix, Baron Rix, CBE's Timeline

January 27, 1924
August 2016
Age 92