John Ronald Leon
16 August 1934
(m. 1961; div. 1972)
Standing was born in London, the son of Kay Hammond (née Dorothy Katherine Standing), an actress, and Sir Ronald George Leon, 3rd Baronet; a stockbroker descended from Sir Herbert Leon, the builder of Bletchley Park. He has a younger brother, Timothy, and a paternal half-sister, Anne. He was educated at Millfield and Eton.
He succeeded his father as the 4th baronet in 1964, but does not use the title. The Leon family were, until 1937, owners of Bletchley Park, the country house in Buckinghamshire used in the Second World War as a code-breaking centre.
He is from a distinguished acting family on his mother's side, including his great-grandfather Herbert Standing (1846–1923) and his grandfather, Sir Guy Standing (1873–1937). His stepfather was actor Sir John Clements. He was educated at Eton College and Millfield School, Somerset, later serving in the King's Royal Rifle Corps as a second lieutenant, before going to study at the Byam Shaw School of Art in London.
He began his career in Peter Brook's 1955 production of Titus Andronicus starring Laurence Olivier and wife Vivien Leigh and later played leading parts in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, Christopher Fry's Ring Round the Moon, A Sense of Detachment by John Osborne, and Noël Coward's Private Lives, with Maggie Smith. He was nominated for an Olivier award (1979) for Close of Play at the National Theatre. He made his film debut in The Wild and the Willing (1962), going on to appear in King Rat (1965), Walk, Don't Run (1966), The Psychopath (1966), The Eagle Has Landed (1976), The Elephant Man (1980), Nightflyers (1987), Mrs Dalloway (1997) and A Good Woman (2004).
One of his first major television roles was as Sidney Godolphin in the BBC twelve-part serial, The First Churchills (1969). Other television appearances include Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1979); the ITV sitcom The Other 'Arf (1980–84), with Lorraine Chase; The Choir (1995) and King Solomon's Mines (2004). In the United States, he made guest appearances in numerous weekly programmes including L.A. Law, Civil Wars and Murder, She Wrote, and co-starred briefly with Robert Wagner and Samantha Smith in the action series Lime Street (1985).
He appeared in the horror film Nightflyers (1987) adapted from a short story by George R. R. Martin. In 2002, he had a speaking credit on Lost Horizons, the second studio album from the British electronic duo Lemon Jelly. On track 1, "Elements", he lists the basic 'elements' that make up the world: ash, metal, water, wood, fire and sky. On track 3, "Ramblin' Man", Standing reads a long list of various locations around the world, ranging from small Sussex villages to major world capitals.
He married the actress Jill Melford in 1961; the couple had a son Alexander in 1965 (who is the heir apparent), but divorced in 1972.
In 1984, he married Sarah Kate Forbes, the daughter of film director Bryan Forbes and actress Nanette Newman, and the sister of television presenter Emma Forbes. They have three children: India (b. 1985), Archie (b. 1986), and Octavia (b.1989).
His half-sister Anne Leon was married to actor Michael Gough from 1950 to 1964.
- A Pair of Briefs (1962) – Hubert Shannon
- The Wild and the Willing (1962) – Arthur
- The Iron Maiden (1962) – Humphrey Gore-Brown
- Hot Enough for June (1964) – Men's Room Attendant (uncredited)
- King Rat (1965) – Daven
- The Psychopath (1966) – Mark Von Sturm
- Walk, Don't Run (1966) – Julius D. Haversack
- Torture Garden (1967) – Leo Winston (segment 3 "Mr. Steinway")
- A Touch of Love (1969) – Roger Henderson
- All the Right Noises (1971) – Nigel
- Zee and Co. (1972) – Gordon
- Au Pair Girls (1972) – Buster
- Rogue Male (1976) – Major Quive-Smith
- The Eagle Has Landed (1976) – Father Philip Verecker
- Space: 1999, The Mark of Archanon (1976) – Pasc
- The Legacy (1978) – Jason Mountolive
- The Class of Miss MacMichael (1978) – Charles Fairbrother
- The Sea Wolves (1980) – Finley
- The Elephant Man (1980) – Fox
- Privates on Parade (1983) – Captain Sholto Savory
- To Catch a King (1984, TV Movie) – Duke of Windsor
- The Young Visiters (1984) – Prince of Wales
- Invitation to the Wedding (1985) – Earl Harry
- Nightflyers (1987) – Michael D'Brannin
- Chaplin (1992) – Butler
- Mrs Dalloway (1997) – Richard Dalloway
- The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997) – Gilbert Embleton
- 8½ Women (1999) – Philip Emmenthal
- Rogue Trader (1999) – Peter Baring
- Mad Cows (1999) – Politician
- Pandaemonium (2000) – Rev. Holland
- The Calling (2000) – Jack Plummer
- Queen's Messenger (2001) – Foreign Secretary
- Witness to a Kill (2001) – Foreign Secretary
- Shoreditch (2003) – Jenson Thackery
- Jack Brown and the Curse of the Crown (2004) – Sheldon Gotti
- A Good Woman (2004) – Dumby
- Animal (2005) – Dean Frydman
- V for Vendetta (2006) – Lilliman
- Lassie (2005) – French
- Scoop (2006) – Garden Party Guests
- Rabbit Fever (2006) – Ally's dad
- Outlaw (2007) – Captain Mardell
- I Want Candy (2007) – Michael de Vere
- Before the Rains (2007) – Charles Humphries
- Cheerful Weather for the Wedding (2012) – Horace Spigott
- Queen and Country (2014) – Grandfather George
- The Hippopotamus (2017) – Podmore
- The Happy Prince (2018) – Dr. Tucker
- The Avengers (1963) – East
- The Saint (1963) – Gendarme
- Armchair Theatre (1964) – Siaru
- Danger Man (1965) – James
- The First Churchills (1969) – Sidney Godolphin
- Space: 1999 (1976) – Pasc
- Van der Valk (1977) – Ehrlich
- Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979, TV Mini-Series) – Sam Collins
- Pygmalion (1983, TV Movie) – Col. Pickering
- Murder, She Wrote (1987–1990) – Chief Daniel Trent / Arthur Constable
- The Endless Game (1989) – Belfrage
- L.A. Law (1990) – Nigel Morris
- The Old Boy Network (1992) – Peter Duckham
- Riders (1993, TV Movie) – Malise Gordon
- Gulliver's Travels (1996, TV Mini-Series) – Admiral Bolgolam
- A Dance to the Music of Time (1997, TV Mini-Series) – Nicholas Jenkins
- NYPD Blue (2000) – Jimmy Cheatham
- Midsomer Murders (2004) - Charles Rust - “Bad Tidings”
- The Line of Beauty (2006) – Lord Kessler
- Midsomer Murders (2009) - Will Tunstall - “The Dogleg Murders”
- Game of Thrones (2011) (Episode: "Winter Is Coming") – Jon Arryn (corpse)
- Agatha Christie’s Poirot (2013) - Colonel Toby Luttrell - “Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case”
- The Crown (2016) – Imbert-Terry
- Profile, filmreference.com; accessed 14 June 2015.
- Sebag-Montefiore, Hugh (2017) . Enigma: The Battle for the Code. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. xvi. ISBN 978-1-4746-0832-9.
- Profile, wwword.com; accessed 14 June 2015.
- Vincent, Alice (27 January 2016). "Game of Thrones cut a 'lunatic' Jon Arryn death scene from pilot". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
- Burke's Peerage. 1959.