Roy Dotrice, actor

Roy Dotrice with his grandchildren (from left) Phobe Lumley, 14, Oscar Lumley, 12 and Emily Woodward, 24 after collecting his OBE

Roy Dotrice, who has died at 94, was among the finest character actors of his generation, at home on stage and screen, in light comedy and dark drama, and on both sides of the Atlantic.

Initially familiar in the West End as the 17th century biographer John Aubrey in Patrick Garland’s long-running production of Brief Lives, he went on to appear as the tireless and pernickety serial litigant Albert Haddock in the BBC’s fondly remembered series of Misleading Cases by the humorist AP Herbert.

In recent years he became known to another generation of viewers in the series Game of Thrones, and as narrator of its author George RR Martin’s series of audio books.

That role earned him a place in the Guinness World Records of 2004 for the greatest number of characters voiced - 224 in one volume.

It was the latest of a shelf full of awards, including a Tony for his role in the Broadway revival of A Moon For The Misbegotten.

Born in Guernsey, the son of a master baker. Dotrice went to the Dayton and Intermediate schools on the island, but when the Germans occupied it in 1940, he escaped in a small motor boat with his friends, mother and brother to the south coast of England.

He was consigned to a workhouse in Manchester before signing up, aged 16, to the RAF as a wireless operator and air gunner. One year later he was shot down over enemy lines and spent the rest of the war in German PoW camps.

There, his interest in the theatre took root, and he performed concerts to raise the spirits of his fellow inmates.

After the war, he went into rep, and met and married the actress Kay Newman. They had three daughters together - Yvette, Karen and Michele, actors all. Michele is known for her role as Betty in Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em and was married to the actor Edward Woodward, who died in 2009. Karen played the young Jane Banks in Walt Disney’s film, Mary Poppins.

Relocating to America during the 1970s, Dotrice performed one-man stage shows as Abraham Lincoln, Charles Dickens, Winston Churchill and the homespun philosopher Will Rogers.

On the big screen, he played opposite Kirk Douglas in The Heroes of Telemark in 1965, and more recently, as Mozart’s father, Leopold, in Miloš Forman’s 1984 masterpiece, Amadeus.

Kay died in 2007, and he is survived by their daughters and seven grandchildren.

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