I have always approached every part I have done as if it will be my last, and that it's the one I will be judged by.
Described by his Son-in-law as “one of the nicest cantankerous old gits I know”, Peter Vaughan made a name for himself as a menacing, foreboding presence on both stage and screen early in his career, before showing a softer side in his older age. His last major role was on the hit show Game of Thrones, where he played a kind and wise mentor to one of the young protagonists - a far cry from the roles of his youth.
Born Peter Ewart Ohm in Shropshire, the son of a bank clerk and a nurse, his first performance came at his first school, where he recited a poem in an assembly and revelled in the applause he received. The family later moved to Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, where they would live until the outbreak of the Second World War. Peter became a commissioned officer in 1943 and served all around the world, with postings in Normandy, Belgium and Singapore. It was while he was in the army that his theatrical talents came to the fore, as he organised plays and performances alongside his comrades.
Despite starring in dozens of films, including alongside Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson in The Remains of the Day, he is perhaps best known for his work on the smaller screen. In the 1970s he appeared in the prison sitcom Porridge as ‘Groutie’, the inmate who ran the joint from the inside and he won plaudits for his portrayal of alzheimer's and dementia in the 1996 drama Our Friends in the North, which portrayed the lives of four friends from Newcastle from 1964 to 1995. To prepare for the role, he would spend hours at a time in old-peoples homes, talking with and observing the residents.
Vaughn kept working well into his 90s, and died peacefully at the age of 93, after appearing in over 80 films and tv shows, and countless plays and stage roles.