A former child actor who went on to produce and direct some of Britain’s most popular television comedies has died of cancer, The New York Times reports. John Howard Davies was 72.
Davies starred in the 1948 David Lean movie "Oliver Twist" when he was 8, the story says. That film starred Alec Guinness as Fagin, the old man who teaches boys how to pickpocket. Davies left acting as a teenager, and became a production assistant at BBC in 1966.
Eventually Davies headed the BBC comedy division, a role he held from 1977 to 1982, the story says. Under his management, shows such as "Yes Minister" and "Not the Nine O’Clock News" were greenlighted.
His work as producer involved some of Britain’s most influential comedies, including early episodes of "Monty Python’s Flying Circus," which made stars of John Cleese, Eric Idle and Terry Gilliam, as well as the 1970s series "Fawlty Towers," which starred Cleese as the rude owner of a hotel.
Davies later produced and directed "Mr. Bean," another popular British comedy, and in the 1990s produced and directed episodes of "Hope It Rains" and "Law and Disorder," among other shows.
John Howard Davies