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Last Updated: Friday, 4 February, 2005, 10:19 GMT
Versatile actor Vernon dies at 72
Actor John Vernon, who appeared in movies by Alfred Hitchcock and Clint Eastwood, has died at the age of 72.

The Canadian star mixed dramatic acting with comedy roles, making a memorable appearance as the sinister dean in National Lampoon's Animal House.

His daughter, Kay Vernon, said he died at home on Thursday following complications from heart surgery.

He studied at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and was the voice of Big Brother in the 1956 version of 1984.

"He loved the comedy that he was able to do, but his training was in drama and he really enjoyed the dramatic roles," said Ms Vernon.

Vernon began his acting career on the stage, working in repertory theatre in the UK before returning to Canada where he worked on the TV drama Wojeck.

Cartoon voice

"John was superb. He really knew how to use the camera, and vocally he was just born to have a mike nearby," Ted Follows, his Wojeck co-star, told The Canadian Press.

He then went to Broadway before gaining a reputation as a character actor in movies such as Point Blank, Hitchcock's Topaz, Don Siegel's Dirty Harry and The Outlaw Josey Wales, directed by Eastwood.

Animal House saw him star alongside John Belushi and Tim Matheson in the frat house comedy, the first in the National Lampoon's franchise.

He also found work as a voice actor for cartoons such as The Incredible Hulk and Batman.


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