Paul Eddington is a British actor best known for his appearances in the popular television sitcoms "The Good Life" and "Yes, Minister." Born on June 18, 1927 in Paddington, England to a Quaker family, he attended Sibford School in Oxfordshire and married Patricia Scott in 1952. He began his acting career as a teenager with Entertainments National Service Association during the World War II. He worked for a repertory theatre company in Sheffield and made his first TV appearance in 1956 as a regular cast member of "The Adventures of Robin Hood." Initially, he played minor characters, later playing Will Scarlet in the Fifth Season. He also had roles in "The Avengers," "The Prisoner," the final episode of "The Champions" and as a "straight man" in a 1976 episode of "The Benny Hill Show," which he asked to have pulled from syndication because of a pre-conceived sexist nature of the series.
In 1955, Eddington had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, known as mycosis fungoides. The ailment was to cause his death eventually, but in the intervening four decades, Eddington and his immediate family kept his condition private from the public. It is possibly because of his condition that he shunned public attention for his achievements.
Known as a tall, debonair actor, Eddington gained popularity after appearing as Jerry Leadbetter, a neighbor of the main characters in "The Good Life." His part became so popular it extended into into a recurring part. In the 80s, he also played the title role of Jim Hacker in the comedy series "Yes, Minister" and its follow-up, "Yes, Prime Minister," said to have been former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's favourite TV programme. She awarded him the honor of Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Eddington was shortlisted as many as four times for the BAFTA award for Best Light Entertainment Performance for the series, but he lost out to his co-star Nigel Hawthorne on each occasion.
Eddington was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the New Year Honours, 1987.
In 1987, Eddington appeared as Sir Joseph Porter in "H.M.S. Pinafore" in Australia. His last roles included Richard Cuthbertson in the TV dramatisation of "The Camomile Lawn" in 1992, the voice of Badger in "The Adventures of Mole and Justice Shallow" and "Henry IV," a BBC adaptation of Shakespeare's "Henry IV" in 1995. He was reunited with his Good Life co-star Richard Briers in a run of the play "Home" in 1994.
On October 30, 1995, five days before his death, Eddington made an appearance on the television series, "Face to Face," discussing with Jeremy Isaacs his life, career and battle with lymphoma. He passed from the disease in Southwark, London on November 4, 1995, survived by his wife, Patricia, and their three sons and one daughter. BBC One aired a half-hour tribute to him on 15 July 2001, called Paul Eddington: A Life Well Lived. His autobiography, "So Far, So Good," was published by Hodder & Stoughton in 1995.