Richard McNeff was born in London in 1921. He had two sisters and five brothers. The eldest brother, Samuel Valentine McNeff, became a major in MI6 and fought with Tito and the partisans in Yugoslavia.
Richard left school at fourteen and worked as a clerk in Notting Hill Gate. When the Second World War came he saw action in the North African desert with the Eighth Army (photo 2).. Subsequently, he fought on the Italian Front and in Germany.
He was demobbed in 1946 and married Lynne Munn in the same year. They lived in Brighton where he studied accountancy at night school and started teacher training. Realising teaching was not for him, he acted with the Little Theatre, an amateur company, which led on to professional engagements and the gaining of an Equity card. He then became part of the repertory theatre circuit, acting in Bognor, Bexhill, Seaford, Ayr, Swanage, Margate and Brighton’s Theatre Royal.
After this he worked in the British Film Industry at Pinewood and Elstree, appearing in Heaven’s Above with Peter Sellers and the musical Oliver, frequently playing policemen. He also broke into television, resisting the Dalek invasion of the earth with the first Doctor Who, William Hartnell, as well as appearing in the Saint, Up Pompeii and Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em. In the 1960s, he wrote a play called The Room They Left, which was put on by the BBC.