The family of actor Clifford Rose, one of the founding members of the Royal Shakespeare Company and whose many film and television credits include Doctor Who, Secret Army and Kessler, have launched an urgent appeal to help him stay in a nursing home he loves.
Now in his nineties, the actor, perhaps best known for playing the villainous Kessler in the hit BBC 1970s drama Secret Army, has been battling illness since the death of his wife in 2012 and was finally taken to hospital five weeks ago, after a number of falls and medical crises.
“He bravely attempted to remain in his own home but, ultimately his frailty and illness got the better of him,” writes his son, Duncan, who has launched a financial appeal to raise £65,000 for his father’s care on GoFundMe.
“Through the help of an actors charity, we have managed to find him a nursing home which he loves,” he explains. “However, he is only funded for a month, so we urgently need help to allow him to remain there. He does not have the means to otherwise do so.
“If you have ever enjoyed my father’s work, or appreciate the value of veteran actors in our cultural life, please consider supporting him in his time of need.”
Clifford, who has been an encouraging teacher and mentor to many up and coming actors over the years, has given much enjoyment to so many people over the last 60 years and was a true pioneer of classical theatre in the UK. His career spans radio, television and film, including the Pirates of the Caribbean and The Iron Lady). He even had a brief dalliance with streaming media, having appeared in The Crown on Netflix.
Asked about his favourite roles during his incredible career just last year, Clifford told the Stratford Herald, “I have to put Kessler near the top because that went on for a very long time – three years of Secret Army [1977-79] and then the Kessler spin-off, so about five years not doing anything else really because it was utterly time-consuming. It was probably one of my favourite parts. It got an enormous amount of recognition and people did stop me in the street.”
Of his part in founding the Royal Shakespeare Company, he commented “I counted myself very fortunate to be in that sort of company which was pioneering in every sense of the word – the idea of an ensemble, actors staying together for more than a year, three years or more – that was so wonderful. It was crucial; as a company you get to know each other so well, you can take all sorts of shortcuts in rehearsal. It saves time as you get to the nub of something very quickly.”
If you can help this veteran actor and his family, or simply share the appeal, the campaign is here on GoFundMe.