Born into a Methodist family at Shaw, near Oldham on 20 July 1918, Eric Longworth was educated at Rydal School. Following his father's early death, he became a breadwinner as a salesman in a printing company. At the outbreak of the war he was called up and was evacuated from Dunkirk before being posted to India for the duration. He was involved in amateur theatricals both at home and in India and on demobilisation joined the Oldham Rep. Both there and at Guildford from 1957 to 1963 he had experience of theatre management and also appeared in many roles. When the Guildford theatre burned down, he decided to become a full-time actor, both on stage and in film and TV productions. His best-known role was that of Mr. Gordon, the town clerk in Dad's Army, but he also appeared in numerous commercials. He worshipped regularly at the Guildford Methodist church, but after his wife's death in 1995 moved to Peterborough to be near his son Ian. He died on 20 August 2008.