How tall was John Thaw

John Thaw's Height

5ft 8 ½ (174 cm)

British actor best remembered for roles in TV series Inspector Morse, The Sweeney and Kavanagh QC. In a 1993 Sunday Mirror it mentioned: "John Thaw is now 50, with white hair, seductive blue eyes and a firm figure. He is 5ft 9in". This height was also listed for him in a 1980's spotlight casting directory.

Add a Comment43 comments

Average Guess (24 Votes)
5ft 8.55in (174.1cm)
Rory said on 19/Jun/20
I'm not sure if the downgrade is completely fair. With his typical loose posture he certainly could look 173-4, but when he did stand tall I felt he could look near to 5ft9. I think 5ft8.75 might be very close to what he could have measured in 70s and 80s. Had around 2 inches on Brian Cox in Morse and also clearly edged Kenneth Colley. The difference between him and Whateley looked closer to two than three inches when he did stand tall on rare occasions too

So yh I think 5ft8.75 would be best. The full 5ft9 always seemed slightly optimistic but 5ft8.5 feels conservative.
Editor Rob
From watching the Sweeney again, I just couldn't see him as a full 5ft 9, his footwear was reasonably thick during most episodes, though you are right, posture wise at times he didn't stand great.
Miss Sandy Cowell said on 24/May/20
Morse is complaining about having to work on a Greek murder case because he doesn't understand the language or their mannerisms. He consoles himself in front of his large boss by quoting Lord Byron's "Watch the mouth. It gives away what the eyes try to hide."

5ft8.5, though probably 5ft9 in his early days.
Miss Sandy Cowell said on 16/May/20
Another funny moment from the Morse episode 'The Infernal Serpent': πŸ˜„

Inspector Morse, played by the adorable John Thaw, is forever correcting his Sergeant's grammar, and I find it all very amusing, affording plenty of LOL moments.

This time, however, it's a bit too late to correct him. While interviewing a high-class music teacher, called Mrs Copley-Barnes, Morse is able to communicate with her on her level, being an educated man. The faces of Mrs Copley-Barnes and Morse when Sergeant Lewis blurts out, "I bought my nippers one of them electronic keyboards!"

That's actually one of my own grammatical pet hates, using the word 'them' in that context when it's a PRONOUN! Now they're even speaking like that in adverts! 😀

Inspector Morse wouldn't be terribly happy, and press the mute button when the adverts come on, just like yours truly!

I see John's been marked down by half-an-inch. He gets 5ft8.5 from me; it does seem more believable.
Duffer 5ft 11 said on 10/May/20
Watched a lot of Sweeney in my time and I could see the very outstanding John thaw at 5'8.5" but no more. Apparently he smoked 3 packs of ciggies a day and had been since age 12..!! (Dunno how you could possibly squeeze in that many smokes at school:) - I'll vote him in at a smidge over 5'8".
Willis Christian Macaraig said on 15/Mar/20
John Thaw looks 5'11" to me. He really seems to be the same height as Ray Winstone.
Miss Sandy Cowell said on 5/Mar/20
John's Inspector Morse was flirting and joking until the day he died, and when I first saw 'The Remorseful Day', I came running into my Mum's bedroom crying, "Inspector Morse is dead! Inspector Morse is dead!"

She said, "Not in real life?" I said, "Goodness no!" but that was to follow shortly.

The conversation that made me laugh today was when, sitting in a pub, he was asked by a lady, "What's your first name?" He replied, "Inspectaaaar!"

Then the lady asked him whether, as his reputation is well-known for his excellent mind, "But you are clever, aren't you?"

He replies, "For what it's worth..."

Whether John was 5ft8 or 5ft9, which woman wouldn't prefer a slightly shorter man to a tall one who can teach her nothing? My Mum and I used to argue over which one of us he'd prefer! Me at my 31 years, or her at her considerably more experienced age. It was all in good jest, of course!

5ft9 for the great John Thaw.
Miss Sandy Cowell said on 4/Mar/20
Ah! Inspector Morse is in hospital because his end is nearly here - just one more episode - but this one, entitled 'The Wench Is Dead', is a haven for those of us who are interested in women's heights from the 19th Century, when a 5ft3 woman was considered tall. Morsie, played by John Thaw, manages to solve a old case from his hospital bed, a case which resulted in the wrongful hangings of innocent men.

