The body of British character actor Richard Haydn was found in his Pacific Palisades home Thursday.
A pedagogic, Caspar Milquetoast-type actor, Haydn was featured in more than three dozen films ranging from “Charley’s Aunt” in 1941 to “Young Frankenstein” in 1974.
Haydn, who was believed to be 80, was a musical revue star of the 1930s who portrayed the same prissy eccentrics on stage as he was to do later in films.
In a 1946 interview with The Times, Haydn called his film characters “incredibly smug.” And perhaps the most pompous of them all was Mr. Carp, one of the seven professors (including Gary Cooper) who were perplexed and tantalized by Barbara Stanwyck in 1942’s “Ball of Fire.”
His distinctive, nasal voice was heard on the screen as the solemn schoolmaster in “The Green Years,” the prissy pharmacist in “Cluny Brown” and the imperial Franz Josef in “The Emperor Waltz” with Bing Crosby.
He told Hedda Hopper in 1964 that it all began when he was 19 and went on stage mimicking a fish in “One Damn Thing After Another.”
He traveled the world on a small inheritance but never strayed far from show business, learning stage direction and makeup. But he remained best known for his films, which also included “The Merry Widow,” “Never Let Me Go,” “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies,” the 1962 version of “Mutiny on the Bounty” and “Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion.”
His survivors were not immediately known.