- Birth name:
- Date of Birth:
- 21 May 1928 Liverpool, England, UK
- 5' 7½" (1.71 m)
Spade-jawed British character actor Norman Rossington was born in Liverpool, so it shouldn't be considered THAT ironic that he would end up appearing in the Beatles' debut film smash "A Hard Day's Night" (1964) as Norm, the Fab Four's chagrined road manager. The son of a publican, he never finished high school, leaving at age 14 and living a rather wanderlust adolescent life as messenger, office boy, carpenter apprentice, etc. Later he went to night school and studied industrial design in order to become a draughtsman. Interest in acting happened by accident and eventually Rossington joined a local theatre group. He trained seriously at the Bristol Old Vic and began appearing in both straight plays ("A Midsummer Night's Dream") and musicals ("Salad Days") by the mid-50s. Within a few years he had extended his visability to films and TV, setting up his rather bumbling persona as Private Cupcake on the TV comedy series "The Army Game." Along with roles in a few of the zany "Carry On..." slapstick films, Rossington established himself firmly as a comedy performer with "I Only Arksed (1958), Crooks Anonymous (1962) and Nurse on Wheels (1963) representing a few of his farcical credits. Yet his finest creation was arguably in the 'kitchen sink' drama Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960) as Albert Finney's sensible, down-to-earth, blue-collar pal. Though he never attained outright stardom, Rossington became a reliable, familiar mug with minor roles in such epic British and U.S. films as Saint Joan (1957), The Longest Day (1962), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965), The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968), and Young Winston (1971), not to mention the equally epic TV miniseries I, Claudius (1976) and Masada (1981). Rossington's greatest impression would lie in musical theatre, especially in his later career. Such spirited roles in Peter Pan (as Starkey), My Fair Lady (as Alfred Doolittle), Annie Get Your Gun (as Charlie Davenport), Pickwick: The Musical (as Tony Weller), Guys and Dolls (as Nathan Detroit), and, lastly, as Beauty's father in "Beauty and the Beast" made him an endearing favorite in the West End. Cancer claimed him at age 70 in 1999.