Kenneth Haigh

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Kenneth Haigh
Simon Scott-Kenneth Haigh in The Twilight Zone.jpg
Simon Scott and Kenneth Haigh (right) in The Twilight Zone episode "The Last Flight" (1960)
Kenneth Haigh

(1931-03-25)25 March 1931
Died4 February 2018(2018-02-04) (aged 86)
Years active1956-2003
Spouse(s)Myrna Haigh (m. 1974 - div. 1985)

Kenneth Haigh (25 March 1931 – 4 February 2018) was an English actor.[1] He first came to public recognition for playing the role of Jimmy Porter in the play Look Back in Anger in 1956 opposite Mary Ure in London's West End theatre. Haigh's performance in the role on stage was critically acclaimed as a prototype dramatic working-class anti-hero in post-Second World War English drama.

Early life[edit]

Born in Mexborough, West Riding of Yorkshire, Haigh studied drama at the Central School of Speech and Drama, at the time based at the Royal Albert Hall in London.[2]


He played the central role of Jimmy Porter in the premiere production of John Osborne's play Look Back in Anger in 1956 at the Royal Court Theatre, his performance in a 1958 Broadway theatre production of that play so moved one young woman in the audience that she mounted the stage and slapped him in mid-performance.[3] For the film version released in 1959, he was passed over in favour of Richard Burton. Coincidentally, he went on to portray the explorer and adventurer Richard Francis Burton in the BBC production of The Search for the Nile, he also briefly appeared in the Beatles' film A Hard Day's Night (1964).

Later he portrayed Joe Lampton, a character created by John Braine in the novel Room at the Top, in the television series Man at the Top (1970–72) and the spin-off film Man at the Top (1973).

Haigh made occasional appearances on American television, and his most recognisable appearance is that of time-travelling Flight Lieutenant William Terrance Decker in The Twilight Zone episode "The Last Flight" (1960),[4] he also portrayed Pat Casey in Lionel Bart's Maggie May.

Personal life[edit]

Haigh married the West Indian model Myrna Stephens in 1974,[5] they divorced in 1985, but remained good friends; she nursed him through his final years of ill-health.


Haigh died on 4 February 2018, aged 86, he had spent his last years in a nursing home after oxygen deprivation led to brain damage in 2003, following his accidental swallowing of a bone in a restaurant in Soho.[6][7]


Year Title Role Notes
1954 Companions in Crime John Kendall
1956 My Teenage Daughter Tony Ward Black
1957 Saint Joan Brother Martin Ladvenu
High Flight Anthony 'Tony' Winchester
1963 Cleopatra Brutus
1964 A Hard Day's Night Simon Marshall Uncredited
Weekend at Dunkirk Atkins
1966 The Deadly Affair Bill Appleby
1968 A Lovely Way to Die Jonathan Fleming
1971 Journey to Murder Dirk Brogan Example
1972 Eagle in a Cage Napoleon Bonaparte
1973 Man at the Top Joe Lampton
1976 Robin and Marian Sir Ranulf
1978 A Walk in the Sun George
1979 The Bitch Arnold Rinstead
1983 Night Train to Murder Cousin Milton / Cousin Homer
1985 Wild Geese II Col. Reed-Henry
1986 A State of Emergency
1991 Shuttlecock Dr. Quinn
2004 Mr Blue Mr. Blue Short film
Final film role


  • Othello (Drogheda, 1952)
  • Dear Little Liz (Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park, 1955)
  • Look Back in Anger (Royal Court Theatre, London, 1956) - Jimmy Porter
  • The Mulberry Bush (1956) - Peter Lord
  • The Crucible (1956) - Rev John Hale
  • Cards of Identity (1956) - Beaufort
  • Caligula (Broadway, 1960; Phoenix Theatre, London, 1964) - Caligula
  • Zoo Story (Arts Theatre, London, 1961)
  • Altona (Royal Court and Saville Theatres, 1961) - Franz von Gerlach
  • The Collection (The Aldwych, 1962)
  • Playing with Fire (The Aldwych, 1962)
  • Julius Caesar (Stratford, RSC 1962) - Mark Antony
  • Maggie May (Adelphi Theatre, London, 1964) - Patrick Casey
  • Too Good To Be True (Edinburgh Festival, 1965) - Burglar
  • Prometheus Unbound (Yale University Theatre, 1967) - Prometheus
  • Henry IV (Yale, 1967)
  • The Hotel in Amsterdam (Duke of York's Theatre, London, 1969) - Laurie
  • Much Ado About Nothing (Manchester, 1969) - Benedick
  • Equus (Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, 1969-70) - Dysart
  • Prometheus Unbound (Mermaid Theatre, 1971) - Prometheus
  • Marching Song (Mermaid Theatre, London, 1974) - Rupert Foster
  • The Father (Haymarket, Leicester, 1975) - Father
  • The Aspern Papers (Chichester Festival, 1978)
  • Twelfth Night (Stratford, CT, 1979) - Malvolio
  • Julius Caesar (Stratford, CT, 1979) - Brutus
  • The Tempest (Stratford, CT, 1979) - Prospero
  • Clothes for a Summer Hotel (Broadway, 1980) - F Scott Fitzgerald
  • Othello (Young Vic, London, 1982) - Othello


  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents "Specialty of the House" (1959) - Mr. Costain; "Banquo's Chair" (1959) - John Bedford
  • Search for the Nile (1971)
  • Man at the Top (Thames TV, 1971-73) - Joe Lampton
  • Moll Flanders (ITV, 1975) - Jemmy Earle
  • Hazlitt in Love (1977) - William Hazlitt
  • Maybury (BBC, 1981)
  • The Testament of John (1984)


  1. ^ "Kenneth Haigh". Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  2. ^ V&A, Theatre and Performance Special Collections, Elsie Fogerty Archive, THM/324
  3. ^ "Woman Quits Audience to Slap Actor in Play". Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  4. ^ "Movies". Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  5. ^ "The Model Archives of Marlowe Press". London: Gavin L B Robinson. 1974. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  6. ^ "Kenneth Haigh". The Times. 12 February 2018. Retrieved 12 February 2018. (subscription required)
  7. ^ "Kenneth Haigh Obituary". The Guardian. 13 February 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2018.

External links[edit]