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Barry Evans (Barry Joseph Evans)

Barry Evans

Born in Guildford, Surrey, and abandoned as a baby, Evans was educated at the orphanage boarding schools run by the Shaftesbury Homes, first at Fortescue House School in Twickenham and then at Bisley Boys’ School in Bisley, Surrey. His acting ability was recognised at an early age and he often played the leading roles in school plays. Evans attended the Italia Conti Academy and later won a John Gielgud Scholarship to study at the Central School of Speech and Drama. One of Evans’ first television credits was in the soap opera Crossroads in 1964. He subsequently played the lead role in the film Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush (1967), where he was cast as a sex-starved boy who finds it difficult to lose his virginity. His first major television role was in the sitcom Doctor in the House (1969–70), based on Richard Gordon’s series of novels, which had already been turned into a feature film series. Evans starred as the earnest but gullible Michael Upton. Following the show’s success, he starred in the sequel to the series, Doctor at Large (1971). Evans enjoyed working with his fellow actors and later described these as the best years of his life. In 1975, he had the lead role in Stanley Long’s sex comedy Adventures of a Taxi Driver. Despite the film’s commercial success, Evans declined to appear in the sequel. Evans starred as Jeremy Brown in the ITV sitcom Mind Your Language (1977–79), which was a humorous look at an evening class tutor attempting to teach immigrants English. Most of the characters were foreign stereotypes; it was immensely popular, both in the UK and internationally, and especially in the countries the actors portrayed. The series was written by TV scriptwriter Vince Powell, and was adapted for American TV as What a Country! in 1986. In the same year it was briefly revived for a further 13 episodes. By the late 1980s his youthful appearance was working against him, and he found it difficult to obtain mature acting roles in keeping with his age. His last role was as Bazzard in the film adaptation of The Mystery of Edwin Drood in 1993. By the late 1990s, he was a minicab driver in Leicestershire, where in 1997 he was found dead aged 53 in his bungalow. The police discovered the actor’s body after going to his house to tell him they had recovered his stolen car. The cause of his death has never been confirmed. The Coroner found a blow to Evans’ head and an 18-year-old man was arrested but later released without charge. The Coroner also found high levels of alcohol in his system which suggested suicide or accidental death. An open verdict was eventually given.

Born

  • June, 18, 1943
  • United Kingdom
  • Guildford, Surrey, England

Died

  • February, 09, 1997
  • United Kingdom
  • Claybrooke Magna, Leicestershire, England

Cemetery

  • Golders Green Crematorium
  • Golders Green, London, England
  • United Kingdom

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