Alfie Bass was an English actor who appeared in dozens of radio, television and film productions throughout his lengthy career. He is best known for playing Pte Montague 'Excused Boots' Bisley in The Army Game and Bootsie And Snudge, and for appearing in several film comedies including The Lavender Hill Mob.
Born Abraham Basalinsky in Bethnal Green, London, Alfie Bass was the youngest in a Jewish family with ten children. He left primary school at the age of 14 and worked as a tailor's apprentice, a messenger boy, and a shop-window display fitter, before finding his calling on the stage.
Bass's career kicked off at the Unity Theatre, London in the late 1930s. Here he featured in Plant In The Sun alongside Paul Robeson and as the pantomime King in Babes In The Wood. Upon the outbreak of World War II, Bass signed up to join the Middlesex Regiment as a despatch rider, but even during the conflict he involved himself in concert parties, going so far as to participate in documentaries for the Army Film Unit. Other stage work included an adaptation of Gogol's short story "The Bespoke Overcoat", transposed to the East End of London and, in its film version by Jack Clayton in 1956, the winner of the Oscar for best short.
In television Bass is perhaps best known for playing Private Montague 'Excused Boots' Bisley, in The Army Game (1957-1961), as well as its sequel Bootsie And Snudge (1960-1963), working at a Gentleman's Club with Bill Fraser as 'Claude Snudge' and Clive Dunn as 'Henry Beerbohm Johnson'. He revived this career for another spin-off, Foreign Affairs, in 1964.
In the 1970s and 1980s he became a mainstay on British television, appearing regularly in the TV sitcoms Till Death Us Do Part, as Bert Reed, and Are You Bieing Served? as Mr. Goldberg. As in the Mr Goldberg role, he often emphasised his Jewish background in on-screen characterisations. He also guest-starred in two episode of the British comedy television series The Goodies.
In film, Bass is known for several appearances in wartime documentaries, following his own experience of martial dispute, but he also built up a distinguished comedy career, starring in The Lavender Hill Mob, Made In Heaven, Jumping For Joy, and Holiday Camp, among several others. Later roles included Clouseau's seafaring informant in Revenge Of The Pink Panther and a leading role in the 1997 sex comedy Come Play With Me.
- Monday 10th April 1916
- Wednesday 15th July 1987 (aged 71)
|1979||Are You Being Served? - Series 7||Mr. Harry Goldberg|
|1977|| Lord Tramp
|1977||A Roof Over My Head - Series 1||Flamewell|
|1977||Come Play With Me||Kelly|
|1977|| Mr Big - Series 1
|1976|| The Howerd Confessions
|1975||Till Death Us Do Part - Series 7||Bert Reed|
|1974||Till Death Us Do Part - Series 6||Bert Reed|
|1974||Bootsie And Snudge - Series 4||'Excused Boots' Bisley|
|1973|| Men Of Affairs
|1973||Black And Blue||Sylv|
|1971||The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins||Mr. Spooner|
|1967||Vacant Lot||Alf Grimble|
|1966||The Sandwich Man||Yachtsman|
|1965||Me And My Big Mouth||Actor|
|1964||Foreign Affairs||'Bootsie' Bisley|
|1960||Bootsie And Snudge - Series 1||'Excused Boots' Bisley|
|1959||The Army Game - Series 3||Pte Montague 'Excused Boots' Bisley|
|1958||I Only Arsked!||Excused Boots Bisley|
|1956||A Touch Of The Sun||Mr. May|
|1956||Jumping For Joy||Blagg|
|1953||Top Of The Form||Arty Jones|
|1952||Made In Heaven||Bert Jenkins|
|1952||Brandy For The Parson||Dallyn|
|1951||The Lavender Hill Mob||Shorty|
Non-comedy TV and film credits might be found here:
Alfie Bass on IMDb