A past President of Equity John Barron enjoyed a sixty year career on stage and television. Tall, booming and generally cast in eccentric roles, he was best known to TV viewers for his role as “I didn’t get where I am today…” CJ, the tyrannical head of Sunshine Desserts in David Nobb’s successful comedy The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.
The role was Barron’s favourite and made him a household name. “CJ was the perfect gift for an actor,” he remarked, “quite simply because he was so appalling”. The series, which starred Leonard Rossiter in the title role, ran from 1976-9 and was sold to America and Europe as well as regularly topping the ratings in Britain.
John Barron was born in London on December 24, 1920, the son of an actress and a naval officer. He studied acting at RADA in 1938 and served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. On demobilisation he worked in repertory at Croydon, Leicester and Brighton.
He appeared in several West End productions and gained early experience of television appearing in plays televised live from the Intimate Theatre at Palmers Green, North London.
He first came to television viewers’ attention in Emergency Ward 10, Glencannon and All Gas and Gaiters, before playing the warped scientist Devereaux in the sci-fi serial Timeslip, the Minister in Doomwatch and the Vicar in Potter. He also appeared in several television classic dramas including productions of Othello and The Taming of the Shrew.
From 1972-76 Barron was a fixture in Granada TV’s afternoon courtroom drama Crown Court. It was while filming an episode of the series that he was invited to play the role of CJ in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin. In 1996 he reprised the role of CJ in the BBC’s ill fated The Legacy of Reginald Perrin. More recently he appeared as the Deacon in the cult series Whoops Apocalypse (1982).
Among his numerous film credits were Sink the Bismarck!, The Day the Earth Caught Fire, Thirteen For Dinner and Jigsaw.
A member of the Garrick Club, Barron died on July 3, 2004 aged 83. His first wife, the actress Joan Peart, died in 1989 after 40 years of marriage. He married, secondly, the actress Helen Christie. She died in 1995. He is survived by a stepdaughter of each marriage.
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