John Phillips (actor)

William John Phillips MC (20 July 1914 – 11 May 1995) was an English actor. He is known for the role of Chief Superintendent Robins in the television series Z-Cars and for his work as a Shakespearean stage actor.[1]

John Phillips
John Phillips playing Jack Frazer in the episode "Not Wanted on Voyage " in the series "The Onedin Line"
William John Phillips

(1914-07-20)20 July 1914
Died11 May 1995(1995-05-11) (aged 80)
Years active1935–1984
Pauline Jones (m. 19401995)
Children2 sons

Early life

Phillips was born in Birmingham, Warwickshire in 1914, and began his acting career at Birmingham Rep in the 1930s.[2][3] During the Second World War, Phillips served in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and was awarded the Military Cross.[1]



His early theatre roles included the Ghost in the 1955 Peter BrookPaul Scofield production of Hamlet at the Phoenix Theatre; the American Ambassador in Peter Ustinov's 1957 production of Romanoff and Juliet; and Prospero in the 1959 production of John Dryden and William Davenant's version of The Tempest, at the Old Vic.[4][1] Phillips continued to work as a stage actor until his retirement in the 1980s.[5]


Phillips appeared in a number of television roles, which included: Danger Man (1962), Lieutenant Colonel John Whitley in Frontier (1968), Jack Frazer in The Onedin Line (1972–76), Grand Duke Nicholas in Fall of Eagles (1974), Josiah Wedgewood in Days of Hope (1975), Naso in Jesus of Nazareth (1977) and Dr Charles Langley-Beard in The Old Men at the Zoo (1983).[2][6] His role as Chief Superintendent Robins (1962–78) in Z-Cars and Softly, Softly was perhaps his most memorable.[7]


Phillips died at Oswestry, Shropshire on 11 May 1995.[1]


1992 Leon the Pig Farmer

1991 Merlin of the Crystal Cave (TV Series)
1987 One by One (TV Series)
1985 TV Eye (TV Series)
1984 Strangers and Brothers (TV Series)
1983 The Old Men at the Zoo (TV Series)
1983 Ascendancy
1970-1980 Play for Today (TV Series)
1979 Quadrophenia
1978 Lillie (TV Mini-Series)
1962-1978 Z Cars (TV Series)
1978 Mrs. Amworth (Short)
1978 Hazell (TV Series)
1977 Three Dangerous Ladies
1977 1990 (TV Series)
1977 Ripping Yarns (TV Series)
1977 Mr. Big (TV Series)
1977 Jesus of Nazareth (TV Mini-Series)
1972-1976 The Onedin Line (TV Series)
1976 The Flight of the Heron (TV Series)
1975 Quiller (TV Series)
1975 Days of Hope (TV Mini-Series)
1974 Father Brown (TV Series)
1974 The Pallisers (TV Mini-Series)
1974 Fall of Eagles (TV Mini-Series)
1974 John Halifax, Gentleman (TV Mini-Series)
1973 Wipers Three (TV Movie)
1973 Jane Eyre (TV Mini-Series)
1973 The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes (TV Series)
1970-1972 Crime of Passion (TV Series)
1972 Man of Straw (TV Mini-Series)
1971 The Persuaders (TV Series)
1970 Horizon (TV Series documentary)
1970 The Main Chance (TV Series)
1970 The Black Tulip (TV Mini-Series)
1970 Confession (TV Series)
1970 Doctor in the House (TV Series)
1970 Manhunt (TV Series)
1969 Who-Dun-It (TV Series)
1969 Christ Recrucified (TV Mini-Series)
1969 W. Somerset Maugham (TV Series)
1968 The Caesars (TV Mini-Series)
1968 Frontier (TV Series)
1965-1968 The Wednesday Play (TV Series)
1965-1968 Theatre 625 (TV Series)
1968 Softly Softly (TV Series)

1967 Torture Garden
1966-1967 Dixon of Dock Green (TV Series)
1967 Out of Town Theatre (TV Mini-Series)
1967 This Way for Murder (TV Mini-Series)
1967 The Forsyte Saga (TV Series)
1967 Thirty-Minute Theatre (TV Series)
1967 The Mummy's Shroud
1967 The Avengers (TV Series)
1966 Mystery and Imagination (TV Series)
1966 BBC Play of the Month (TV Series)
1964-1966 Sergeant Cork (TV Series)
1965 Joey Boy
1965 Danger Man (TV Series)
1965 Knock on Any Door (TV Series)
1957-1965 ITV Play of the Week (TV Series)
1965 Legend of Death (TV Series)
1965 Alexander Graham Bell (TV Series)
1964 Smuggler's Bay (TV Series)
1964 Rupert of Hentzau (TV Series)
1964 Armchair Theatre (TV Series)
1964 Becket
1963 The Sentimental Agent (TV Series)
1963 First Night (TV Series)
1963 The Mouse on the Moon
1962 Thirty-Minute Theatre (TV Series)
1962 We Joined the Navy
1962A Prize of Arms

1962 Man of the World (TV Series)

1962 Saki
1961-1962 BBC Sunday-Night Play (TV Series)
1962 The Hatchet Man (TV Movie)
1962 Suspense (TV Series)
1962 Under Western Eyes (TV Movie)
1961 The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone
1961 Offbeat
1961 One Step Beyond (TV Series)
1961 Romanoff and Juliet
1960-1961 Danger Man (TV Series)
1960 Man in the Moon
1960 Follow That Horse!
1960 Village of the Damned
1960 Somerset Maugham Hour (TV Series)
1960 Saturday Playhouse (TV Series)
1959 Bleak House (TV Mini-Series)
1955-1959 BBC Sunday-Night Theatre (TV Series)
1958 Floods of Fear
1958 Doomsday for Dyson (TV Movie)
1958 I Accuse!
1958 Television World Theatre (TV Series)
1957 The Shiralee
1957 Fortune Is a Woman
1957 Theatre Night (TV Series)
1957 The Adventures of Peter Simple (TV Series)
1956 The Black Tulip (TV Series)
1956 The Count of Monte Cristo (TV Series)
1956 Passport to Treason
1956 Women Without Men
1956 Theatre Royal (TV Series)
1955 The Vise (TV Series)
1955 Richard III
1955 The Dark Avenger
1955 Noah Gives Thanks (TV Movie)
1954 The Monkey's Paw (TV Short)
1952 Angels One Five
1938 The Wooing of Anne Hathaway (TV Movie)


  1. "OBITUARIES JOHN PHILLIPS". The Independent. 18 May 1995.
  2. "John Phillips". BFI.
  3. "John Phillips - Theatricalia".
  4. "John Phillips - Theatricalia".
  5. "John Phillips - Theatricalia".
  6. "John Phillips".
  7. "BFI Screenonline: Z Cars (1962-78) Credits".

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