Brian Rix



  • (1924 - ) British actor-manager, who playedin bedroom farces for over 30 years, a career that he has describedas one of "diving under beds and into cupboards and pinchinggirls' bottoms".

    The son of a shipowner, Rix made his stage debut with DonaldWolfit's company in 1942; his early roles included a courtier in KingLear and Sebastian in Twelfth Night. In 1943 he joinedthe White Rose Players, a Harrogate repertory company, and playedfarce for the first time in Nothing but the Truth.

    After wartime service in the RAF, Rix toured with his ownViking Theatre Company in the army farce Reluctant Heroes.In 1950 he brought the play to the Whitehall Theatre, London,where it ran for nearly four years. His next farcical offering, DryRot, enjoyed a similarly long run; Rix eventually set a recordby staging more than a decade of continuous farces at the same theater.In 1967 he moved to the Garrick Theatre, where he appeared in Standby Your Bedouin, Let Sleeping Wives Lie, and She'd DoneIt Again during the first year of his management. He has publishedtwo volumes of memoirs, My Farce from my Elbow (1975) and Farceabout Face (1989).

    In 1982 Rix became secretary-general of the charity for thementally handicapped, MENCAP; six years later he retired from thetheater to become the organization's chairman. "It's a greatrelief to make the break," he said when leaving the stage, "Ijust got so tired of the eternal cry of 'drop 'em!'" He wasknighted for his services to charity in 1986, and became the firstBaron Rix of Whitehall in 1992.