Dam Busters star John Fraser, who escaped poverty on a Glasgow City Council estate to appear in films alongside Peter Sellers, has died at the age of 89 after a year-long battle with esophageal cancer.
The actor, who was once described as the "most beautiful man in Great Britain", became famous as flight lieutenant JV "Hoppy" Hopgood in the epic British war film from 1955 about the attack of German dams with the "jumping bomb".
Fraser turned down chemotherapy to treat his illness and was found peacefully in bed at his London home on Saturday by his 42-year-old partner Rodney Pienaar, 68, after returning from Chelsea and Westminster Hospital two weeks earlier.
After The Dam Busters, Fraser appeared in more than 20 films with stars including Alec Guinness in Tunes Of Glory in 1960 and Peter Sellers in The Waltz of the Toreadors in 1962.
Speaking today, partner Rodney remembered Fraser always saying he had "had a wonderful life as an actor" after escaping childhood poverty and loved traveling the world after that Couple in Cape Town.
He said, “He had esophageal cancer for over a year and declined chemotherapy. It was a matter of age, he never smoked.
Dam Busters star John Fraser, who escaped poverty on a Glasgow Council estate to appear in films alongside Peter Sellers, died at the age of 89. He is pictured second left in the 1955 film, alongside Derek Farr, George Baker, Richard Todd, Bill Kerr and John Forrest, and Ronald Wilson
The actor, who was once described as "Britain's most beautiful man", appeared in 1962 in Waltz Of The Toreadors, where he appeared alongside Peter Sellers
“He was in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital until two weeks ago and then came out. It would have been terrible if he had died in the hospital, but luckily he was home for his final week.
“He went to the hospital because he was breathing badly and then got a chest infection. When he came back he was given morphine. Sometimes I had to crush pills for him and mix them in his yogurt.
I found him on Saturday morning and he looked very peaceful in his bed. He had been sick, but he hadn't suffered from Covid.
“He always said he had a wonderful life as an actor and loved traveling the world. We met in Cape Town and I was his partner for 42 years.
“He's going to be cremated, but hopefully his friends can get together next year to celebrate his life and have a real memorial. He had written a few novels and continued to write in his last days. He also enjoyed going to a local theater. & # 39;
Fraser made The Dam Busters in his early twenties and became something of a palpitation on the big screen while also starring in films like Touch and Go with Jack Hawkins in 1955.
Fraser has appeared in more than 20 films during his career, including 1960 alongside stars like Alec Guinness (left) in Tunes Of Glory
Fraser made The Dam Busters in his early twenties and became something of a palpitation on the silver screen while also starring in films like Touch and Go with Jack Hawkins in 1955 (pictured in 1964).
After The Dam Busters got Fraser "cold feet over Hollywood" and refused to accept some film offers because he did not want to publicize himself, he found himself on the cusp of international fame.
He was a young gay actor at a time when homosexuality was illegal, which in part contributed to his desire to stay out of the spotlight.
During filming The Wind Can't Read In 1958 in India, Fraser got into an argument with Welsh actor Ronald Lewis, who had commented on his sexuality.
And while on a trip to Los Angeles in 1957 to promote The Good Companions, an American producer had promised to kickstart his career, but Fraser said he didn't want to live a lie, reports The Telegraph.
Fraser was featured in an episode of Danger Man: Don't Nail Him Yet in 1964 in which he starred alongside Patrick McGoohan as Rawson
Fraser is pictured in the 1962 Waltz Of The Toreadors, where he plays alongside Peter Sellers (left) as Lt. Robert Finch (right) appeared.
In which films and series did John Fraser play?
1953 – Valley of the Song
1953 – The good start
1954 – The face that launched a thousand ships
1955 – The Dam Busters
1955 – Touch and Go
1958 – The wind cannot read
1959 – I'm fine Jack
1960 – Melodies of Fame
1960 – The trials against Oscar Wilde
1961 – El Cid
1962 – The Toreadors Waltz
1963 – Tamahine
1966 – Doctor in Klee
1964 – Danger Man: Don't nail him in yet
1965 – repulsion
1965 – A Study in Terror
1971 – Sherlock Holmes' Rivals (series)
1974 – Zodiac (series)
1981 Lady Killers (Series)
1983 Partner in Crime (series)
1996 – Truth or Dare
Fraser was born on March 18, 1931 in Glasgow and was raised on Mosspark Council Estate with two older sisters and an alcoholic father.
