Donald Pleasence

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Donald Pleasence

OBE
Donald Pleasence Allan Warren edit.jpg
Pleasence in London, 1973. Portrait by Allan Warren
Born
Donald Henry Pleasence

(1919-10-05)5 October 1919
Died2 February 1995(1995-02-02) (aged 75)
Education Ecclesfield School
OccupationActor
Years active1946–1995
Spouse(s)
Miriam Raymond
(m. 19411958)

Josephine Crombie
(m. 19591970)

Meira Shore
(m. 19701988)

Linda J. Kentwood
(m. 1988)
Children5, including Angela Pleasence

Donald Henry Pleasence OBE ( /ˈplɛzəns/ ; [1] 5 October 1919 – 2 February 1995) [2] was an English actor. His best known film roles include psychiatrist Dr. Samuel Loomis in Halloween (1978) and four of its sequels, the villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice (1967), RAF Flight Lieutenant Colin Blythe in The Great Escape (1963), SEN 5241 in THX 1138 (1971), Clarence "Doc" Tydon in Wake in Fright (1971), and the President of the United States in Escape from New York (1981).

A psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in psychiatry, the branch of medicine devoted to the diagnosis, prevention, study, and treatment of mental disorders. Psychiatrists are medical doctors, unlike psychologists, and must evaluate patients to determine whether their symptoms are the result of a physical illness, a combination of physical and mental ailments, or strictly psychiatric. A psychiatrist usually works as the clinical leader of the multi-disciplinary team, which may comprise psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists and nursing staff. Psychiatrists have broad training in a bio-psycho-social approach to assessment and management of mental illness.

Samuel Loomis fictional character in the Halloween franchise

Dr. Samuel "Sam" Loomis is a fictional character in the Halloween franchise. One of the two main protagonists of the overall series, he appears in seven of the eleven Halloween films, first appearing in John Carpenter's original 1978 film. Donald Pleasence plays the character in five films and Malcolm McDowell portrays him in the 2007 reimagining, Halloween and its sequel Halloween II. Throughout the Halloween franchise, he is depicted as the archenemy to the series' central character and primary antagonist, Michael Myers.

<i>Halloween</i> (1978 film) 1978 film by John Carpenter

Halloween is a 1978 American independent slasher film directed and scored by John Carpenter, co-written with producer Debra Hill, and starring Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis in her film debut. The film tells the story of serial killer Michael Myers as he stalks and kills teenage babysitters on Halloween night, fifteen years after he murdered his teenage sister, Judith Myers. After escaping a sanitarium, he returns home to the sleepy town of Haddonfield, Illinois while being pursued by his psychiatrist Samuel Loomis. Michael stalks high school student Laurie Strode and her friends as they babysit and carries out a horrific massacre. Dr. Loomis desperately seeks to find his patient to stop his rampage, before the carnage intensifies.

Contents

Early life

Pleasence was born in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, England, the son of Alice (née Armitage) and Thomas Stanley Pleasence, a railway stationmaster. [3] He was brought up as a strict Methodist in the small village of Grimoldby, Lincolnshire. [4] He received his formal education at Crosby Junior School, Scunthorpe [5] and Ecclesfield Grammar School, in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. After working as the Clerk-in-Charge at Swinton railway station in South Yorkshire, [6] he decided that he wanted to be a professional actor, taking up a placement with the Jersey Repertory Company in 1939. [4]

Worksop town in Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

Worksop is the largest town in the Bassetlaw district of Nottinghamshire, England. Worksop lies on the River Ryton, and is located at the northern edge of Sherwood Forest. Worksop is located 19 miles (31 km) east-south-east of Sheffield, with a population of 41,820.It lies close to Nottinghamshire’s borders with South Yorkshire, and Derbyshire.

