Actor and comedian John Sessions has died aged 67 from a heart attack.
John Gibb Marshall, better known by his stage name John Sessions, passed away at his home in South London yesterday.
He is arguably best known for his appearances on panel shows including Whose Line is it Anyway?, Have I Got News For You, and QI, as well as numerous appearances in UK and Hollywood movies.
A statement issued by his agent Alex Irwin of Markham, Froggatt & Irwin said: ‘It is with great sadness we can confirm that on Monday 2nd November, the actor John Sessions died at his home in South London. He will be hugely missed.’
John Gibb Marshall, better known by his stage name John Sessions, passed away at his home in South London yesterday. Pictured at The Wipers Times play, London, 2017
Sessions was born on January 11, 1953, in Largs, Ayrshire, Scotland, and had a twin sister, Maggie, and an older brother.
The family left Scotland for Bedford, Bedfordshire, when he was three. He studied MA in English literature at Bangor Univeristy before moving to Canada to spend four years working on a PhD from McMaster University.
In 1979 at the age of 26 he decided to embark on an acting career, attending Rada where he met his long-time friend Kenneth Branagh.
Three years later he landed a part in his first film, The Sender, and began working the comedy circuit alongside French and Saunders as double bill.
Sessions was the only mimic impersonating politicians on the satire Spitting Image to eventually earn his own puppet, he proudly told The Independent: ‘They did John Sessions going up his own arse.’
John Sessions performing at the Kings Head Theatre, London, 1985
Evening Standard Drama Awards at the Savoy, John Sessions with Joan Collins, November 1994
Mark Hadfield and John Sessions (right) at Road play, After Party, London, July 2017
His big-screen credits included The Good Shepherd, The Merchant of Venice and The Bounty.
He was also known for his surreal performances on his one-man TV shows. Recent TV drama credits included Victoria, The Loch and Mr Selfridge.
The actor also performed in various film adaptations of Shakespeare plays including Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V in 1989, playing Philostrate in the 1999 film of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Salerio in the 2004 movie The Merchant of Venice.
Actor and writer Robert Webb wrote on Twitter: ‘Bobby Ball and now John Sessions! Two very different performers who both absolutely inspired and delighted me at different times. Lovely, funny men.’
A tweet from the team behind panel show QI said: ‘John Sessions was a panellist on QI’s first ever episode: Series A, Episode One, ‘Adam’.
‘His incredible wit and encyclopaedic knowledge played a huge part in the show’s history and everyone at QI is deeply saddened to learn of his passing.’
John Sessions as Lord John Russell, and Laurence Fox as Lord Palmerston in Victoria, ITV drama series, Series 3, Episode 1, 2019
John Sessions as CI Frank Smilie in ‘The Loch’ ITV Series, June 2017
The actor also performed in various film adaptations of Shakespeare plays
Blur musician Graham Coxon said: ‘John sessions… was mega bright and funny.. that’s a great shame. RIP.’
Broadcaster Danny Baker shared a poster for radio series Beachcomber… By the Way and wrote on Twitter: ‘Shocked to hear that John Sessions has died at 67.
‘Terrific company always and a true talent. His roles at the heart of this, my favourite radio series, have given endless pleasure to me and will continue to do so always. Travel easy, chum…’