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Brian Murphy

 

Brian Murphy (born 25th September 1933) is a British actor. Murphy was born in Ventnor, Isle of Wight. Although a prolific actor in many films and theatre productions for almost half a century, Murphy's most famous role was as the henpecked husband George Roper in the sitcom Man About the House and spin-off George and Mildred.

He was called up to do his military service at RAF Northwood, where he met future The Good Life actor Richard Briers. On leaving the RAF the two aspiring actors both performed in productions by the Dramatic Society at the Borough Polytechnic Institute, now London South Bank University. Murphy was a member of Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop (alongside Yootha Joyce), and a jobbing actor in the 1960s and early 1970s, combining his theatre work with appearances in television shows such as The Avengers, Z Cars and Dixon of Dock Green, before being cast in the role which would make him a household name.

In Man About The House, Murphy played the lazy and scheming George Roper, a sub-letting landlord of a house converted into flats who had a young man and two women renting the flat above. His wife, Mildred, was played by Yootha Joyce. Her domineering, social-climbing characteristic was a sharp contrast to George's desire for an easy and quiet life and the pairing were an instant hit. A contributing factor to their immediate chemistry was the fact they had been friends for many years. Aside from their Theatre Workshop years, Murphy starred in Joyce's first movie, Sparrows Can't Sing in 1963. When Man About The House reached a conclusion in 1976, a spin-off was created for Murphy and Joyce, entitled George and Mildred. This ran for five series until 1979. Murphy reprised his role in feature films of both sitcoms. Joyce died in 1980.

Murphy returned to the theatre but has been sporadically on television ever since, with memorable roles in On Your Way, Riley (1985) as Arthur Lucan, Lame Ducks (as a private investigator); The Bill (as a drunken tramp dressed as an elf at Christmas); comedy series One Foot in the Grave starring Richard Wilson (playing a character called Mr Foskett); Last of the Summer Wine (as Alvin Smedley); Brookside; and as a shopkeeper called Stan in Wizadora. He most recently made an appearance on The Catherine Tate Show.