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Birth name Hywel Thomas BennettNationality United-kingdomBirth 8 april 1944Death 25 july 2017
(at 73 years)
Hywel Thomas Bennett (born 8 April 1944) is a Welsh film and television actor. Bennett is known for his recurring title role as James Shelley in the television sitcoms Shelley (1979–84) and its sequel The Return of Shelley (1988–92).
After becoming known for his role in the comedy film The Virgin Soldiers (1969), Bennett made appearances in films such as Loot (1970) and Percy (1971). He was in EastEnders during 2003 as gangster Jack Dalton.
Bennett was born in Garnant, Carmarthenshire, Wales, the son of Sarah Gwen (née Lewis) and Gorden Bennett. He is the brother of actor Alun Lewis, who is best known for playing Vic Windsor in Emmerdale. Bennett was brought up in London from an early age, and attended Sunnyhill School, Streatham, Henry Thornton Grammar School, Clapham and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Bennett played small parts in Doctor Who (1965) and The Sweeney (1976). He starred in The Virgin Soldiers (1969), the film adaptation of Loot (1970) by Joe Orton, and Percy (1971). He was also cast opposite Hayley Mills in several films, including The Family Way (1966), Twisted Nerve (1968) and Endless Night (1972).
He played major parts in several Dennis Potter television plays, including Where the Buffalo Roam (1966), Pennies from Heaven ("Better Think Twice", 1978) in which he played Tom, a pimp, Karaoke (1996), and Cold Lazarus (also 1996). He took the lead role in Shelley (1979–84) and its sequel The Return of Shelley (1988–92).
He was also the villainous Mr Croup in Neil Gaiman's serial Neverwhere (1996). Bennett also starred in the four-part BBC mini-series Malice Aforethought (1979) based on a novel written in the 1920s by Francis Iles. Bennett's character, Ricki Tarr, was pivotal in the BBC serial based on John le Carré's novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1979). He also appeared in Lock, Stock... (2000) as Deep Throat. .
In 2003 Benett joined the cast of the long-running soap opera EastEnders as Jack Dalton, a gangland boss who was a former adversary of Den Watts (played by Leslie Grantham) and was believed to have ordered Watts's death in 1989. He first appeared in the series in May 2003, but was written out just two months later when his character was shot dead by Dennis Rickman (Nigel Harman), son of Den Watts. Just before his death Dalton revealed that Den had survived the shooting 14 years earlier, and later that year Den returned to the series.
Bennett also appeared as an occasional character, Peter Baxter, on The Bill and was in the first episode of Jam & Jerusalem.
He appeared in the 1986 music video of "Loving You's a Dirty Job But Somebody's Gotta Do It" by Bonnie Tyler and Todd Rundgren. He playbacked the Todd Rundgren vocals. The song can be found on Bonnie's album Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire.
From 1970 to 1988 Bennett was married to Cathy McGowan, who was the presenter of the TV rock show Ready Steady Go! in the mid-1960s. They have a daughter, Emma.