Beeston, Nottinghamshire, England, UK
Place of Death
Guildford, Surrey, England, UK
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Cause of Death
Profile Bio Text
Barry Foster (21 August 1927 – 11 February 2002) was a British actor who appeared in numerous film roles and is best known for his leading role as a Dutch detective in the ITV drama series, Van der Valk, which spanned five series over 20 years from 1972. Born as John Barry Foster in Beeston, Nottinghamshire (recorded as Basford), his family moved to Hayes, Hillingdon when he was a few months old. His father was a toolsetter. He attended Southall County Grammar School (which became Villiers High School in the 1970s). Foster worked as a plastics organic chemist at the local EMI Central Research Laboratories, while unsuccessfully submitting ideas to advertising agencies. Foster trained as an actor for two years at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, arriving there at the age of 20, a little older than the other students. It was here he became friends with an actor called David Baron, better known as playwright Harold Pinter. Foster would go on to appear in three of Pinter`s plays, The Basement and The Tea Party and A Slight Ache towards the end of his career, in 1987.
Foster`s professional stage debut came in 1952 as `Lorenzo` in The Merchant of Venice in County Cork. Then in 1955 he made his London stage debut as the Electrician in The Night of the Ball at the New Theatre (now the Noël Coward Theatre). His first film role came in 1956 in the war film Battle of the River Plate. Over the years, he played in a wide variety of film and television roles, including David Lean`s epic Ryan`s Daughter, Battle of Britain, Joseph Losey`s King & Country, The Troubleshooters, The Family Way, The Wild Geese, Robbery, Sweeney! and Inspector Clouseau, Merchant Ivory`s Heat and Dust and Maurice, and up to his final film Rancid Aluminium in 2000. In 1972 he played two memorable roles, on opposite sides of the law. First was cynical Dutch detective Van der Valk and second was Bob Rusk, the necktie murderer in Alfred Hitchcock`s Frenzy. The Van Der Valk role would resurface twice more in his career, in 1977 and once more in the early 1990s. Shortly after the third series in 1978, Foster was to take on the role of the most famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, in a series of radio appearances for the BBC. He recorded 13 episodes of the Holmes canon, with David Buck as Watson. In 1974 he was also seen in Fall of Eagles in the role of Kaiser Wilhelm II. In 1980 he played the condescending chief of British intelligence in the BBC adaptation of the John le Carré novel Smiley`s People, starring Alec Guinness. From the 1990s onwards, he mainly performed for stage.
His marriage in 1955 in Birkenhead to singer and actress Judith Shergold was a long and happy one; the couple were married for 40 years. His daughters Miranda and Joanna are both actors, but his son Jason has not gone into acting. After Foster`s death, a trust was set up, The Barry Foster Memorial Appeal, to help disabled children become involved in the theatre.
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Barry Foster (21 August 1927 – 11 February 2002) was an English actor who is best known for his leading role in Van der Valk, an ITV drama about a Dutch detective that ran for five series between 1972 and 1992, and as serial killer Bob Rusk in the Alfred Hitchcock thriller Frenzy.
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==Barry Foster== (21 August 1927 – 11 February 2002) was an English actor who is best known for his leading role in [[Van der Valk]], an [[ITV]] drama about a Dutch detective that ran for five series between 1972 and 1992, and as serial killer [[Bob Rusk]] in the [[Alfred Hitchcock]] thriller [[Frenzy]].
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