Chinnery trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, after which he took on roles in the West End, including understudying Paul Scofield in Ring Round The Moon and alongsider Margeret Rutherford in Time Remembered. After some five years he then entered repertory for two years at The Old Vic, which included him playing "Macbeth" opposite Beatrix Lehmann as "Lady Macbeth".
He appeared in a number of films in small roles, such as Constable Christian in The Plague of the Zombies (whose cast included Jacqueline Pearce), and in All The Way Up (playing chauffeur to Bill Fraser's Makepiece). On television, he played roles in series like Hancock's Half Hour, Dixon of Dock Green, Z-Cars, Softly, Softly, and also appeared fantasy series like The Avengers, The Saint and The Prisoner.
His first appearance in Doctor Who was in 1965 as Albert C Richardson, the ill-fated first mate of the Mary Celeste in The Chase; however, he took on a much more prominent role ten years later as Kaled scientist Gharman in 1975's Genesis of the Daleks. He was to return to the series for a third time in 1984's The Twin Dilemma as Professor Sylvest, the hard-pressed father of the eponymous twins.
In later life, Chinnery devoted his time to his other passion, painting, based at his home in Headley Down that overlooked the green fields of East Hampshire, Southern England.
He was married to South African newscaster Pat Kerr.
TributesFormer actor and agent Robert Gray, announcing the news via Twitter, said "Very sad to have just been informed that the very fine actor Dennis Chinnery has died. He had a long career including several Dr Who serials.« I worked with Dennis Chinnery several times as an actor and was his last agent.« A gent with a good naughty sense of humour.«"
The Sixth Doctor Colin Baker - who worked with him in The Twin Dilemma - said: "Oh dear - sad news about Dennis Chinnery. Nice chap and good actor.«". Frequent DVD contributor Toby Hadoke said: "a fine, dignified actor who tried his best to stop the Genesis Of The Daleks."« Dalek operator Nicholas Pegg said: "Oh dear. We're losing far too many good people. Just heard the sad news about Dennis Chinnery, a fine actor who livened up many a fine show.«"