Barry Foster

Barry Foster (21 August 1927 – 11 February 2002) was an English actor who is best known for his leading role in Van der Valk, the ITV drama series about a Dutch detective which ran for five series from 1972 for 20 years. Born John Barry Foster in Beeston, Nottinghamshire (recorded as Basford), the son of a toolsetter, his family moved to Hayes, Hillingdon when he was a few months old. He attended Southall County Grammar School. After leaving school, Foster worked as a plastics organic chemist at the local EMI Central Research Laboratories, while unsuccessfully submitting ideas to advertising agencies. Foster trained as an actor for two years at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, arriving there aged 20. It was here he became friends with an actor called David Baron, better known as playwright Harold Pinter. Foster would much later appear on stage in three of Pinter's plays, The Basement and The Tea Party and A Slight Ache in 1987. Foster's professional stage debut came in 1952 as Lorenzo in The Merchant of Venice in County Cork. Then in 1955 he made his London stage debut as the Electrician in The Night of the Ball at the New Theatre (now the Noël Coward Theatre).

Actor

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