Nottinghamshire County of England

Nottinghamshire is a county in the East Midlands region of England, bordering South Yorkshire to the north-west, Lincolnshire to the east, Leicestershire to the south, and Derbyshire to the west. The traditional county town is Nottingham, though the county council is based at County Hall in West Bridgford in the borough of Rushcliffe, at a site facing Nottingham over the River Trent.

Grimoldby village in the United Kingdom

Grimoldby is a village and civil parish in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. It is situated 4 miles (6 km) east from Louth.

Second World War

In December 1939, Pleasence initially refused conscription into the British Armed Forces, registering as a conscientious objector, but changed his stance in autumn 1940, after the attacks upon London by the Luftwaffe, and volunteered with the Royal Air Force. [7] He served as aircraft wireless-operator with No. 166 Squadron in Bomber Command, with which he flew almost sixty raids against the Axis over occupied Europe. On 31 August 1944, Lancaster NE112, in which he was a crew member, was shot down during an attack upon Agenville, [8] [9] and he was captured and imprisoned in the German prisoner-of-war camp Stalag Luft I, where he was treated well reciprocally (like the British treated captured Luftwaffe pilots) in similar prisoner-of-war camps. Here, Pleasence produced and acted in many plays for the entertainment of his fellow captives.

A conscientious objector is an "individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service" on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience, or religion.

<i>Luftwaffe</i> Aerial warfare branch of the German military forces during World War II

The Luftwaffe was the aerial warfare branch of the combined German Wehrmacht military forces during World War II. Germany's military air arms during World War I, the Luftstreitkräfte of the Army and the Marine-Fliegerabteilung of the Navy had been disbanded in May 1920 as a result of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles which stated that Germany was forbidden to have any air force.

Royal Air Force Aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces

The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom's aerial warfare force. Formed towards the end of the First World War on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world. Following victory over the Central Powers in 1918 the RAF emerged as, at the time, the largest air force in the world. Since its formation, the RAF has taken a significant role in British military history. In particular, it played a large part in the Second World War where it fought its most famous campaign, the Battle of Britain.

After the war and his release, he was discharged from the R.A.F. in 1946.

Acting career

Returning to acting after the war, Pleasence resumed working in repertory theatre companies in Birmingham and Bristol. [10] In the 1950s, Pleasence's stage work included performing as Willie Mossop in a 1952 production of Hobson's Choice at the Arts Theatre, London and as Dauphin in Jean Anouilh's The Lark (1956). [10] In 1960, Pleasence gained excellent notices as the tramp in Harold Pinter's The Caretaker at the Arts Theatre, a role he would again play in a 1990 revival. [10] Other stage work in the 1960s included Anouilh's Poor Bitos (1967) and Robert Shaw's The Man in the Glass Booth (1967), for which he won the London Variety Award for Stage Actor of the Year in 1968. [10] Pleasence's later stage work included performing in a double bill of Pinter plays, The Basement and Tea Party , at the Duchess Theatre in 1970. [10]

Birmingham Major city in the English Midlands, 2nd highest population of UK cities

Birmingham is a major city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands, England. It is the second-most populous city in the United Kingdom and the most populous city in the English Midlands. It is also the most populous metropolitan district in the United Kingdom, with an estimated 1,137,123 inhabitants, and is considered the social, cultural, financial, and commercial centre of the Midlands. It is situated within the larger West Midlands conurbation, which is the third most populated urban area in the United Kingdom, with a population of 2,897,303 in 2017. The wider Birmingham metropolitan area is the second largest in the United Kingdom with a population of over 4.3 million. It is frequently referred to as both England and the United Kingdom's "second city".

Bristol City and county in England

Bristol is a city and county in South West England with a population of 463,400. The wider district has the 10th-largest population in England. The urban area population of 724,000 is the 8th-largest in the UK. The city borders North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, with the cities of Bath and Gloucester to the south-east and north-east, respectively. South Wales lies across the Severn estuary.

Hobson's Choice is a play by Harold Brighouse, the title taken from the popular expression, Hobson's choice—meaning no choice at all.

