John Standing

Not to be confused with Jack Standing.
John Standing
Born John Ronald Leon
(1934-08-16) 16 August 1934
London, England
Occupation Actor
Years active 1959–present
Spouse(s) Jill Melford (1961-1972; divorced; 1 child)
Sarah Forbes (1984-present; 3 children)

Sir John Ronald Leon Standing, 4th Baronet (born 16 August 1934), born John Ronald Leon, is an English actor.

Early life

Standing was born in London, the son of Kay Hammond (née Dorothy Katherine Standing), an actress, and Sir Ronald George Leon, 3rd Baronet, a stockbroker.[1] He is from a distinguished acting family on his mother's side, including his great-grandfather Herbert Standing (1846–1923) and his grandfather, Sir Guy Standing (1873–1937). His step-father was actor Sir John Clements. He was educated at Eton College and Millfield School, Somerset, later serving in the King's Royal Rifle Corps as a second lieutenant, before going to study at the Byam Shaw School of Art in London.


He began his career in Peter Brook's 1955 production of Titus Andronicus starring Laurence Olivier and wife Vivien Leigh [2] and later played leading parts in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, Ring Around the Moon, A Sense of Detachment by John Osborne, and Noël Coward's Private Lives, with Maggie Smith. He was nominated for an Olivier award (1979) for Close Of Play at the National Theatre. He made his film debut in The Wild and the Willing (1962), going on to appear in King Rat (1965), "Walk, Don't Run" (1966), The Psychopath (1966), The Eagle Has Landed (1976), The Elephant Man (1980), Nightflyers (1987), Mrs. Dalloway (1997), and A Good Woman (2004).

One of his first major television roles was as Sidney Godolphin in the BBC twelve part serial, The First Churchills (1969). Other television appearances include Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1979); the ITV sitcom The Other 'Arf (1980–84), with Lorraine Chase; The Choir (1995) and King Solomon's Mines (2004). In the USA, he made guest appearances in numerous weekly programmes including L.A. Law, Civil Wars and Murder, She Wrote, and co-starred briefly with Robert Wagner and Samantha Smith in the action series Lime Street (1985).[3]

He appeared in the 1987 film Nightflyers adapted from a short story by George R. R. Martin. In July 2010 it was confirmed that he would be appearing as Jon Arryn in the HBO series Game of Thrones, based on Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels.[4]

Personal life

He succeeded his father as the 4th baronet in 1964, but does not use the title. The Leon family were, until 1937, owners of Bletchley Park, the country house in Buckinghamshire used in the Second World War as a code-breaking centre. He married Jill Melford in 1961; the couple had a son, Alexander John, but divorced in 1972.[3]

In 1984 he married Sarah Kate Forbes, the daughter of film director Bryan Forbes and actress Nanette Newman and the sister of television presenter Emma Forbes; they have three children.[3]



  1. Profile,; accessed 14 June 2015.
  2. Profile,; accessed 14 June 2015.
  3. 1 2 3 John Standing at the Internet Movie Database
  4. George R.R. Martin profile,; accessed 14 June 2015.

External links

Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Ronald George Leon
(of Bletchley Park)
Succeeded by
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