Geoffrey Palmer

Active - 1961 - 2012  |   Born - Jun 4, 1927 in London, England, UK  |   Genres - Comedy Drama, Comedy, Drama, History, Spy Film

Share on

Geoffrey Palmer is a master of deadpan drollery. His hangdog countenance and understated comedic style are two of the main reasons that his TV situation comedies are popular not only in Britain but also in America. Among the best-loved of his sitcoms -- which enjoy a long afterlife in the rerun market -- are The Rise and Fall of Reginald Perrin and As Time Goes By. In the latter sitcom, Palmer co-stars with one of the U.K.'s most esteemed actresses, Judi Dench. They play old flames reunited after 40 years. Palmer has also performed in other popular TV comedies, including Fawlty Towers, Executive Stress, Fairly Secret Army, Hot Metal, Butterflies, and Whoops Apocalypse. In addition, his finespun wit and waggery has enlivened many a film production, such as Rat, A Fish Called Wanda, and The Madness of King George.

Palmer was born in London on June 4, 1927. After a brief career in business, he discovered his acting talent in amateur theater, then became a stage manager and eventually a full-time performer. Like so many other outstanding British actors, he studied and acted in plays written by the greatest popularizer of situation comedies, William Shakespeare. His role as Quince in A Midsummer Night's Dream is well known to fans of BBC Shakespeare productions. However, Palmer has not limited himself to comedies; he has also performed in productions in other genres, such as Mrs. Brown (a drama about Queen Victoria as a widow), Tomorrow Never Dies (a James Bond adventure), and Anna and the King (a historical/costume epic about an Englishwoman's relationship with the King of Siam). Thanks to his resonant voice, Palmer has also obtained work doing TV commercials, selling everything from veal to varooming cars.

In his leisure time, he enjoys foraying into nature with his wife, Sally, who introduced him to trout and salmon fishing. They have two children.

Movie Highlights

See Full Filmography


  • States his favourite place to visit is Venice, Italy. He visited there first in 1949 and many times since.
  • Trademark is his deadpan expression.
  • Finds his sitcoms have become popular on both sides of the Atlantic.
  • Has done a lot of work in advertising and voice-overs due to having a very distinctive voice.
  • Hobbies include fishing with his wife sally.
  • In June 2005, he was made OBE by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
  • Son Charlie is married to British actress Claire Skinner.