Television

Pleasence made his television debut in I Want to Be a Doctor (1946). [10] He received positive critical attention for his role as Syme in the BBC version of Nineteen Eighty-Four (1954) from the novel by George Orwell. [10] The adaptation was by Nigel Kneale and featured Peter Cushing in the lead role of Winston Smith.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters are at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London, and it is the world's oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees. It employs over 20,950 staff in total, 16,672 of whom are in public sector broadcasting. The total number of staff is 35,402 when part-time, flexible, and fixed-contract staff are included.

<i>Nineteen Eighty-Four</i> dystopian novel written by George Orwell

Nineteen Eighty-Four, often published as 1984, is a dystopian novel by English writer George Orwell published in June 1949, whose themes centre on the risks of government overreach, totalitarianism and repressive regimentation of all persons and behaviours within society. The novel is set in an imagined future, the year 1984, when much of the world has fallen victim to perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, historical negationism and propaganda.

George Orwell English author and journalist

Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist and essayist, journalist and critic, whose work is characterised by lucid prose, awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, and outspoken support of democratic socialism.

Pleasence played Prince John in several episodes of the ITV series The Adventures of Robin Hood (1956–1958). He appeared twice with Patrick McGoohan in the British spy series, Danger Man , in episodes "Position of Trust" (1960) and "Find and Return" (1961). Pleasence's first appearance in America was in an episode of The Twilight Zone , playing an aging teacher at a boys' school in the episode "The Changing of the Guard" (1962). In 1963, he appeared in an episode of The Outer Limits entitled "The Man With the Power". In 1966, he also guest starred in an episode of The Fugitive entitled "With Strings Attached"

John, King of England 13th-century King of England and grantor of Magna Carta

John was King of England from 1199 until his death in 1216. He lost the Duchy of Normandy and most of his other French lands to King Philip II of France, resulting in the collapse of the Angevin Empire and contributing to the subsequent growth in power of the French Capetian dynasty during the 13th century. The baronial revolt at the end of John's reign led to the sealing of Magna Carta, a document sometimes considered an early step in the evolution of the constitution of the United Kingdom.

ITV (TV network) TV network in the United Kingdom

ITV is a British free-to-air television network with its headquarters in London. It was launched in 1955 as Independent Television, under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority (ITA), to provide competition to BBC Television which had been established in 1932. ITV is the oldest commercial network in the UK. Since the passing of the Broadcasting Act 1990, its legal name has been Channel 3, to distinguish it from the other analogue channels at the time, namely BBC 1, BBC 2 and Channel 4. In part, the number 3 was assigned because television sets would usually be tuned so that the regional ITV station would be on the third button, with the other stations being allocated to the number within their name.

<i>The Adventures of Robin Hood</i> (TV series) British television series

The Adventures of Robin Hood is a British television series comprising 143 half-hour, black and white episodes broadcast weekly between 1955 and 1959 on ITV. It starred Richard Greene as the outlaw Robin Hood, and Alan Wheatley as his nemesis, the Sheriff of Nottingham. The show followed the legendary character Robin Hood and his band of merry men in Sherwood Forest and the surrounding vicinity. While some episodes dramatised the traditional Robin Hood tales, most were original dramas created by the show's writers and producers.

In 1973, Pleasence played a sympathetic murderer in an episode of Columbo entitled "Any Old Port in a Storm". Also that year, he played a supporting role in David Winters' musical television adaptation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. [11] [12]

He also portrayed a murderer captured by Mrs. Columbo in "Murder Is a Parlor Game" (1979). In 1978, he played a scout, Sam Purchas in an adaptation of James A. Michener's Centennial . Pleasence starred as the Reverend Septimus Harding in the BBC's TV series The Barchester Chronicles (1982). In this series, his daughter Angela Pleasence played his onscreen daughter Susan.

He hosted the 1981 Halloween episode of Saturday Night Live with music guest Fear.

