John Cartier as Major Murgatroyd in Patience

John Cartier (1961-63)

[Born London c.1923, died Croydon 27 Mar 1997]

Upon leaving the Royal Army Service Corps, where he had taken part as a singer in troop shows, John Cartier decided to embark upon a career on the stage.After several years of pantomime, musical comedy, summer theatre, and television work, he was engaged in January 1961 by the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company as understudy to principal comedian John Reed.His duties for the remainder of the season involved learning the principal comic baritone roles and performing in the chorus and as Antonio and Annibale in The Gondoliers.In the 1961-62 season, he added the small parts of Major Murgatroyd in Patience and the Second Citizen in The Yeomen of the Guard to his regular duties, and in March 1963 took over the Learned Judge in Trial by Jury from Jeffrey Skitch.During his tenure with the Company, he filled in for John Reed on occasion as the Duke of Plaza-Toro in The Gondoliers, Sir Joseph Porter in H.M.S. Pinafore, the Lord Chancellor in Iolanthe, and Ko-Ko in The Mikado.

Cartier can be heard in the role of Major Murgatroyd on the 1961 D'Oyly Carte recording of Patience, and as Major General Stanley and the Lord Chancellor in the 1963 Reader's Digest abridged recordings of The Pirates of Penzance and Iolanthe.

Tiring of his duties in the chorus and recognizing the unlikelihood of Reed's departure, Cartier left the D'Oyly Carte in August 1963 and joined Donald Adams and Thomas Round in their newly-formed "Gilbert & Sullivan for All" organization.There he was able to appear regularly in the roles he could only understudy with the D'Oyly Carte.Seven of them:Sir Joseph Porter in H.M.S. Pinafore, Major General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance, the Lord Chancellor in Iolanthe, Ko-Ko in The Mikado, Robin Oakapple in Ruddigore, Jack Point in The Yeomen of the Guard, and the Duke of Plaza-Toro in The Gondoliers were filmed and recorded in 1972.He also recorded several lesser-known Sullivan songs that year with several of his "Gilbert & Sullivan for All" colleagues.

Although John Cartier served less than three years with the D'Oyly Carte, and only played the Grossmith roles on a regular basis after leaving the Company, he was accorded at least one honor that no other D'Oyly Carte comic baritone ever attained.In November 1971, he was designated the "official" Jack Point of The Jack Point Press, a magazine for Gilbert & Sullivan enthusiasts that, sadly, ceased publication after that November 1971 number.

Page created August 27, 2001 © 2001 David Stone