Hywel Bennett (1944-) b. Garnant, Carmarthenshire, Wales.
Hywel Bennett was born in Garnant, Wales, and raised from a young age in London. He attended the Henry Horton Grammar School and later went on to train at RADA. Bennett made his big screen debut as the impotent husband of Hayley Mills in the Boulting Brothers drama The Family Way (1966). He followed this by co-starring once again with Hayley Mills in another Boulting’s film; the controversial thriller Twisted Nerve (1967). The 1960’s ended for Bennett with the major role of Private Brigg in an adaptation of Leslie Thomas’ anti-war satire The Virgin Soldiers (1969).
The next decade commenced with a blackly comic role in Silvio Narizzano’s screen version of the Joe Orton play Loot (1970). Bennett was once again reunited with Hayley Mills to co-star in veteran filmmaker Sidney Gilliat’s adaptation of Agatha Christie’s thriller Endless Night (1971). Two sex comedies essentially signalled the end of Bennett’s promising screen career. He was finally the lead star but Ralph Thomas’ Percy (1971) and The Love Ban (1973) were lamentable sexploitation comedies.
Bennett returned to public attention in what is probably his best known role, that of loveable layabout Shelley in the long-running eponymous TV comedy. On television he enjoyed regular appearances in the Dennis Potter play Pennies from Heaven, the award-winning mini-series based on John Le Carré’s novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Alan Plater’s The Consultant.
He has remained busy with minor and occasional cameo appearances in TV an throughout the subsequent years and produced a notable performance in the low-budget black comedy One for the Road by debut director Chris Cooke.