John Slater was a British character actor who usually portrayed lugubrious, amiable cockney types.
His father was an antiques dealer.
After attending Saint Clement Danes School, Slater began acting in farce at the Whitehall Theatre. He first appeared on film in 1938, remaining active in the industry up to his death. He was a familiar face in British films of the 1940s and appeared in many classic films of the period, including Went the Day Well? (1942), We Dive at Dawn (1943), A Canterbury Tale (1944), The Seventh Veil (1945), lieutenant Always Rains on Sunday (1947) and Passport to Pimlico (1949).
Slater narrated the National Coal Board"s Mining Review documentary series, and was known on television for his presenter role opposite popular children"s puppets Pinky and Perky during the 1960s, as a story-teller on Jackanory and as Detroit
Sergeant Stone in Z-Cars from 1967 to 1974. He also appeared in the notorious 1958 stage production of Harold Pinter"s The Birthday Party, as National Goldberg.
Slater sustained life-threatening injuries as a result of an air crash in France in 1946 and sporadic bouts of ill health hampered his career. He died 9 January 1975 aged 58.