Rossiter broke into film roles with Billy Liar in which he plays the title character's boss. This brief role fixed him with audiences as an often flawed and inflexible authority figure.
In Rising Damp he played Rigsby, the lecherous landlord of a house converted to a block of seedy bedsits. Another famous role was in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, adapted by David Nobbs from his own Reginald Perrin comic novels, in which he played the title character.
In the 1970s he starred alongside Joan Collins as her bumbling suitor in a series of Cinzano commercials, in which somehow the drink would be spilled down the female character's dress.
In the animated adaptation of The Perishers he provided the voice for Boot the dog. His last TV role was that of the eponymous supermarket manager in Tripper's Day, an ITV sitcom which was not up to the standards of the shows he had previously adorned.
He also played the title role in the short film Le Petomane, but Rossiter's most widely-seen appearance may be his brief turn as the Russian scientist Smyslov in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Rossiter went on to play the memorable part of Captain John Quinn in Kubrick's Barry Lyndon (1975) and also appeared in Water.
Rossiter died of a heart attack in 1984 while waiting to go onstage at the Lyric Theatre, London, where he was performing in Joe Orton's play Loot. He left behind his second wife Gillian (he had previously been married to actress Josephine Tewson) and a daughter Camilla.
Leonard Rossiter Facts
|Birthday||October 21, 1926|
|Birthplace||Liverpool, England, United Kingdom|
|Date of death||October 5, 1984 (London, England, United Kingdom, age 57)|