Thorley Walters
Thorley Swinstead Walters

(1913-05-12)12 May 1913
Teigngrace, Devon, England
Died6 July 1991(1991-07-06) (aged 78)
London, England
Resting placeGolders Green Crematorium
Years active1935–1991

Thorley Swinstead Walters (12 May 1913[1] – 6 July 1991) was an English character actor.[2] He is probably best remembered for his comedy film roles such as in Two-Way Stretch and Carlton-Browne of the FO.[3]

Early life

Walters was born in Teigngrace, Devon, the son of Prebendary Thomas Collins Walters of Silverton, Devon[1] and his wife Mary Francis [sic] née Swinstead.[4][5] He was educated at Monkton Combe School, Somerset.

Walters appeared in the West End in the 1942 naval play Escort by Patrick Hastings and the 1949 musical Her Excellency at the London Hippodrome.



He featured in three of the St Trinian's films, starting as an army major in Blue Murder at St Trinian's. He later appeared as Butters, assistant to Education Ministry senior civil servant Culpepper-Brown (Eric Barker) in The Pure Hell of St Trinian's and played the part of Culpepper-Brown in The Wildcats of St Trinian's.

From the 1960s onwards he also appeared in several Hammer horror films, including The Phantom of the Opera (1962), Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966), Frankenstein Created Woman (1967), Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969) and Vampire Circus (1972). He was a close friend of Hammer's most important director Terence Fisher.[6]

Walters played Sherlock Holmes's sidekick Doctor Watson in four unrelated films: Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace (1962), The Best House in London (1969), The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (1975) and Silver Blaze (1977).[7]


Walters' television appearances included the Granada series Crown Court, both as a judge and as a barrister. He also appeared as a barrister in the BBC Series A P Herbert's Misleading Cases starring Roy Dotrice as Albert Haddock. He also was in The Avengers starring as Hemming in the 1966 episode "What the Butler Saw". Walters also had roles in The Lotus Eaters and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.[8] Walters was considered for the role of Captain Mainwaring in Dad's Army, before the part was assigned to Arthur Lowe[9] – Walters was offered the role by producer David Croft but turned it down.[10] In 1974 he played the Prince of Wales in the TV drama Jennie - Lady Randolph Churchill.

Personal life

In the DVD commentary to The Man Who Haunted Himself, actor Roger Moore mentioned that co-star Walters lived in Dolphin Square in Pimlico, London in which some scenes of the film were shot.

Walters visited the ailing Terry-Thomas in Barnes, London in 1989. Walters had starred with Thomas in the Boulting Brothers' film Carlton-Browne of the F.O. and was shocked at his appearance (he was ill with Parkinson's disease). That visit resulted in the Terry-Thomas Gala held in the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in the same year which raised funds to help Thomas live the rest of his life in comfort.

Actress Siobhan Redmond was visiting Walters when he died in a London nursing home. Actor Ian Bannen gave the main address at his funeral held at Golders Green.[11][12]



  1. ^ a b c "Devon Clergyman's Son's Success". Exeter and Plymouth Gazette. 6 April 1939. p. 8. Retrieved 22 September 2012. (subscription required)
  2. ^ "Thorley Walters | BFI | BFI". Archived from the original on 16 July 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  3. ^ "Thorley Walters movies, photos, movie reviews, filmography, and biography". AllMovie. 7 July 1991. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  4. ^ Who's Who in the Theatre, Ian Herbert, Gale Research Co., 1981, p. 689
  5. ^ The Annual Obituary 1991, Deborah Andrews, 1992, p. 460
  6. ^ "the actors". British Horror Films. 25 December 2005. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  7. ^ "The Many Watsons – Marty Feldman & Thorley Walters". Kieran McMullen. 21 June 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  8. ^ "BBC Four – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Tarr Tells His Story". 19 November 2013. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  9. ^ Roger Lewis (28 September 2011). "Dad's Army: the show that won't go away". Daily Telegraph.
  10. ^ McCann, Graham (2001). Dad's Army – The story of a classic television show. London: Fourth Estate. p. 55. ISBN 978-1841153094.
  11. ^ "Terry-Thomas Tribute". 9 April 1989. Archived from the original on 15 April 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  12. ^ Graham McCann (2011). Bounder!: The Biography of Terry-Thomas. Aurum Press. p. 1927. ISBN 978-1-84513-756-4.