Born: Ealing, London, England, UK
John Francis Junkin (29 January 1930 – 7 March 2006) was an English actor and scriptwriter who had a long career in radio, television and film, specialising in comedy.Born in Ealing, Middlesex, the son of a policeman, he attended St Bonaventures Catholic School, Forest Gate, then qualified as a teacher at St Marys College, Strawberry Hill. He worked as a primary school teacher in the East End for three years before becoming a professional actor and scriptwriter.In 1960 Junkin joined Joan Littlewoods Stratford East Theatre Workshop and played the lead in the original production of Sparrers Cant Sing. A few years later he joined the Royal Court Theatre company and was the foil to Tony Hancock in some of Hancocks last work for British television. He played a diverse range of roles on the small screen; however, he is best remembered for his comedy roles and his appearances as a television quiz master. Worldwide filmgoers will remember him best for playing Shake, the assistant to Norman Rossington, in the Beatles film A Hard Days Night. In comedy roles, Junkin was rarely short of work, on account of his outstanding ability to play the stony-faced symbol of low level, petty-minded and unquestioning authority, whether the army sergeant, police constable or site foreman.One of his rare leading roles was in the BBC series The Rough with the Smooth, in which he and Tim Brooke-Taylor played comedy writers (with both actors contributing scripts to the series as well). He also hosted his own afternoon television series in the mid-1970s. Entitled simply Junkin, it was produced by Southern Television for the ITV network.Junkin has an entry in the Guinness Book of Records as the voice of Mr Shifter, one of the chimps in the PG Tips tea advertisement, the longest-running series of commercials on television.Junkin lived in Wendover, Buckinghamshire. He married public relations executive Jenny Claybourn in 1977 and had one daughter, Annabel. He and his wife separated in 1992. He died from lung cancer on 7 March 2006 in the Florence Nightingale House, Aylesbury, several miles from his home. A heavy smoker, he had also been suffering from emphysema and asthma. His life and work were honoured at the British Academy Television Awards in 2006.
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