Obituary: Johnny Leeze, actor

Johnny Leeze, who has died at 78, was a York actor known for appearances in Coronation Street, Last of the Summer Wine and especially Emmerdale, on which he spent six years, on and off, as the unfortunate Ned Glover.

Johnny Leeze in ITV's Emmerdale

Johnny Leeze, who has died at 78, was a York actor known for appearances in Coronation Street, Last of the Summer Wine and especially Emmerdale, on which he spent six years, on and off, as the unfortunate Ned Glover.

He was also well-known as a comic on the Northern club circuit.

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Born born John Glen on New Year’s Eve 1941, he went to school in Sheffield with the singer Joe Cocker, before embarking on a five-year apprenticeship with the gas board. He also spent time in the Army as a tank recovery mechanic.

Stand-up jokes were his route into straight acting, and it was on a North Country comedy, Roy Clarke’s Open All Hours, that he won his first TV role in 1982. His walk-on part as “the man whose tyres were let down” was easily missed, but it led to bigger roles in Play For Today and Yorkshire TV’s Thora Hird vehicle, Hallelujah.

Nine months as the trombone playing milkman Harry Clayton in Coronation Street in 1985 cemented his popularity.

His success ran in inverse proportion to that of his best-known character. During his first few years on Emmerdale, Ned Glover saw one of his children die in a house fire, another in a car crash and his wife descend into insanity, before he lost the family farm and took off to Ibiza to run a bar with an old flame.

After that, Leeze could be seen in such shows as The League of Gentlemen, Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights and on the Heartbeat spin-off, The Royal.

A resident of Cleethorpes, he is survived by two daughters.