He was ambushed by greatness. Otherwise he'd have been a character actor, moving from one forgettable TV series to the next. But this one role- he wasn't sure he wanted it at first- because he took himself seriously and the ears were silly- turned out to be a life's work. There were other things he did- including a private life- but who'd have noticed the poems and the photographs if it hadn't been for the role? He wrote two autobiographies, the first trying to distance himself from the role and the other shrugging and going, "Oh, all right then".