Clive Dunn seemed an unlikely pop star when his novelty hit, "Grandad", topped the British charts in November 1970. Co-written with Herbie Flowers, best known for creating the bass line of Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side", the tune remained on the charts for 27 weeks and became the crowning jewel in a lifetime spent in British entertainment.
The grandson and son of music hall performers, Dunn made his greatest mark portraying old men on British television, beginning with Old Johnson on Bootsie And Snudge, a show, co-written by British humorist Marty Feldman, that ran from 1960 until 1963. He continued his run of success with a similar role in the enormously popular, Dad's Army, appearing in all 80 episodes, from 1968 until 1977, and in the 1971 film, whose soundtrack he co-wrote songs for and produced with Ray Cameron. He continued to portray similar characters on sitcoms -- My Old Man, from 1974 to 1975 -- and a children's show, Grandad, from 1979 until his retirement to Portugal in 1984.
Drawn to acting since childhood, Dunn appeared in Will Hays' films such as Boys Will Be Boys and Good Morning Boys, as a youngster. He toured the United Kingdom in a late-1930s production of Peter Pan.
Turning his attention to the defense of his homeland, during World War II, Dunn served in the 52nd Heavy Training Regiment and, later, the Fourth Queen's Own Hassar, seeing action in Greece and spending time in three prisoner of war camps. Although he managed to escape, via a cattle truck, to Austria, he wound up being sent to a Nazi work camp, where he spent four years drawing portraits for fellow inmates. Liberated by American soldiers in 1945, he resumed his career as an entertainer two years later.
In addition to his countless television appearances, Dunn has appeared with the National Opera Company, in a production of Die Flaudermaus. He spent an unprecedented nine months performing with Tommy Cooper at the Palladium in London. He appeared in more than two dozen movies including Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu, and the Ringo Starr and Peter Sellers 1970 flick, The Magic Christian.
Dunn was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in 1975.