James Villiers (James Michael Hyde Villiers)

James Villiers

James Michael Hyde Villiers (29 September 1933 – 18 January 1998) was an English character actor and a familiar face on British television. He was particularly memorable for his plummy voice and ripe articulation. Born in London and educated at Wellington College, Berkshire and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, ‘Gentleman Jim’ Villiers (pronounced Villers) was from an upper class background, related to the Earls of Clarendon, and this was often reflected in the types of roles he played, such as King Charles II in the BBC series, The First Churchills (1969). He made his film debut in 1958, and appeared in many British films over the years, including Joseph Losey’s The Damned a.k.a. These Are the Damned, shot in 1961, but not released until 1963; Seth Holt’s The Nanny (1965), Joseph Andrews (1977), For Your Eyes Only (1981), The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982), Mountains of the Moon (1990) and The Tichborne Claimant (1998), along with numerous other projects. He often specialised in playing cold, somewhat effete villains. He played the role of Colonel Hensman in the children’s television drama Brendon Chase and was heard on BBC Radio 4 as the voice of Roderick Spode in The Code of the Woosters and several other adaptations of the Jeeves stories of P. G. Wodehouse, which starred Michael Hordern and Richard Briers. James Villiers died on 18 January 1998 at Arundel, Sussex, of cancer.


  • September, 29, 1933
  • United Kingdom
  • London, England


  • January, 18, 1998
  • United Kingdom
  • Arundel, Sussex, England

Cause of Death

  • cancer

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