John gets 5ft9. πŸ’“πŸ˜

It broke my heart when he died.
Rory said on 30/Mar/19
More likely under 5ft9 than over it but still near it I think. The very lowest I could argue for both he and Waterman is 5ft8.5, but I think 5ft8.75-9 suits both.
howhiami said on 11/Feb/19
No way was he five nine. Even as younger man in his Sweeney days, I would have said five eight tops, maybe half an inch shorter. Damn good actor though.
Cuban said on 22/Dec/18
Superb actor. Wonderful in The Sweeney. Always wore enormous heels in this show so quite incredible he was able to chase after villains and wrestle with them as he did. Appeared to be the same height as Waterman when wearing these enormous heels, so must’ve been around 2 inches shorter than him.
Sandy Cowell said on 13/Dec/18
On this afternoon's episode of 'Inspector Morse'*, the Inspector said to Lewis, "Well you can't arrest a man because his wife won't sleep with him!"

I really L'dOL, especially at the way he said it! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

John gets 5ft8.5.

* The episode is called 'Deceived By Flight'.
Chris Robinson said on 18/Nov/18
Just watched an episode of The Sweeney. Thaw was wearing huge heels to bring him up to Waterman's eye level. Unless Denis Waterman is taller than everyone says (and the joke in Britain is how tiny he is) then John can't have been above the 5-7 to 5-8 mark. He has that smaller body shape. Watch the chat show Aspel where he stands next to Oliver Reed - he barely comes up to his belt level and looks around the same a s Richard Atembrough standing next to him.
Sandy Cowell said on 25/Sep/18
Regardless of any height equation, Mr John Thaw was one of the most attractive men I have ever watched on TV. I just wanted to look after him! πŸ€—

Watch the 'Inspector Morse' episode 'The Daughters of Cain'! πŸ˜πŸ“Ί
Rory said on 21/Sep/18
That's not true. Thaw wasn't an inch shorter than Waterman, they were always within a fraction of each other both looked like "about 5ft9" men. I also don't think he looked 20 years older than he was, granted he always looked older than he was but not by 20 years. I'd say in 1974 in the first year of the Sweeney he looked around 40, when he was only 32 but not 52 !
Sandy Cowell said on 11/Sep/18
⭐️ Interesting Info Time! ⭐️

The title of the final episode of 'Inspector Morse', called 'The Remorseful Day', is taken from the poem 'How Clear, How Lovely Bright', by Alfred Edward Housman, who was born in 1859 and died in 1936.

As I am watching this episode, I am feeling a bit melancholy because I know what happens. Today I will give John Thaw his optimum height of 5ft9. πŸŒ„
Sandy Cowell said on 4/Sep/18
John's 'Inspector Morse' was overseen singing with his choir by Diana Quick's character in the episode 'Absolute Conviction'. The song was Bach's 'Er Kenne mich mein Huter', from Matthew's Passion and roughly translated means 'Recognise me my Shepherd'!

She was in tears! So was I!

John didn't seem any shorter than just under 5ft9 in this, and there were many stars to compare him to.
Sandy Cowell said on 11/Aug/18
This morning when I was channel hopping, I had a bird's eye view of John Thaw standing next to Kevin Whateley and you could definitely see that there was a good two inches height difference. The episode came from 1987 - I checked at the end - so John will have been 46/47 at the time, and I think there is a possibility of him having lost a small amount of height at that time. If I say he was either a weak 5ft9 then or a strong 5ft8.5, I think I wouldn't be far from spot-on, so 'Inspector Morse', the great John Thaw, in my very favourite of his many gripping roles, gets a vote of 5ft8.75!

I'd like to know how many girls have noticed his lovely long eye lashes? My Mum would have said they're wasted on a man, but I reckon that they were all part of what made him the charming and sometimes even vulnerable and sweet character that made women love him and want to look after him! I certainly did, and my Mum and I would have some truly comical 'arguments' as to whether he'd have preferred the younger woman (I was 31!) to the 'more worldly-wise' woman, ie - her! I know he was happily married to an equally delightful person, Sheila Hancock, and wasn't the type to have strayed, which made him all the more lovable in real life!
Rory said on 30/Jan/18
He looked under 5ft9 due to bad posture but I think standing tall he was 5ft8.75.
howhiami said on 8/Jan/18
Much as I love John Thaw i can't believe he was five feet nine. When he stands next to Kevin Whately in any Morse episode he looks a good two inches shorter at least. AS Patrick has beaten me too it ,i won't go further except to say i estimated him to be around five seven so i was pretty close.
Patrick said on 6/Jan/18
John was not very tall. He was 5ft 6 inches. He was a good 4 inches shorter than Kevin Whately who is 5ft 10. I was an extra on Morse.
Sandy Cowell said on 22/Mar/17
One of the most influential people in John's career, Colin Dexter, died this week. It was mentioned this morning before 'Inspector Morse' started and the episode was then dedicated to Colin.
I checked to see if he had a page, but he hasn't. I reckon he deserves one for the many absorbing hours he has afforded us!
He would always make a cameo appearance in each episode and I think it's fair to say that he was very small indeed. I wouldn't have thought he was taller than 5ft2.
He made John Thaw look tall and Kevin Whateley a positive giant!
Mr S said on 8/Mar/17
John Thaw was a brilliant actor, always entertaining and convincing in whatever role he played. As for his height, could look a weak 5'9" but also could often look 5'8.5" range.
Sandy Cowell said on 23/Feb/17
I saw an episode of 'Inspector Morse' the other day and John Thaw literally towered over one of the actresses! She must have had neck-strain looking up at him! He looked like a 6-footer next to her! He must have loved it!!!
Rory said on 22/Feb/17
Looked slightly taller than Kenneth Colley when stood tall in Morse, but I wouldn't have said a full inch taller. For me a peak John Thaw stood tall was 5'8.75 and possibly 5'8.5, I think the full 5'9 has always been on the optimistic end.
James said on 4/Nov/16
John Thaw looked 5'7".
Rory said on 26/Oct/16
I don't think he'd lost anything by the early Morse years, physically he looked very similar in stature to how he had done before in The Sweeney say. A guy who didn't rly stand with great posture and mostly looked 173-4, but every so often in scenes he'd stand tall and when he did could pull off 5'9.
James said on 20/Oct/16
Could he have already lost height by the time Morse started in 1986? He was only 44 then (although he looked about 55).
Editor Rob: I suppose at that age it is less likely, although some guys in their 40's can lose a bit.

