John Bennett (8 May 1928 – 11 April 2005) was an English actor. Born in Beckenham, Kent, he was educated at Bradfield College in Berkshire, then trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama, followed by a wide rep experience including Bromley, Bristol Old Vic, Dundee, the Edinburgh Festival and Watford before going to London's West End.
Often cast as a villain, he had many roles on television including Porridge, Survivors, The Avengers, Bergerac, The Professionals and four episodes of The Saint . He guest-starred in two Doctor Who serials, as General Finch in Invasion of the Dinosaurs (1974) and as the Chinese magician Li H'sen Chang in The Talons of Weng-Chiang (1977). He is also well remembered as Philip Bosinney in the BBC's 1967 adaptation of The Forsyte Saga, but also appeared in over three hundred TV productions including God's Architect; Blake's 7; I, Claudius; Rome; Rosemary & Thyme; Saracen; Honey Lane; Special Branch; Softly, Softly; Mulberry; Tales of the Unexpected and Anna Karenina. One of his last televised roles was in an episode of Jonathan Creek.
His film roles included The Fifth Element (1997), Charlotte Gray (2001) and Minority Report (2002). He also played an undercover detective in Victim (1961) (starring Dirk Bogarde), but the role was uncredited.
His theatre roles included Yasha in The Cherry Orchard and Henry Percy (Hotspur) in Richard II both for John Gielgud, Exton in Richard II and Volscian Senator in Coriolanus (Almeida Theatre), Marley's Ghost in A Christmas Carol (Royal Shakespeare Company) and Uncle in Inner Voices (Royal National Theatre), as well as working extensively at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. He starred in many West End musicals including On Your Toes (Palace), Marilyn (Adelphi), The Sound of Music (Apollo Victoria), The King and I (London Palladium), The Baker's Wife (Phoenix) and was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical for his performance as Louis Epstein in Jolson The Musical (Victoria Palace and Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto). His last stage role was as Conrad in Gates of Gold by Frank McGuinness with William Gaunt at the Finborough Theatre, London, in December 2004.
In radio, he had been a member of the BBC Drama Repertory Company, and his broadcast parts included roles in programmes that ranged from Shakespeare to Paul Temple.