In 1986, Pleasence joined Ronald Lacey and Polly Jo Pleasence for the television thriller Into the Darkness.

Film

Donald Pleasence in the trailer for the film Eye of the Devil (1966). Donald Pleasence in Eye of the Devil trailer 1.jpg
Donald Pleasence in the trailer for the film Eye of the Devil (1966).

Pleasence made his big-screen debut with The Beachcomber (1954). Some notable early roles include Parsons in 1984 (1956), and minor roles opposite Alec Guinness in Barnacle Bill (1957) and Dirk Bogarde in The Wind Cannot Read (1958). In Tony Richardson's film of Look Back in Anger (1959), he plays a vindictive market inspector opposite Richard Burton. In the same year, Pleasence starred in the horror films Circus of Horrors directed by Sidney Hayers, playing the role of Vanet, the owner of a circus, and The Flesh and the Fiends as the real-life murderer William Hare, alongside Peter Cushing, George Rose and Billie Whitelaw. [13]

Endowed with a bald head, a penetrating stare, and an intense voice, usually quiet but capable of a piercing scream, he specialised in portraying insane, fanatical, or evil characters, including the title role in Dr Crippen (1962), the double agent Dr Michaels in the science-fiction film Fantastic Voyage (1966), the white trader who sells guns to the Cheyenne Indians in the revisionist western Soldier Blue (1970), the mad Doctor in the Bud SpencerTerence Hill film Watch Out, We're Mad! (1974), Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler in The Eagle Has Landed (1976), and the Bond arch-villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld in You Only Live Twice (1967), the first film in which Blofeld's face is clearly seen. His interpretation of the character has become predominant in popular culture considering the popularity of the comic villain, Dr. Evil in the successful Austin Powers film series, which primarily parodies it. In the crime drama Hell is a City (1960), shot in Manchester, he starred opposite Stanley Baker, whilst he was memorably cast in the horror comedy What a Carve Up! (1961) as the “horrible-looking zombie” solicitor opposite Shirley Eaton, Sid James, Kenneth Connor and Dennis Price.

He appeared as the mild-mannered and good-natured POW forger Colin Blythe in the film The Great Escape (1963), who discovers that he is slowly going blind, but nonetheless participates in the mass break-out, only to be shot down by German soldiers because he is unable to see them. In The Night of the Generals (1967), he played another uncharacteristically sympathetic role, this time as an old-school German general involved in a plot to kill Adolf Hitler. In 1971, he returned to the realm of the deranged, delivering a tour de force performance in the role of an alcoholic Australian doctor in Ted Kotcheff's nightmarish outback drama Wake in Fright .

Pleasence played Lucifer in the religious epic The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965). His character taking on many dark, shadowy human disguises throughout the film was unprecedented in breathing life into the Luke 4:13 phrase "... he left Him until an opportune time ..." He was one of many stars who were given cameos throughout the film.

He also acted in Roman Polanski's Cul-de-sac (1966), in which he portrayed the love-sodden husband of a much younger French wife (Françoise Dorléac). He ventured successfully into American cowboy territory, playing a sadistic self-styled preacher who goes after stoic Charlton Heston in the Western Will Penny (1968).

He portrayed SEN 5241 in THX 1138 (1971), opposite Robert Duvall which was the directorial debut of George Lucas. A few years later, he portrayed antagonist Lucas Deranian, in Walt Disney's Escape to Witch Mountain (1975) and, in Telefon (1977), Nicolai Dalchimsky, the Russian seeking to start a war between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Pleasence appeared as Dr. Samuel Loomis in John Carpenter's horror film Halloween (1978). [14] The film was a major success and was considered the highest grossing independent film of its time, earning accolades as a classic horror film. He also played the teacher, Kantorek in All Quiet on the Western Front (1979), Dr. Kobras in The Pumaman (1980) and the held-hostage President of the United States in Escape from New York (1981). The rather sinister accent which Pleasence employed in this and other films may be credited to the elocution lessons he had as a child. He reprised his Dr. Sam Loomis role in Halloween II (1981), Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988), Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) and Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995).

