Alf Garnett RIP

warrenActor Warren Mitchell sadly died today at the age of 89. A statement from his family said the star died in the early hours of Saturday “surrounded by his family. He has been in poor health for some time, but was cracking jokes to the last,” the family added.

Mitchell never completely distanced himself from his most famous character, the bigoted West Ham supporter, Alf Garnett. Warren Mitchell was actually born as Warren Misell on 14 January 1926 in North London.

His father, Monty, was English, while his mother Annie, who died when he was 15, was of Russian descent. His interest in acting started at the age of seven, when he was enrolled in Gladys Gordon’s Academy of Dramatic Arts in Walthamstow, East London.  Despite playing the role of a West Ham fan in real lief he was a staunch supporter of  Spurs.

The irony of a left-wing, Jewish, Spurs supporter playing a Conservative-voting West Ham fan was not lost on Mitchell, although he became concerned that some of his audience failed to recognise the show as satire. He recalled an exchange with a fellow Spurs fan who had come up to congratulate him on “having a go” at immigrants. “Actually,” Mitchell tersely replied, “We’re having a go at idiots like you.”

He is survived by his wife, a fellow actress, Constance Wake and three children.


About Sean Whetstone

I am Season Ticket Holder in West stand lower at the London Stadium and before that, I used to stand in the Sir Trevor Brooking Lower Row R seat 159 in the Boleyn Ground and in the Eighties I stood on the terraces of the old South Bank. I am a presenter on the West Ham Podcast called MooreThanJustaPodcast.co.uk. A Blogger on WestHamTillIdie.com a member of the West Ham Supporters Advisory Board (SAB), Founder of a Youtube channel called Mr West Ham Football at http://www.youtube.com/MrWestHamFootball, I am also the associate editor here at Claret and Hugh. Life Long singer of bubbles! Come on you Irons! Follow me at @Westhamfootball on twitter

3 comments on “Alf Garnett RIP

  1. A very fine actor rather than a comedian – I remember him giving a brilliant performance in ‘the Death of a Salesman’ but he’ll be remembered for Alf Garnett, another very fine performance!

  2. It is always a big sadness when a great actor dies; they bring life to life, and we love them for it. Warren Mitchell was a brilliant actor – not just for Alf Garnett. How could it have been otherwise? His portrayal of Garnet was so perfect; only a superb actor could have done that. And what a fantastic irony; a Jew playing a consumate racist!! A passionate Spurs supporter playing an equally passionate West Ham supporter! He is part of West Ham folklore…Garnet could ONLY have been a West Ham supporter… East Enders have that irony and humour; it is there at every game on the terraces. It is what makes West Ham special,…….RIP Warren. Big thank you for making a foul racist Garnet a West Ham legend for all the right reasons…

  3. So sad to hear that Warren Mitchell has passed on.
    So many funny stories from the Till Death Us Do Part comediy series.

    One that sticks so well in the memory, inloves a scene, where the family is grouped around the TV, with ‘old Al’f and his son-in-law (aka the left-wing layabout, Mike Rawlins) paying particular game involving West Ham. “Look Dad, says young Mike, mockingly to Alf, fancy a a dark-skinned man playing for your team; sitting in his favuorite chair, becoming increasingly irritated by the remark, gets into a quasi-argumant; “Look, you silly, randy Scouse git , I’m aware he’s a coon, but you see, he is not your ‘ordinary coon; he’s one of Her Royal Majest’sy’s Special Coons! I think that he was actually referring to Clyde Best, who was one of the first guys of Africo-American descent to be playing Division 1 soccer. Well, at this stage, the whole family starts getting into old Alf, starting with his daughter Rita making some comment about the Jewish- nature of his nose; Alf, at this stage, quite irritated, starts his typical, “Look,.., at which time, his wife, the Silly Old Moo, interjects with, “and your father (or Grandfather) was Jewish. There is short, but, great time lapse, where Alf, screams out- I’m not a bloody ***, and adds, “I’m goin’ up the pub!!”

    Here in Australia, he was well loved and highly acclaimed for his leading roles in a number of Shakespeare’s greatest plays,

    Maybe, we should all remember the irony of his birthplace, Stoke Newington, highlighted in one of Alexei Sayle’s performances,when, dressed up in a suit that was 2 sizes too small for him, behaving like a deranged, drunk, over-weight bovver-boy, as a Gossip Clomunist , in his famous”Whats New in Stoke Newington skit. I’m sure that Alexei, himself, a leftist man of Jewish origin, was highly influenced by the talents of the great man, Warren Mitchell, one of West Ham’s adopted son’s, sort of…(Such a shame that Warren didn’t live quite long enough to see our next game, against our famous rivals, Spurs!)

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