- Bill Owen (actor)
name = Bill Owen
imagesize = 175px
birthdate = birth date|1914|3|14|df=y
deathdate =death date and age|1999|7|12|1914|3|14|df=y
birthname = William John Owen Rowbotham
yearsactive = 1945 - 1999
homepage ="This article refers to the British actor. For a list of other persons with the same name, see
William John Owen Rowbotham
MBE( 14 March, 1914– 12 July, 1999), better known as Bill Owen, was an English actorand songwriter.
London, he made his first film appearance in 1945 but only achieved lasting fame in the 1970s when he took the starring role of Compo Simmonite in the long-running British sitcom, " Last of the Summer Wine". Owen's character is a scruffy working-class pensioner, often made use of by the characters played by Michael Bates, Brian Wilde, Michael Aldridgeand Frank Thornton for dirty jobs, stunts and escapades, while his indomitably docile friend Peter Sallisfollows and watches with a smirk. He wore a woollen hat and spent much of his time lusting after dowdy housewife, Nora Batty. As Compo, Owen saw off several co-stars. The series, starting in 1973, is today the world's longest-running comedy series. Owen became an icon, a darling of its audience and central to its success and episodes for 27 years, right until his death. [ ICONS.org.uk: Last of the Summer Wine [http://www.icons.org.uk/nom/nominations/last-of-the-summer-wine-1] ] The threesome of Compo, Clegg and Foggy (this third character was initially Blamire, played by Michael Bates and when Brian Wilde's Foggy took a hiatus, by Michael Aldridge's Seymour Utterthwaite) remains the most popular group of three the show ever produced.
During the 1960s, Owen had a successful second career as a songwriter, with compositions including the hit, "Marianne", recorded by
Cliff Richard. He at this time also collaborated with songwriter Tony Russell on musical " The Matchgirls" about the London matchgirls strike of 1888.
Owen was an active supporter of the Labour Party and a founding member of the
Keep Sunday Specialcampaign group. He was awarded the MBE in 1976.
Bill Owen also had a cameo appearance in "
Brideshead Revisited" as Lunt, Charles Ryder's scout, during his college days at Oxford University. He also starred in several Lindsay Andersonfilms including " O Lucky Man!" and " In Celebration".
He continued working right up to his death from
pancreatic canceron 12th July 1999 (his son Tom Owen's 50th Birthday) [ [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0654089/ Bill Owen (I) ] ] His actor son, Tom Owen, was written into the series after his death. The storyline was that Compo knew he was terminally ill but chose not to tell Truly and Clegg, instead writing to his son with whom he has lost contact. The son however does not make it in time to his father's funeral but remains in the area afterwards.Bill is buried in the churchyard of St John's Parish Church, Upperthong, in his beloved town of Holmfirthin Yorkshire, the home of "Last of the Summer Wine".
Selected Television Roles
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