Pleasence admired Sir Laurence Olivier, [15] with whom he worked on-stage in the 1950s, and later on the film version of Dracula (1979). Two years earlier, Pleasence did an amusingly broad impersonation of Olivier in the guise of a horror-film actor called "Valentine De'ath" in the film The Uncanny (1977). According to the film critic Kim Newman on a DVD commentary for Halloween II, the reason for Pleasence’s lengthy filmography was that he never turned down any role that was offered.

Spoken records and voice-overs

During the early 1960s, Pleasence recorded several children's-story records on the Atlas Record label. These were marketed as the Talespinners series in the United Kingdom. They were also released in the United States as Tale Spinners for Children by United Artists. The stories included Don Quixote and the Brave Little Tailor .

Pleasence provided the voice-over for the British public information film, The Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water (1973). The film, intended to warn children of the dangers of playing near water, attained notoriety for allegedly giving children nightmares. [16]

Books

Pleasence was the author of the children's book Scouse the Mouse (1977) (London: New English Library), which was animated by Canadian animator/film director Gerald Potterton (a friend of the actor, who directed him in the Canadian film The Rainbow Boys (1973), retitled The Rainbow Gang for VHS release in the United States) and also adapted into a children's recording (Polydor Records, 1977) with Ringo Starr voicing the book's title character, Scouse the Mouse.

In his book British Film Character Actors (1982), Terence Pettigrew describes Pleasence as "a potent combination of eyes and voice. The eyes are mournful but they can also be sinister or seedy or just plain nutty. He has the kind of piercing stare which lifts enamel off saucepans."

Awards

Pleasence was nominated four times for the Tony Award for best performance by a leading actor in a Broadway play: in 1962 for Harold Pinter's The Caretaker , in 1965 for Jean Anouilh's Poor Bitos, in 1969 for Robert Shaw's The Man in the Glass Booth , and in 1972 for Simon Gray's Wise Child .

Pleasence was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for his services to the acting profession by Queen Elizabeth II in 1994.

Personal life

Pleasence married four times and had five daughters from his first three marriages. He had Angela and Jean with Miriam Raymond (m. 1941–1958); Lucy and Polly with Josephine Martin Crombie (m. 1959–1970); and Miranda with Meira Shore (m. 1970–1988). His last marriage was to Linda Kentwood (m. 1988–1995; his death)

Death

On 2 February 1995, Pleasence died at age 75 in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France, from complications of heart failure following heart valve replacement surgery. [17] His body was cremated.

Legacy

The 1995 film Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers was dedicated to Donald Pleasence. The 1998 film Halloween H20: 20 Years Later also features a dedication to Pleasence in the end credits, with sound-alike voice actor Tom Kane providing a voice-over for Loomis in the film. In the 2018 film, Halloween, sound-alike comedian Colin Mahan voiced Loomis. [18] [19]

Dr. Evil, the character played by Mike Myers in the Austin Powers comedy films (1997–2002), and Doctor Claw from Inspector Gadget are parodies of Pleasence's performance as Blofeld in You Only Live Twice .

