James Beck Biography


Birthday: February 21, 1929 (Pisces)

Born In: Islington, London, England

James Beck was an English actor best known for his role as Private Joe Walker in the popular BBC sitcom 'Dad’s Army'. Born in North London to a frequently unemployed father, he had a tough childhood. He went to Popham Road Primary School before attending an art college. He left home at the age of seventeen and served in the British Army as a physical training instructor before deciding to pursue acting as a career. He started working in stage productions and in 1961, he made his television debut in the TV series ‘Dixon of Dock Green.’ He made his film debut with a small role in the movie ‘Star!’ in 1968. He worked in several television series, movies, and theatrical productions over the course of his career. His notable television credits include ‘Coronation Street’, ‘Dad's Army’ and ‘Romany Jones’. He also worked in several radio shows like ‘The Motorway Men’ and the radio version of ‘Dad’s Army’. On the personal front, he was married with three children. He died suddenly of pancreatitis in August 1973, leaving his family and the film fraternity distraught.

Quick Facts

British Celebrities Born In February

Also Known As: Stanley James Carroll Be

Died At Age: 44


Spouse/Ex-: Kay Beck

Born Country: England

Actors British Men

Height: 5'11" (180 cm), 5'11" Males

Died on: August 6, 1973

place of death: Queen Mary's Hospital, London, England

More Facts

education: Popham Road Primary School

After college, James Beck joined the British Army, serving there as a physical training instructor. He then moved to acting and started performing in various theatrical productions before scoring a contract with the York Theatre Company. He made his television debut in the BBC television series ‘Dixon of Dock Green’ in 1961. In 1962, he portrayed the role of Charlie Bell in an episode of ‘Dr. Finlay's Casebook,’ followed by the role of Shylock in ‘The Merchant of Venice’ in 1963. He appeared in the television series ‘Taxi!’ (1964) before moving to London and portrayed the role of a policeman in ‘Coronation Street’ (1964-67).
He then appeared in the television series ‘Gideon's Way’ (1965), ‘The Troubleshooters’ (1965, 1967, 1970) and BBC's ‘Sherlock Holmes’ (1968). In 1968, he appeared in the TV series ‘Not in Front of the Children’ before taking up the role of Private Joe Walker in ‘Dad's Army’ (1968-73). The same year, he made his film debut with an uncredited role in the movie ‘Star!’ and worked in the radio series ‘The Events at Black Tor’.
In 1970, he appeared in the television series ‘A Family at War’ and ‘Doctor in the House’. In 1971, he recreated the role of Private Walker in the film version of ‘Dad's Army’ and worked in the radio series ‘The Motorway Men’. In 1972, he appeared in the TV series ‘Scoop’ and ‘My Wife Next Door’ before portraying the lead role of Bert Jones in ‘Romany Jones’ (1972-73). He appeared in the movie ‘Love Thy Neighbour’ (1973) and also worked on the radio version of the show ‘Dad's Army’.
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Family & Personal Life
James Beck was born on 21 February 1929, in Islington, North London. His father was a frequently unemployed tram driver. His mother used to make and sell artificial flowers to support the family. In his childhood, he used to keep a scrapbook of screen and stage actors and was a die-hard fan of comedian Sid Field. He went to Popham Road Primary School and attended an art college before serving in the army for a while.
In 1959, he married Kathleen 'Kay' W Bullus, who he had first met at the York Theatre Company and had three children with her. He was a very heavy smoker and drinker and was often seen smoking a cigarette.
In 1973, after completing a session of location shooting of the series six of ‘Dad's Army’, he attended a summer fete as a special guest and suddenly fell ill during the opening ceremony. He was taken to Queen Mary's Hospital, Roehampton, where he was diagnosed with pancreatitis. He died on 6 August 1973 and was cremated at Putney Vale Cemetery.

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