Nicholas Lyndhurst shared an extraordinary story in 2017 about his co-star Lennard Pearce, the actor behind the lovable Grandad character. This scenario, as recounted in Only Fools And Horses – The Official Inside Story, unveils an encounter between Pearce and none other than Adolf Hitler before the outbreak of World War II.
Lennard Pearce, who played Grandad in the iconic sitcom from 1981 to 1983, was part of the original cast until his untimely death in December 1984 due to a heart attack at the age of 69. His memorable stint as Grandad left an unforgettable mark on British television, making him a legendary figure in the hearts of Only Fools And Horses fans.
However, it is Pearce’s off-screen encounter with Adolf Hitler that has now come to light that has fans of the show intrigued. The revelation emerged when Nicholas Lyndhurst, who played Grandad’s grandson Rodney Trotter on the show, shared Pearce’s wartime tale.
Lennard Pearce “Regretted” Not Killing Hitler
According to Lyndhurst, Pearce met Hitler in the 1930s while on a theatrical tour in Germany. The Nazis, impressed by the performance, paid a visit, and Lennard shook hands with the man who would go on to be one of history’s most notorious figures.
“He was a young actor touring Europe, and they were playing some German city, and the Nazis walked in. The top honchos of the Nazi party had seen the play and came to congratulate them afterwards. Lennard shook hands with Adolf Hitler,” recalled Lyndhurst.
According to Lyndhurst, Pearce expressed regret over not taking decisive action. Lyndhurst quoted Pearce saying, “Had I known then what I know now, I would have drawn the pistol from one of the bodyguards, and I’d have done my best to kill him.” Who knows, if Pearce had gone for the kill, Grandad could have prevented WWII.
Steve Clark, the author of The Official Inside Story, remarked on the extraordinary nature of Pearce’s meeting with Hitler, stating, “It’s incredible that Lennard Pearce actually met Hitler during his rise to power and could have put a stop to him before he was able to do so much evil.”
From WWII entertainer to popular TV figure
Lennard Pearce’s acting career extended far beyond his time on Only Fools And Horses. In the 1930s, he toured Europe as a young actor, and during World War II, he entertained troops as part of the Entertainments National Service Association. His talent led him to work with distinguished actors such as Laurence Olivier and Anthony Hopkins.
Tragically, Lennard Pearce’s life was cut short in 1984 when he suffered a heart attack. This unexpected loss deeply impacted the cast and crew of Only Fools And Horses, leading to a rewrite of episodes and the introduction of Buster Merryfield as Uncle Albert in place of Grandad.
Lennard Pearce’s encounter with Hitler adds a surprising and historical dimension to his legacy, making his contribution to British entertainment even more remarkable. The untold stories of actors like Pearce continue to emerge, revealing the eventful lives behind the characters that became household names.