Obituary, Playbill, 8/30/2005
James Booth, British Stage, TV and Film Actor of "Zulu" and
"Twin Peaks" Fame, Dead at 77
By Kenneth Jones
August 22, 2005
James Booth, a British actor who was a contemporary of Albert Finney, Richard Harris and Peter O'Toole, and who made a splash on the British stage playing "cheerful cockneys" in the 1960s, died Aug. 11, according to newspaper reports.His widow, Paula told papers he died peacefully at his home in Essex. He was 77.
Born David Geeves, James Booth trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and became a major actor in England in the 1960s, working in Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop at Stratford East, in London, where he played the lead in the Lionel Bart musical Fings Ain't Wot They Used to Be. He also reportedly played a cockney Robin Hood in a Bart show called Twang.
Mr. Booth's stage career began in the late 1950s as a spear carrier at the Old Vic. He also appeared with the Royal Shakespeare Company, notably as Edmund in Peter Brook's staging of King Lear with Paul Scofield. The production transferred to London.
Mr. Booth's only Broadway credit was Tom Stoppard's Travesties in 1975, in which he played James Joyce.
His best-known role was Private Henry Hook in the film "Zulu" (1964), a fact-inspired tale about British forces defending African outposts from Zulu warriors.
In the American TV series "Twin Peaks" he played ex-convict Ernie Niles.
He recently filmed a small part as a "grumpy old man" in "Keeping Mum," a comedy with Rowan Atkinson and Maggie Smith.
Film credits include "Sparrers Can't Sing," "The Trials of Oscar Wilde," "The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom," and "The Jazz Singer."