English actor and television screenwriter Jimmy Perry, best known for co-creating the BBC sitcom Dad’s Army and for his long partnership with producer-writer David Croft, died today after a short illness. He was 93.
Born in London in 1923, Perry served in the Home Guard during World War II and would later mine those experiences for his most well-known television show. In partnership with Croft, Perry created the sitcom Dad’s Army, about members of the Home Guard, in 1968. Running through 1976 and spawning a radio version, a feature film, and a stage show, the series was a huge hit that regularly saw viewership approaching 20 million. The duo would go on to collaborate on the sitcoms It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, the BAFTA-winning Hi-de-Hi!, and the short-lived You Rang, M’Lord?.
Perry had less success working alone, as his solo-created sitcoms Room Service and High Street Blues were short-lived flops now considered among the worst British sitcoms of all time. Despite those setbacks, Perry’s career thrived until his retirement in the 1990s. He received an OBE in 1978, and also had success as a musician, composing the theme tunes for all of his sitcoms, including the award-winning theme to Dad’s Army.
Perry was married once, to Gilda Neeltje; the couple had no children. He is survived by his longtime partner, costume designer Mary Husband.