In an extensive range of acting work, John Clive is best remembered for a cameo scene in The Italian Job (1969), playing the manager of a garage at which Michael Caine’s Charlie Croker stored his Aston Martin while he was in prison. The two men are said to have ad-libbed the scene. The previous year, Clive supplied the voice of John Lennon in the animated film Yellow Submarine, after the Beatles chose to not use their own voices.
After leaving school at the age of 14, Clive worked as a pageboy at the Shakespeare Theatre, Liverpool. His first work as an actor was in rep, touring the West Country.
He enjoyed his first break on BBC Television in 1965, when Ken Loach directed him in Wear a Very Big Hat, one of the early Wednesday Plays. Six years later, he played the role of Tormentor in Stanley Kubrick’s cult classic A Clockwork Orange, in which he forced Malcolm McDowell’s Alex to lick his boots.
Clive played the first openly gay character in a Carry On film when he appeared in Carry On Abroad (1972). There followed Carry On Dick (1974) and the compilation That’s Carry On! (1977).
He had further theatre work playing the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz (1972) at the Victoria Palace and in a production of Alan Ayckbourn’s Absurd Person Singular (1975) with Millicent Martin at the Vaudeville Theatre.
His career took off in a different direction when he began writing thrillers, starting with an international bestseller KG200 (1977), based on the real-life story of a secret German Luftwaffe unit in the Second World War. This was a collaborative work, but from then on he was the sole author of further novels based on historical fact, including The Last Liberator (1980), Barossa (1981) and another international bestseller, Broken Wings (1983).
John Clive, who was born on January 6, 1933, died on October 14, aged 79.