Claim to Fame
Van Helsing in the Hammer films Gran Moff Talkin in "Star Wars"
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Cause of Death
Cancer - Prostate
Place of Death
Full Name at Birth
Peter Wilton Cushing
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Actor/Actress, Soundtrack, Art Department
Has Detailed Data (New)
Peter Wilton Cushing, OBE (26 May 1913 – 11 August 1994) was an English actor and a BAFTA TV Award Best Actor winner in 1956. He is mainly known for his many appearances in Hammer Films, in which he played the sinister scientist Baron Frankenstein, Sherlock Holmes and the vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing, among many other roles. He appeared frequently opposite Christopher Lee, and occasionally Vincent Price. A familiar face on both sides of the Atlantic, Cushing's best-known roles outside the Hammer productions include Grand Moff Tarkin in the original Star Wars movie (1977) and Dr. Who in Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965) and Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. (1966), films based on the Doctor Who television series.
Profile Bio Text
Peter Wilton Cushing, OBE (26 May 1913 – 11 August 1994) was an English actor known for his many appearances in Hammer Films, in which he played the sinister scientist Baron Frankenstein, Sherlock Holmes and the vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing, among many other roles. He appeared frequently opposite Christopher Lee, and occasionally Vincent Price. A familiar face on both sides of the Atlantic, Cushing's best-known roles outside the Hammer productions include Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars (1977) and Dr. Who in Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965) and Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. (1966), films based on the Doctor Who television series.
Cushing was born in Kenley, Surrey, the second son of George Edward Cushing and Nellie Maria (née King) Cushing. Shortly after his birth, the family moved to Dulwich, South London. After the end of the First World War, they returned close to Kenley; this time to neighbouring Purley, Surrey, where in 1926 his quantity surveyor father built Clearview, an Art Deco house on St James Road. It was here that Cushing remained until early adulthood.
Educated at Shoreham College, Cushing left his first job as a surveyor's assistant to take up a scholarship at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. After working in repertory theatre in Worthing, Sussex, he left for Hollywood in 1939, debuting in The Man in the Iron Mask later that year, before returning to England in 1941 after appearing in several films. In one, A Chump at Oxford (1940), he appeared opposite Laurel and Hardy. His first major film role was that of Osric in Laurence Olivier's Hamlet (1948).
In the 1950s, he worked in television, notably as Winston Smith in the BBC's 1954 adaptation of the George Orwell novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), scripted by Nigel Kneale. Cushing was highly praised for his performance, although he considered his acting in the surviving version of the broadcast — it was performed live twice in one week, then a common practice, and only the second version exists in the archives — to be inferior to the first.
Among other TV appearances, Cushing starred as Fitzwilliam Darcy in the BBC's production of Pride and Prejudice (1952), as King Richard II in Richard of Bordeaux (1955), and as Raan, a Prospero-like character, in "Missing Link" (1975), an episode of Space: 1999. He also appeared in The Avengers and its successor series, The New Avengers. In 1956, he received the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor.
George Edward Cushing
Nellie Maria King Cushing
Wiki Bio Text
Biography by Hal Erickson [-]
Imperious, intellectual-looking British actor Peter Cushing studied for a theatrical career under the guidance of Cairns James at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Cushing supported himself as a clerk in a surveyor's office before making his first professional stage appearance in 1935. Four years later, he came to America, where he was featured in a handful of Broadway plays and Hollywood feature films. He had a small part in The Man in the Iron Mask (1939) and also doubled for Louis Hayward in the "twin" scenes; he was among the rather overaged students in Laurel and Hardy's A Chump at Oxford (1940); and he was second male lead in the Carole Lombard vehicle Vigil in the Night (1940). After closing out his Hollywood tenure with They Dare Not Love (1941), he returned to stage work in England. His next film appearance was as Osric in Laurence Olivier's Hamlet (1948), which also featured his future co-star Christopher Lee in a nonspeaking bit (Cushing and Lee's paths would cross again cinematically in Moulin Rouge , though, as in Hamlet, they shared no scenes).
In the early '50s, Cushing became a TV star by virtue of his performance in the BBC production of George Orwell's 1984. Still, film stardom would elude him until 1957, when he was cast as Baron Frankenstein in Hammer Films' The Curse of Frankenstein. It was the first of 19 appearances under the Hammer banner; Cushing went on to play Van Helsing in Horror of Dracula (1958) and Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959), roles which, like Baron Frankenstein, he would repeat time and again. Though his horror film appearances brought him fame and fortune, Cushing ruefully commented that he'd prefer not to be so tightly typecast: It is significant that his entry in the British publication Who's Who in the Theatre lists all of his theatrical credits, but only one title -- Hamlet -- in his film manifest. In 1975, after a decade's absence, Cushing made a return to the theater in Washington Square, ironically playing the role originated on Broadway by fellow Sherlock Holmes interpreter Basil Rathbone. Many of Cushing's later film assignments were in the tongue-in-cheek category, notably his sneeringly evil Governor Tarkin in Star Wars (1977) and his backwards-talking librarian in Top Secret! (1984). Retiring from the screen in 1986, Peter Cushing penned two volumes of memoirs: An Autobiography (1986) and Past Forgetting (1988).
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