If you have a tougher life, working hard at a physical type job, the odds would increase.

Some jobs which will cause long term joint problems and increase shrinkage risk by mid 40's would be Painter & Decorater, Plasterer, Carpet Fitter, Labourer, Postman
Sandy Cowell said on 14/Oct/16
John Thaw is one of the most scintillating actors I've had the privilege to enjoy watching. My favourite series of his was Inspector Morse, but everytbing he was in simply shone, be it a long running series or a one-off drama.

If I am to be utterly honest, 5ft9 is the most I would have said for John. Kevin Whately is, I believe, 5ft11, and there were 2 or 2.5 inches difference between the two of them at least. John Thaw remained a fine figure of a man until he died of cancer, way before his time.
He will always have a special little place in my heart.
Editor Rob: I was a fan of Thaw, always seemed a dependable actor, hard to believe 14 years since he passed. I could see how he looked under 5ft 9 at times...with kevin he did look probably 5ft 8.5 at most, but could have shrunk a bit by then.

With Peter Davison and David Suchet here, he could by anywhere in 5ft 8-9 range.
Rory said on 30/Aug/16
Thaw was a sloucher, I think his posture made him look around 5'8. But stood tall he'd measure not too far off 5'9. A weak 5'9 I'd say.
Larry said on 20/Sep/15
Watching Morse again he does look more like 5'7" than 5'8".
Larry said on 18/Sep/15
It must have been the smoking that aged him.

I wonder if Thaw and Waterman wore built up shoes in "The Sweeney"?
Rampage(-_-_-)Clover said on 12/Sep/15
He seemed much older than he really was.
A solid 175cm peak. Probably a bit less by the time of his passing.
Larry said on 8/Sep/15
Thaw was 44 when he began playing Morse. He was clearly never more than 5'8".
Rory said on 20/Jul/15
I think both Thaw and Waterman were 5'8.5 - 5'9 range, who edged who though and where exactly they were between that range is hard to tell..i think the full 5'9 is a stretch for thaws peak though. 174 might be closer.
Anon said on 15/Feb/15
Wasn't he 51 then?

Yes, he was born in Jan 1942. Rob, can you add The Sweeney and Kavanagh QC to his credits, thanks.
John said on 28/Sep/14
Wasn't he 51 then?
Robert said on 4/Jan/14
He looked more like 5'7" in "Morse".
Get Shorty said on 14/Oct/13
I met John when I served him a drink at a charity event. I'm five-ten and he seemed a good bit shorter. I'd say five-seven/eight max at the time.
Tigon Man said on 4/Sep/13
John Thaw at a stretch was 5'8, he looked exactly the same height as Dennis Waterman in The Sweeney.
Andy M said on 31/Aug/11
No, he was not 5'9" at any stage. He always appeared an even 5'8" definitely
beatlefan said on 30/Jan/09
A sadly missed actor from British television. I always thought he was a tad shorter than this having seen all the 'Inspector Morse' episodes, especially in the later ones but that all depends on how tall Kevin Whatley his co-star is. If Whatley is six feet or therabouts then this height is very accurate.
Chris said on 24/Jun/07
I always thought this guy was 6' plus. He had a kind of presence and authority like Paul Gleason. Goes to show that height isn't that important in determining image, I guess.
CarbonM5 said on 25/May/07
Spot on. He filmed Kavanagh QC outside my office about 7 years ago.

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