Filmography

Film

YearTitleRoleNotes
1954 The Beachcomber Tromp
1955 Orders Are Orders Corporal MartinCredited as Donald Plesance
1955 Value for Money Limpy
1956 1984 R. Parsons
1956 The Black Tent Ali
1957 The Man in the Sky Crabtree(titled Decision Against Time in the U.S.)
1957 Manuela Evans
1957 Barnacle Bill Cashier(titled All at Sea in the U.S.)
1958 A Tale of Two Cities John Barsad
1958 Heart of a Child Spiel
1958 The Wind Cannot Read Doctor
1958 The Man Inside Organ-grinder
1958 The Two-Headed Spy General Hardt
1959 Look Back in Anger Hurst
1959 Killers of Kilimanjaro Captain
1960 The Shakedown Jessel Brown
1960 The Flesh and the Fiends William Hare
1959 The Battle of the Sexes Irwin Hoffman
1960 Circus of Horrors Vanet
1960 Hell Is a City Gus Hawkins
1960 Sons and Lovers Pappleworth
1960 The Big Day Victor Partridge
1960 Suspect Parsons, alias Bill Brown
1960 The Hands of Orlac Graham Coates
1961 No Love for Johnnie Roger Renfrew
1961 The Wind of Change 'Pop' Marley
1961 A Story of David Nabal
1961 Spare the Rod Mr. Jenkins
1961 What a Carve Up! Everett Sloane
1962 The Inspector Sergeant Wolters
1963 The Caretaker Mac Davies / Bernard Jenkins
1963 The Great Escape RAF Flt. Lt. Colin Blythe, "The Forger"
1963 Dr. Crippen Dr. Crippen
1965 The Greatest Story Ever Told The Dark Hermit, Satan
1965 The Hallelujah Trail Oracle Jones
1966 Cul-de-sac George
1966 Eye of the Devil Pere Dominic
1966 Fantastic Voyage Dr. Michaels
1967 The Night of the Generals General Kahlenberge
1967 You Only Live Twice Ernst Stavro Blofeld
1967 Matchless Gregori Andreanu
1968 Will Penny Preacher Quint
1968 The Other People Clive
1968Creature of ComfortJames Thorne
1969 Arthur? Arthur! Arthur Brownjohn
1969 The Madwoman of Chaillot The Prospector
1970 Soldier Blue Isaac Q. Cumber
1971 THX 1138 SEN 5241
1971 Wake in Fright Doc Tydon
1972 Death Line Inspector Calhoun
1972 The Jerusalem File Major Samuels
1972 The Pied Piper The Baron
1972 Henry VIII and His Six Wives Thomas Cromwell
1972 Innocent Bystanders Loomis
1972 Wedding in White Jim Dougall
1973 Kidnapped Ebenezer Balfour
1973The Rainbow BoysRalph Logan
1973 Malachi's Cove Malachi
1973 Tales That Witness Madness Professor Tremayne
1973 Lonely Water The Spirit (voice)Short film
1974 From Beyond the Grave Jim Underwood(Segment: "An Act of Kindness")
1974 Watch Out, We're Mad! The Doctor
1974 The Black Windmill Cedric Harper
1974House of the DamnedMartin ZayasOriginal title: La loba y la Paloma
1974 The Mutations Professor Nolter
1974 Barry McKenzie Holds His Own Count Plasma
1975 Escape to Witch Mountain Lucas Deranian
1975 I Don't Want to Be Born Dr. FinchAlternative title: The Devil Within Her
1975 Journey into Fear Kuvelti
1975 Hearts of the West A.J. NeitzAlternative title: Hollywood Cowboy
1976 Trial by Combat Sir Giles MarleyAlternative title: Dirty Knights' Work
1976 Land of the Minotaur Father RocheAlternative title: The Devil's Men
1976 Goldenrod John Tyler Jones
1976 The Passover Plot Pontius Pilate
