Alfred Edward Matthews OBE, known as A. E. Matthews, was an English actor who played numerous character roles on the stage and in film for eight decades, and who became known for his acting longevity. Already middle-aged when silent films began production, he enjoyed increasing renown from World War II onwards as one of the British cinema's most famous crotchety, and sometimes rascally, old men.
A prominent stage actor by his mid-40s, Matthews was among several theatre figures who then began a film career during the silent era with the British Actors Film Company, a production company that operated between 1916 and 1923.
In his 89th year, Matthews made national headlines by sitting for several days and nights on the pavement outside his beautiful Georgian home near London, his purpose being to prevent the council from installing a new streetlight, the design of which he felt was totally out of keeping with the neighbourhood and which badly needed improvement. Spike Milligan penned an episode of the Goon Show entitled "The Evils of Bushey Spon" based on the incident. The programme, first broadcast on 17 March 1958, included a guest appearance by Matthews himself at the end of the episode, and this part of the show was ad-libbed after he departed from the script.