Walter Sparrow

Walter Leonard Sparrow (22 January 1927 31 May 2000) was an English film and television actor best known for his appearance as Duncan in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves starring Kevin Costner.

Born in Eltham, London in 1927, Sparrow began his career as a stand-up comic before moving to acting with a period with the Royal Shakespeare Company. His first film role was in 1964, in Dr. Terror's House of Horrors, with Christopher Lee. Subsequent films, interspersed between countless TV appearances, included the 1969 sex fantasy Zeta One, Young Sherlock Holmes, and the acclaimed 1988 film The Accidental Tourist starring William Hurt, Kathleen Turner and Geena Davis.

His career enjoyed a resurgence in the 1990s, with Sparrow playing key roles in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves as the blinded retainer Duncan, 1993's The Secret Garden as gruff gardener Ben Weatherstaff, and the 1995 American coming-of-age film Now and Then as tragic drifter 'Crazy Pete'. In 1998 he starred in Tony Harrison's film Prometheus.

Sparrow's even more prolific TV appearances included regular roles in the soap opera Emmerdale Farm, as two different characters, and the comedy Paris, and guest spots on Hugh and I, Adam Adamant Lives!, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), Z-Cars, The Onedin Line, All Creatures Great and Small, Alas Smith and Jones, Rumpole of the Bailey, One Foot in the Grave, Ernie in Birds of a Feather, and The Bill among many others.

Sparrow is also well known for playing Maurice, a peasant who was threatened to be shipped to the Americas, in the 1998 Cinderella remake Ever After.

One of his more notable guest appearances was in the 1989 episode Danger UXD of the sitcom Only Fools and Horses, which had 16.1 million viewers, as sex shop owner Dirty Barry.[1][2] His last appearance was in 2000 in an episode of the BBC's medical drama series Doctors.[1]


Year Title Role Notes
1963A Stitch in TimeGardenerUncredited
1965Dr. Terror's House of HorrorsSecond Ambulance Man(segment "Disembodied Hand"), Uncredited
1965City Under the SeaSecond FishermanUncredited
1969Zeta OneStage Manager
1969The ChampionsGeorge WhetlorEpisode: "The Night People"
1970Cool It Carol!Cameraman
1975The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter BrotherHenchmanUncredited
1978The Famous FiveSalomon "Sully" WestonEpisode: "Five Get Into Trouble": Part 1 & 2
1985Young Sherlock HolmesEthan Engel
1988The Accidental TouristHot Dog Vendor
1990I Hired a Contract KillerHotel Porter
1991Robin Hood: Prince of ThievesDuncan
1991Let Him Have ItNightwatchman
1993The Secret GardenBen Weatherstaff
1993U.F.O.Fred Paxford
1994Don't Get Me StartedNurseUncredited
1995Now and ThenCrazy Pete
1995The Famous Five Finniston Farm GrandadEpisode: "Five on Finniston Farm"
1996Jane EyreLord Eshton
1997The WoodlandersOld Creedle
1998Ever AfterMaurice
1999Treasure IslandBen Gunn
1999Simon MagusBenjamin


  1. Sparrow on the Internet Movie Database
  2. Martland, John. Obituary. The Stage. 6 July 2000
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