Peter Vaughan died early this morning at 93, after a more than 75 year acting career.


Vaughan is probably best remembered for his role as Harry Grout in the 70s sitcom Porridge, despite only appearing in three episodes. Most recently he played Maester Aemon in the hit show Game of Thrones. His character passed away peacefully in his sleep in season after revealing his true identity to Jon Snow.

“This is to confirm that very sadly Peter Vaughan has passed away at approximately 10.30 this morning,” said his agent Sally Long-Innes in a statement. “He died peacefully with his family around him.” Many of his GoT family took to Twitter to share their condolences.

Fans of Porridge, however, remember him as Grouty. “I still get people saying, ‘Let you out, have they, Grouty?'” recalled Vaughan in a previous interview. “I was in just three episodes and, of course, the feature film, so I have to thank the writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais for the fact I’m one of the characters people always remember when they talk about Porridge because Grouty is so prominent – even though I’m not there. Everybody’s frightened to death of him, so they talked about him a lot and so it was a huge character but I didn’t have to be there.”

Another of his celebrated roles was as Felix Hutchinson in Our Friends in the North. He earned a BAFTA nomination for this role, in which he played an aging man dealing with Alzheimer’s. Vaughn himself described it as his best role on television. “The great thing about it from my point of view was being able to show people the terrible Alzheimer’s Disease,” he said. “As Felix, over the course of four decades, I was able to go from a hard nut right the way through the various stages of that illness and it was really the first time it had been brought seriously to notice. It was a great privilege to play that part, it blazed the trail.”

Vaughan also appeared in the 1967 thriller The Naked Runner alongside Frank Sinatra. Vaughan was a man of the stage as well, starring in Twelve Angry Men, and a film version of The Crucible.

Vaughan was born in April 1924 with the original last name Ohm, taking his mother’s maiden name when he decided to become an actor. He toured between theaters until his acting was interrupted by WWII, and was called to serve in the army in 1942. He served as an officer in Normandy, Belgium and Singapore. Following the war, he returned to England to continue his acting career, though did not end up on screen again until 1959.

“There are at least two Peters,” he is quoted as saying about himself. “One is shy and reticent, the other is the wild Peter with a great sense of humor.” Vaughan was very much in demand in the TV world after his big break in 1964, when he starred in Entertaining Mr. Sloane.

He settled into a comfortable role as a character actor, which brought him much success. “If you’re a character actor, you don’t need to wait for the next leading role,” Vaughan once said. “But if you are a leading man you have to wait for the next part. Sometimes that means long periods without work.”

He is survived by his second wife Lillias Walker, their son and his twin step-daughters. He was previously married to actress Billie Whitelaw for 12 years.

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