1976 The Last Tycoon Boxley
1976 The Eagle Has Landed Heinrich Himmler
1977 The Uncanny Valentine De'athSegment: "Hollywood 1936"
1977 Oh, God! Dr. Harmon
1977 Telefon Nikolai Dalchimsky
1978 Blood Relatives James Doniac
1978 Tomorrow Never Comes Dr. Todd
1978 Night Creature Axel MacGregorAlternative title: Out of the Darkness
1978 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band B.D. Hoffler/B.D. Brockhurst
1978 Power Play Blair
1978 L'Ordre et la sécurité du monde RothkoAlternative title: Last In, First Out
1978 Halloween Dr. Samuel Loomis
1979 Jigsaw (L'Homme en colère)Albert Rumpelmayer
1979 Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff Dr. Steiner
1979 Dracula Dr. Jack Seward
1979 All Quiet on the Western Front Kantorek
1979 Jaguar Lives! General Villanova
1980 Halloween: Extended Edition Dr. Sam LoomisAppeared in additional footage (filmed during the production of Halloween II) not included in the original film but featured in the NBC television broadcast.
1980 The Pumaman Dr. Kobras
1980 The Monster Club Pickering
1981 Escape from New York Mr. President
1981 Halloween II Dr. Samuel Loomis
1981 Race for the Yankee Zephyr Gilbert "Gibbie" Carson
1982 Alone in the Dark Dr. Leo Bain
1983To Kill a StrangerColonel Kostik
1983 Warrior of the Lost World Prossor
1983 The Devonsville Terror Dr. Warley
1984 Frankenstein's Great Aunt Tillie Baron Victor Frankenstein
1984 Where Is Parsifal? Mackintosh
1984 The Ambassador Eretz
1984 A Breed Apart J.P. Whittier
1984 Terror in the Aisles Himself (host)
1985 Phenomena John McGregor
1985Treasure of the AmazonKlaus von Blantz
1985 Nothing Underneath Inspector Danesi
1986 Operation Nam Father LenoirAlternative title: Cobra Mission
1987Warrior QueenClodius
1987 Specters Professor Lasky
1987Double TargetSenator Blaster
1987 Ground Zero Prosper Gaffney
1987 Django 2 Gunn
1987 Prince of Darkness Priest
1987To Kill a StrangerColonel Kostik
1987Animali metropolitaniProfessor Livingstone
1988 Phantom of Death Inspector Datti
1988Der CommanderHenry Carlson
1988 Last Platoon Colonel B. Abrams
1988 Vampire in Venice Don Alvise
1988 Hanna's War Captain Thomas Rosza
1988 Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers Dr. Samuel Loomis
1989The House of UsherWalter Usher
1989 Ten Little Indians Judge Lawrence Wargrave
1989 Paganini Horror Mr. Pickett
1989 River of Death Heinrich Spaatz
1989 Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers Dr. Samuel Loomis
1989 Casablanca Express Colonel Bats
1990 Buried Alive Dr. Schaeffer
1990American risciòReverend Mortom
1991L'avvoltoio può attendereAaron Shalik
1991MiliardiRipa
1991 Shadows and Fog Doctor
1992 Dien Bien Phu Howard Simpson
1993 The Thief and the Cobbler Phido the VultureVoice
1993 The Big Freeze Soup slurper
1993 The Hour of the Pig Pincheon
1995 Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers Dr. Samuel LoomisThe film was dedicated to his memory.
1995Safe HavenThe Sailor
1996Fatal FramesProfessor Robertson(final film role)

