George A. Cooper who played Grange Hill care-taker, Mr Griffiths between 1985-1991, died on 16th November, aged 93.
Having started his career as an architect and an engineer, his acting career began in earnest after the Second World War. He became an integral part of Joan Littlewood’s legendary Theatre Workshop, alongside Harry H Corbett.
George would appear in numerous stage, film and television productions, including Coronation Street, The Avengers, Doctor Who and Some Mother’s Do ‘Ave ‘Em, but his longest lasting role was that of caretaker Mr Griffiths in Grange Hill.
The role of officious, but kind hearted, Mr Griffiths saw George working with a range of younger actors, many of whom reveled in the fact that they were working with someone so experienced.
George Christopher who played Ziggy Greaves said ; “Rest In Peace. George always had a smile on his face and had time to tell us all stories. He could have been in Zulu, but chose to stay with his pregnant wife instead of Africa and Hollywood. Legend. “
Ian Congdon-Lee who played Ted Fisk paid tribute by saying ; “In the whole 6 years of Grange Hill, he was a constant joy. I never saw him angry even though the poor man had to deal with us mental lot. Any time I think of George I have a smile. Thank you for your time, your wisdom and your smile. “
Gwyneth Powell who worked closely with George, in her role as Mrs McCluskey, contacted Grange Hill Gold to share her own memories of working with him.
“Deeply saddened to hear of the death of my very dear friend, George A. Cooper at the age of 93. We had a special working relationship, and remained good friends long after Grange Hill.
He was a brilliant actor and a kind and wonderful man. I shall miss him and the laughs we always enjoyed together.”
For a more detailed obituary please click here.
For Grange Hill fans, George will forever be associated with the role of Mr Griffiths, a role of which he was, quite rightly, fiercely proud.
George A. Cooper 1923-2018.