A Mystery Writer’s Almanac–Leo McKern
On March 16, 1920, Leo McKern entered the world by way of Sydney, New South Wales. After serving as a sapper in the second World War, he moved to England and became a critically acclaimed actor on stage and in films. It is his work between 1978 and 1992 for which he is best remember, however. In that time he gave life and voice to John Mortimer’s barrister Rumpole of the Bailey in forty-four episodes for ITV, which aired in the United States on PBS Mystery! McKern grew to resent the idea that Rumpole eclipsed the rest of his notable career, but there are worse things than being remembered as Horace Rumpole, Defender of the Underdog, Baiter of Judges, Mocker of the Establishment, and Preserver of the Presumption of Innocence. So poor a glass of your favorite cheap red (Chateau Thames Embankment) and drink a toast to Leo McKern and the shabby Quixote he portrayed.