Worksop, Nottinghamshire, England, UK
Place of Death
Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Alpes-Maritimes, France
Cause of Death
(complications From Heart Valve Replacement Surgery)
Claim to Fame
Profile Bio Text
Donald Henry Pleasence OBE, (5 October 1919 – 2 February 1995) was an English actor who gained over 200 screen credits during his long career. Although he often found himself typecast as villainous and/or psychopathic characters, Pleasence is possibly best known for his work in two of cinema`s most enduring franchises; the James Bond and Halloween series. Pleasence returned to acting after the war, and critics began to call him the "Man with the Hypnotic Eye". Coupled with his bald head and quiet but intense voice, he specialised in insane and evil characters, including Prince John in several episodes of the ITV series The Adventures of Robin Hood (1956-68), Heinrich Himmler in The Eagle Has Landed (1976), and the Bond villain Blofeld in You Only Live Twice (1967). In his later years, he became known to a younger generation as Dr. Loomis in Halloween (1978). His trademark voice may be credited to elocution lessons he had as a child. He reprised his role as Dr. Loomis in Halloween II (1981), IV (1988), V (1989) and VI (1995). Perhaps his most sympathetic role was as the tragic POW Colin Blythe in the 1963 film The Great Escape, who discovers he is slowly going blind, but nonetheless participates in the escape, and is shot down by Nazi officers because he is unable to see them. In The Night of the Generals (1967), he plays another uncharacteristically sympathetic role, as a Heer General involved in a plot to kill Hitler. In the latter film, he co-starred with Charles Gray, another Blofeld (in Diamonds are Forever (1971)), also playing an anti-Hitler general. Also in 1971, he played the tour de force role of Australian alcoholic Doc Tydon, in Ted Kotcheff`s outback thriller Wake in Fright. He played Satan (in several human disguises) in the religious epic The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965). He was one of many stars who appeared in cameos throughout the film. Perhaps his most bizarre and powerful film role occurred in Polanski`s Cul-de-Sac (1966) in which he portrayed the love-sodden husband of a much younger French wife (Françoise Dorléac).
One of his earliest roles on television, as Syme in the BBC`s highly-acclaimed 1954 adaptation of George Orwell`s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, also starred Peter Cushing – another actor who would go on to find fame in many horror film roles. He appeared twice with Patrick McGoohan in the British spy series, Danger Man, in episodes "Position of Trust" (1960) and "Find and Return" (1961). His first appearance in America was in an episode of The Twilight Zone, playing an aging (and suicidal) teacher at a boys` school in the episode "The Changing of the Guard" (1962). In 1963, he appeared in a episode of The Outer Limits entitled "The Man With the Power". He hosted the 1981 Halloween episode of Saturday Night Live with music guest Fear (which, because of Fear`s raucous performance and the sick, dark humor of the sketches, hasn`t been seen on television since its first airing)
Pleasence was married four times and had five daughters from his first three marriages. He died at the age of 75 in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France, from complications after heart valve replacement surgery. Pleasence was cremated. His ashes were given to his family.
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Full Name at Birth
Donald Henry Pleasence OBE
Donald Henry Pleasence, OBE (5 October 1919 – 2 February 1995) was an English actor. His most notable film roles include psychiatrist Dr. Sam 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).
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