The Daily Telegraph & telegraph.co.uk
Michael Sheard, who died yesterday aged 67, was best known for his role as the mini-Hitler French teacher in the television series Grange Hill; but he also made his mark as the FÃ¼hrer himself in more than half a dozen films and television programmes.
As Maurice Bronson, a bow-tie-wearing disciplinarian at a London comprehensive, he made his shout "You, boy!" one of the most familiar lines on television in the 1980s; and gradually, as the part developed, Bronson's dedication to standards and his occasional kindnesses won a reluctant yet warm sympathy from audiences.
This popularity, Sheard would suggest, was due to everyone's retaining the memory of a scary figure from their schooldays; in his own case it was a chalk-throwing "Mr Porter".
The authenticity of Sheard's authoritarian roles led him to play Hitler repeatedly, most notably in a cameo part in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Among the other, less celebrated, productions were The Dirty Dozen: the Next Mission and Hitler of the Andes, which suggested that the dictator had escaped to South America rather than dying in his Berlin bunker. Sheard also played Himmler three times, and was Goering's double in 'Allo, 'Allo, though admitted that this was his worst performance.
The son of Donald Perkins, a Church of Scotland minister, he was born in Aberdeen on June 18 1938. He went to Michael Hall School, East Sussex, and took his mother's maiden name to become Michael Sheard when he went to Rada, where he shed his Scottish accent.
After two years' National Sevice as an aircraftman in the RAF, Sheard made his stage debut at Perth Rep. His first television role was in Dr Finlay's Casebook. From then on he established himself in the cosy police drama Dixon of Dock Green, playing reporters, drivers, garage attendants and junior officers. This led to roles in Z Cars and Softly Softly.
After settling down with his wife Ros, with whom he had three children, Sheard became a familiar face over the next 40 years in Crossroads, Colditz, Jason King, Auf Widersehen, Pet and many other dramas. He established a record by appearing with more doctors in Doctor Who than any other actor, and hoped that he might be offered the main role himself.
Sheard had most of his scenes cut in the editing of Raiders of the Lost Ark, in which he played a U-boat captain. But he was a memorable Admiral Ozzel in The Empire Strikes Back, when he was strangled by Darth Vader in what George Lucas said was the finest film death he had ever seen.
Sheard wrote four autobiographies: Yes, Mr Bronson: Memoirs of a Bum Actor; Yes, Admiral; Yes, School's Out; and Yes, It's Photographic: the Party Goes On. In later years, he often appeared at Star Wars conventions in informal dress, but always carried a bow tie in his pocket for anybody who recognised him from Grange Hill.
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