Television

YearTitleRoleNotes
1952The DybbukSecond batlonTelevision film
1952–1959 Sunday Night Theatre Various roles6 episodes
1954MontserratJuan AlvarezTelevision film
1954 The Face of Love AlexTelevision film
1955 The Grove Family Monsieur PaulEpisode: "Parlez-Vous Français?"
1956 The Adventures of Robin Hood Prince John 4 episodes
1956–1959 ITV Playhouse Various roles6 episodes
1957Assignment Foreign LegionCommandantEpisode: "The Coward"
1957–1967 Armchair Theatre Various roles8 episodes
1958I SpyMr. FruteTelevision film
1958GraniteA Nameless ManTelevision film
1959The Killing StonesJakob KleiberEpisode: "The Carefulness of Kleiber"
1959The ScarfDetective Inspector Harry Yates6 episodes
1959 The Adventures of William Tell The SpiderEpisode: "The Spider"
1959The TraitorGrantley CayporTelevision film
1960 The Four Just Men Paul KosterEpisode: "The Survivor"
1960 Interpol Calling Karl HaussmanEpisode: "The Absent Assassin"
1960RendezvousPotterEpisode: "The Dodo"
1960, 1961 Danger Man Nikolides / Captain Aldrich2 episodes
1960–1965 Armchair Mystery Theatre Host / AmbroseActed in episode: "Ambrose"
1961 Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond Harvey LaurenceEpisode: "The Confession"
1961 Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color Captain PinskiEpisode: "The Horsemasters"
1962 The Twilight Zone Professor Ellis FowlerEpisode: "The Changing of the Guard"
1963 The Outer Limits Professor Harold FinleyEpisode: "The Man with the Power"
1964 Espionage EscalonEpisode: "The Liberators"
1965 The Defenders Dr. Byron SaulEpisode: "Fires of the Mind"
1966 The Fugitive Max PfeifferEpisode: "With Strings Attached"
1966 The Wednesday Play The Head WaiterEpisode: "The Head Waiter" (teleplay)
1967 The Diary of Anne Frank Mr. DusseliTelevision film
1967, 1968 Thirty-Minute Theatre J.G. / Richard Pratt2 episodes
1971 The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes Carnacki Episode: "The Horse of the Invisible"
1971–1983 Play for Today Samuel Johnson / Gerry Muddiman / Tom3 episodes
1972 Hawaii Five-O Hans VoglerEpisode: "The Ninety-Second War: Part II"
1972The Man OutsideVictor CobbEpisode: "A Glass of Snake Wine"
1972 Police Surgeon Jerry HahnEpisode: "Lady X"
1973 Columbo Adrian CarsiniEpisode: "Any Old Port in a Storm"
1973Dr. Jekyll and Mr. HydeFred SmudgeTelevision film
1973 Orson Welles' Great Mysteries CawserEpisode: "Captain Rogers"
1974OccupationsChristo KabakTelevision film
1975 The Count of Monte Cristo Baron DanglarsTelevision film
1975 Shades of Greene PucklerEpisode: "The Root of All Evil"
1976 Peep Show MaxEpisode: "Death"
1976 Laurence Olivier Presents Nat JeffcoteEpisode: "Hindle Wakes"
1977 Jesus of Nazareth MelchiorMiniseries
1977 The Dark Secret of Harvest Home NarratorMiniseries
1978 The Defection of Simas Kudirka Captain Vladimir PopovTelevision film
1978 The Bastard Solomon SholtoMiniseries
1978-79 Centennial Sam PurchasMiniseries
1979 Mrs. Columbo Ian A. MorlyEpisode: "Murder Is a Parlor Game"
1979 All Quiet on the Western Front KantorekTelevision film
1979Gold of the Amazon WomenClarence BlaskoTelevision film
1979 The French Atlantic Affair Max DechambreMiiniseries
1979 Better Late Then Never Colonel RiddleTelevision film
1980 The Ghost Sonata The Old ManTelevision film
1980 Blade on the Feather Professor Jason CavendishTelevision film
1981 Dick Turpin Ignatius Slake2 episodes
1981 Saturday Night Live HostEpisode: "Donald Pleasence/Fear"
1982 Witness for the Prosecution Mr. MyersTelevision film
1982 The Barchester Chronicles Reverend Septimus Harding7 episodes
1984 Master of the Game Salomon Van der MerweMiniseries
1984 Arch of Triumph HaakeTelevision film
1985 Black Arrow Sir Oliver OatesTelevision film
1987 Scoop Lord CopperTelevision film
1987BasementsMr. KiddTelevision film; segment: "The Room"
1988 The Ray Bradbury Theater George HillEpisode: "Punishment Without Crime"
1988 The Great Escape II: The Untold Story Dr. AbsalonTelevision film
1989 Agatha Christie's Miss Marple: A Caribbean Mystery Jason RafielTelevision film
1992 Lovejoy Karel RedlEpisode: "The Prague Sun"
1993 Screen Two Victor HartyEpisode: "Femme Fatale"
1995Signs and WondersCornelius Van DammMiniseries

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