He was sexually assaulted by a teenage soldier in the baths of Pollokshields at the age of 11 and evacuated to Kirkcudbright at the outbreak of World War II.
Fraser attended Glasgow High School for Boys and while there he decided he didn't want to go to college and instead auditioned as a child actor for Children's Lesson on BBC Radio.
He then worked as assistant stage manager for the Park Theater Company in Glasgow before making his acting debut in 1947 as a page in Oscar Wilde's Salome.
He completed his national service as a lieutenant in the Royal Corps of Signals with the British Army of the Rhine and then returned to the same theater where he operated the gramophone sound effects.
In 1951 he appeared in a BBC TV adaptation of Robert Louis Stevensons Kidnapped and received rave reviews from The Sunday Times describing him as "potential star material." He then made his first film, Valley Of Song, followed by The Good Beginning – both in 1953.
He was then scrutinized by producer Jimmy Woolf, who considered casting him in the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia.
He did not get the role but was quickly selected to appear as Lord Alfred Douglas in the trials of Oscar Wilde alongside Peter Finch as Wilde in 1960. He was nominated for his role as Best Actor with the Baftas but didn't win.
That same year he hit the big screen in Tunes Of Glory, playing a Scottish piper alongside Alec Guinness and John Mills.
In 1962 he shot the Toreadors Waltz with Peter Sellers at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire.
Fraser now had dozens of films to his name and a blue Aston Martin and decided to move to Buckinghamshire with his longtime partner, whom he identified simply as "George".
However, he enjoyed a colorful love life and during this relationship had a six-week relationship with the Soviet ballet star Rudolf Nureyev.
In addition to acting, Fraser bought a chicken farm in Surrey, but after losing all his savings he bought an apartment on Hampstead Heath along with a pet bush baby (pictured) and a young stage hand he used while playing in A Winter & # 39; s Tale with the Old had met Vic
Fraser stars alongside Fenella Fielding in the 1966 film Doctor In Clover, in which he starred as Dr. Miles Grimsdyke played
In 1971, Fraser starred in The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes – Madame Sara, where he played the role of Dixon Druce (pictured)
While touring Australia for the film, Sleuth Fraser identified the body of British alcoholic actor Patrick Wymark before going to bed with his lover – an encounter he described as “the only time in my life that I have had intercourse with a woman was afraid without being paralyzed & # 39 ;.
On the advice of his friend Stephen Ward, the West End osteopath known for his alleged involvement in the Profumo affair, he once visited a brothel. He also once consulted a psychiatrist in the hope of changing his sexual orientation.
In addition to acting, Fraser bought a chicken farm in Surrey, but after losing all of his savings he went and bought an apartment on Hampstead Heath, where he lived with a pet bush baby and a young stage hand he played while playing in A Winter & # 39; s Tale with the Old met Vic.
In retirement before returning to London, Fraser lived for many years in Tuscany with partner Rod, an artist who outlived him (Fraser is pictured in 1986).
Fraser had a brief vocal career chance and appeared on television on Six-Five Special and Cool For Cats, where he supported Cliff Richard and Tommy Steele at the Royal Albert Hall.
In 1970 his long-time partner & # 39; George & # 39; left him. and so Fraser bought two houses side by side in Notting Hill. He lived in one and rented the other to his former lover.
Fraser then toured West Africa with the British Council and played Shakespeare. For the next 16 years, his London-based Shakespeare group with eight actors appeared in plays in more than 60 countries.
The project was the subject of Fraser's book The Bard in the Bush, published in 1978. In 2004 he published his memoir Close Up.
Fraser made a memorable appearance as The Monitor in Doctor Who in 1981. His last role was in Truth or Dare in 1996.
During his retirement he lived in Tuscany for many years with his partner Rodney, who survived him.
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