Patrick Wymark
Patrick Carl Cheeseman

(1926-07-11)11 July 1926
Died20 October 1970(1970-10-20) (aged 44)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Resting placeHighgate Cemetery, London
MonumentsWymark View, Grimsby
Alma materUniversity College, London
Bristol Old Vic Theatre School
Occupation(s)Stage, film and television actor
Years active1959–1970
OrganizationRoyal Shakespeare Company
TelevisionThe Plane Makers (1963–65)
The Power Game (1965–69)
(m. 1953)
Children4, including Jane Wymark
RelativesW. W. Jacobs (paternal grandfather-in-law)
AwardsBritish Academy Television Award for Best Actor (1965)

Patrick Wymark (11 July 1926 – 20 October 1970) was an English stage, film and television actor.[1]

Early life

Wymark was born Patrick Carl Cheeseman[citation needed] in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire. He was brought up in neighbouring Grimsby and frequently revisited the area at the height of his career. He was educated at St Mary's Catholic School and Wintringham Boys' Grammar School in Grimsby, before joining the Royal Navy and serving as a midshipman in the Mediterranean. On leaving the navy, he received a government grant to study at University College London, where he read English and performed in the university's dramatic society.[2]


Wymark dropped out of university to train at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and making his first stage appearance in a walk-on part in Othello in 1951. He toured South Africa the following year and then directed plays for the drama department at Stanford University, California.

After moving to the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, Wymark played a wide range of Shakespearean roles, including Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing, Stephano in The Tempest, Marullus in Julius Caesar and Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Other stage credits included the title role in Danton's Death and, with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Ephihodov in The Cherry Orchard. His theatre roles also included Bosola in a RSC production of John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi in 1960.

In television, Wymark was best known for his role as the machiavellian businessman John Wilder in the twin drama series The Plane Makers and The Power Game (which were broadcast from 1963 to 1969), which led to offers of real company directorships and the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor in 1965. However, Wymark was a gentle person in real life and was, by his own admission, ignorant of business matters. He considered the character of Wilder a "bastard" and was described by his wife Olwen as "the most inefficient, dreamy muddler in the world."[3] In the mid-1960s, Wymark was considered as the replacement for William Hartnell in the title role of Doctor Who.[citation needed]

In 1960, Wymark appeared in the Danger Man television series episode entitled "An Affair of State" as the corrupt police commissioner Ortiz.

Wymark's film appearances included: Children of the Damned (1964), Operation Crossbow (1965), Repulsion (1965), Where Eagles Dare (1968), Witchfinder General (1968), Battle of Britain (1969), Doppelgänger (1969), The Blood on Satan's Claw (1970) and Cromwell (1970)

Personal life

Wymark's grave in Highgate Cemetery

Wymark married American playwright Olwen Buck (known as Olwen Wymark) in 1953; the couple met while both were students at University College, London. He took his acting name from his wife's paternal grandfather, the writer William Wymark Jacobs. The couple lived near Parliament Hill in Hampstead, London, and had four children, including the future actress Jane Wymark. Wymark died suddenly in Melbourne, Australia on 20 October 1970, aged 44, of a heart attack in his hotel room. He had been due to star in the play Sleuth at the Comedy Theatre three days later. On the night of his death, he was to appear on the TV variety programme In Melbourne Tonight.[4] He, guest Richard Deacon and host Stuart Wagstaff had just appeared together in a TV production of Hans Christian Andersen stories and his non-appearance led to several jokes by Wagstaff and Deacon.[5] Host Wagstaff was informed of Wymark's death mid-way through the programme and announced it at the end.

Wymark was a Roman Catholic. He was buried at Highgate Cemetery in London, after a Requiem Mass. A memorial service was later held at Brompton Oratory.[6] Wymark View—located in his home town, Grimsby—is named after him.

Selected filmography


  1. ^ "Patrick Wymark". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 14 January 2009. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  2. ^ "Life". The Patrick Wymark Boardroom. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  3. ^ "The Plane Makers | Television | Nostalgia Central". Archived from the original on 5 September 2012.
  4. ^ "The Sydney Morning Herald – Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  5. ^ "Hans Christian Andersen (1970) (TV)". IMDb. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  6. ^ "The Patrick Wymark Boardroom". Retrieved 14 June 2023.