Richard Hearne

Richard Hearne
Richard Hearne
Born Richard Lewis Hearne
30 January 1908(1908-01-30)
Norwich, Norfolk
Died 23 August 1979(1979-08-23) (aged 71)
Bearsted, Kent
Resting place St Mary's Platt, Kent
Occupation Comic actor

Richard Lewis Hearne, OBE (30 January 1908 – 23 August 1979)[1][2] was an English actor, comedian, producer and writer. He was famous for his stage and television character Mr Pastry.[3]



Hearne was born in Norwich, Norfolk in 1908, the son of Richard and Lily May Hearne. Richard senior came from a theatrical family - his mother had been on the stage and he himself was a performing acrobat. Hearne worked on and off for the BBC for thirty years and became the first performer to be known as a "television star" and also the first to have his own television series. The black and white series, with the theme tune "Pop Goes The Weasel" had episodes lasting 25 minutes in which Hearne assumed the character of "Mr Pastry" - an old man with a walrus moustache, dressed in a black suit or raincoat and with a trademark bowler hat. Each week the bumbling old man would have adventures, partly slapstick, partly comic dance, with two young friends. Jon Pertwee also starred in the show in a variety of roles.

The Mr Pastry character had originated in the 1936 stage show Big Boy in which Hearne had appeared with Fred Emney. A Mr Pastry film was subsequently made but portrayed the lead character as a pathetic figure coming out of prison and totally different from the TV series' bumbling comic.

His act first appeared on the US Ed Sullivan Show in 1954, and thereafter Hearne appeared on the show frequently.

He was interviewed for the starring role of the BBC series Doctor Who after the departure of Jon Pertwee, but a disagreement over his interpretation of the role (he wanted to play the Doctor as Mr. Pastry) led to no offer being made by the producer, Barry Letts. The role was subsequently offered to Tom Baker.

In 1963 Hearne became President of the Lord's Taverners charity and he subsequently raised money for hundreds of hydrotherapy pools. In 1970 he was awarded the OBE for his charitable work.

Hearne died in Bearsted, Kent in 1979 aged 71, leaving a widow Yvonne and two children. He was buried in a churchyard in the village of St. Mary's Platt, near Borough Green in Kent. He had lived at Platt Farm, a fifteenth century property in Long Mill Lane, in the village from the 1940s and from where he ran a market garden.[4]

Selected filmography


  1. ^ GRO Register of Births: MAR 1908 4b 170 NORWICH – Richard Lewis Hearne
  2. ^ GRO Register of Deaths: SEP 1979 16 1269 MAIDSTONE - Richard Lewes Hearne, DoB = 30 January 1908
  3. ^
  4. ^ "The Television Annual for 1952", ed. by Kenneth Baily, Odhams Press, p. 94.

External links

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