Wilfrid Brambell was born on 22 March 1912, in Dublin, Ireland. His first acting experience was when he was aged just two when he entertained wounded soldiers returning from action during the First World War. On leaving school he worked part-time as a reporter for The Irish Times and part-time as an actor at the Abbey Theatre. In World War II he joined the British military forces entertainment organisation ENSA. On his return Wilfrid began performing with various repertory companies across the UK in Swansea, Bristol and Chesterfield. It was also during this time that he began breaking into films. His television career began in the 1950s, when he was cast in small roles in the BBC Television productions: “The Quatermass Experiment”, “Nineteen Eighty-Four” and “Quatermass II”. These roles earned him a reputation for playing old men, though he was only in her forties at the time. Wilfrid was just 49 when he first played Albert Steptoe. The role immediately launched him to fame and notoriety and made him into a national figure. His film work continued with a role in the 1962 Walt Disney film “In Search of the Castaways” and playing Paul McCartney’s granddad in The Beatles “A Hard Day’s Night”. Steptoe and Son finished in 1974 after eight series and two hit spin-off films. Wilfrid and Co-Star Harry H. Corbett continued to revive the characters for special one off performances and events including a 1977 tour of Australia. He continued to take small roles in various television series and films during the late 1970s and 1980s before losing his battle against cancer on 18th January 1985.
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