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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 June 2006, 19:08 GMT 20:08 UK
Actor Kenneth Griffith dies at 84
Kenneth Griffith
Kenneth Griffith was a familiar face to generations of filmgoers
The actor and documentary-maker Kenneth Griffith has died at the age of 84.

Born in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, he had been a familiar face on TV and cinema screens since the 1940s.

He was in such TV series as the 1960s cult hit The Prisoner, and was more familiar recently with a cameo role in 1994 film Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Griffith, who died at his London home, also made often controversial films on such subjects as the Boer War - on which he was an expert - and Ireland.

Refusing to compromise his views has damaged his career
Screenonline website
Born in October 1921, he served in the RAF during World War II and gained stage experience with the Old Vic and in repertory.

He made more than 80 films, with his debut appearance in 1941. He largely played character parts, many of them unsympathetic.

He was a regular in the British-made Boulting Brothers films in the 1950s and 1960s, such as I'm All Right Jack. This starred Peter Sellers, whom Griffith often appeared alongside in movies such as Only Two Can Play and Heavens Above!

Griffith was also in such action movies as the A Night to Remember (1958) - about the sinking of the Titanic - The Wild Geese (1978) and Who Dares Wins (1982).

He was also in demand for his comedy touch, and had a brief but memorable role confronting Hugh Grant in Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Griffith played alongside Grant again shortly after, in the 1995 film The Englishman Who Went up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain, which was made and set in Wales.

He was regarded as a world authority on the Boer War, and made a BBC film on the siege of Ladysmith in 1967, although he had no previous experience of documentary-making.

He returned to Africa for later films, and other subjects included Cecil Rhodes, the British conflict with the Zulu, and the South African runner Zola Budd.

According to the British Film Institute's screenonline website, "perhaps his most famous, and contentious, work" was Hang Out Your Brightest Colours: The Life and Death of Michael Collins, made in 1972 for ITV, about the IRA leader assassinated in 1922.

The film was banned by the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), and not shown until 1994.

According to screenonline, the episode left Griffith "a frustrated and bemused figure".

Screenonline described Griffith as "a world-class documentary film-maker" who knew that "refusing to compromise his views has damaged his career".

In 1993 BBC Wales showed five of his documentaries, including the Michael Collins film.


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