Wyllie Longmore, actor and Arden co-founder, dies at 82

Published: 6 January 2023
Reporter: David Chadderton

Wyllie Longmore at the 2016 Manchester Theatre Awards ceremony at HOME Manchester Credit: Anthony Robling

The Manchester-based actor and director Wyllie Longmore passed away peacefully from cancer on 4 January 2023, according to his daughter.

Longmore was born in a small village in Jamaica in 1940, but emigrated to England in 1961, where his father thought he was going to teacher training college, but he actually joined a combined course in acting and teaching at Rose Bruford College in Sidcup. After graduation, he joined Leeds Theatre-in-Education Company, and through that meet David Thacker, later Artistic Director of Bolton Octagon, who gave him his first stage role as Ross in Macbeth at the Old Vic.

His screen roles have included Dr McKinnon in the ITV soap Coronation Street and the Prime Minister's (Hugh Grant) assistant in Richard Curtis's Love Actually, and he was seen frequently on stage in Manchester, including notable performances as Cutler in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom at the Royal Exchange Theatre and as Antonio in The Merchant of Venice and Jesse in I Just Stopped By To See The Man, both at Bolton Octagon. He won two Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards for acting.

He was a co-founder of Arden School of Theatre in Manchester, where he was Head of Acting from 1991 to 2002. He has also served on the boards of the Royal Exchange Theatre and HOME and was a trustee of The Edge Theatre and Arts Centre and OddArts. He was made a Fellow of the Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance in 2016.

His daughter, Jessica Longmore, posted on social media on 5 January, "I want to share the news that my father, Wyllie Longmore passed away yesterday evening. He had been living with cancer, but passed away peacefully with my mum by his side.

"Those of you who know me will know that I am not prone to public announcements on social media, but I know the influence of my dad goes way beyond our family; so I wanted to share this news with you all. Please feel free to share this news in your networks.

"I will post information in due course about the quiet funeral that we have planned and the celebratory event of his life and career, that will come later.

"Wyllie was a much loved husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle and will be very sadly missed."