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Peter Cushing

Peter Cushing

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Also Known As: Died: August 11, 1994
Born: May 26, 1913 Cause of Death: cancer
Birth Place: Surrey, England, GB Profession: actor, surveyor's clerk

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A prolific presence in films and on television for nearly five decades, British actor Peter Cushing, OBE, became an international icon as the star of countless horror films, including "Curse of Frankenstein" (1956), "Horror of Dracula" (1958), "The Hound of the Baskervilles" (1959), "The Mummy" (1959), "The Vampire Lovers" (1970) and "Horror Express" (1973). Frequently cast opposite his longtime friend, Sir Christopher Lee, Cushing gave definitive portrayals of monster maker Victor Frankenstein and vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing for England's Hammer Films throughout the 1960s and 1970s while appearing in numerous other horror films for international companies. The worldwide success of Hammer minted Cushing as a horror star, not unlike Boris Karloff or Vincent Price, though in real life, he was a gentlemanly figure who adored his wife and spent his off-screen hours bird watching. After nearly two decades onscreen, he enjoyed a genuine blockbuster in "Star Wars" (1977), which cast him as the reptilian Grand Moff Tarkin. Illness curtailed his career in the early 1980s, and he would enjoy one final collaboration with Lee as co-narrators of a documentary on Hammer Films before his death in 1994. A fan...

A prolific presence in films and on television for nearly five decades, British actor Peter Cushing, OBE, became an international icon as the star of countless horror films, including "Curse of Frankenstein" (1956), "Horror of Dracula" (1958), "The Hound of the Baskervilles" (1959), "The Mummy" (1959), "The Vampire Lovers" (1970) and "Horror Express" (1973). Frequently cast opposite his longtime friend, Sir Christopher Lee, Cushing gave definitive portrayals of monster maker Victor Frankenstein and vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing for England's Hammer Films throughout the 1960s and 1970s while appearing in numerous other horror films for international companies. The worldwide success of Hammer minted Cushing as a horror star, not unlike Boris Karloff or Vincent Price, though in real life, he was a gentlemanly figure who adored his wife and spent his off-screen hours bird watching. After nearly two decades onscreen, he enjoyed a genuine blockbuster in "Star Wars" (1977), which cast him as the reptilian Grand Moff Tarkin. Illness curtailed his career in the early 1980s, and he would enjoy one final collaboration with Lee as co-narrators of a documentary on Hammer Films before his death in 1994. A fan favorite for his magnetic and always-believable screen presence, his roles for Hammer became the stuff of horror movie legend.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Innocent Blood (1992) Van Helsing
2.
 Biggles (1986) Colonel Raymond
3.
 Top Secret! (1984) Bookstore Owner
4.
 Sword Of The Valiant (1984) Seneschal
5.
 House of the Long Shadows (1982) Sebastian
6.
 Mystery on Monster Island (1981) Kolderup
7.
 TALE OF TWO CITIES, A (1980) Dr Manette
8.
 Arabian Adventure (1979) Wazir Al Wuzara
9.
 Uncanny, The (1977) Wilbur Gray
10.
 Standarte, Die (1977)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Worked for a time as a surveyor's clerk before moving into acting as a profession
1935:
Stage acting debut, with the Worthington Repertory Company in England
1939:
Hollywood debut, in James Whale's version of "The Man in the Iron Mask"
1941:
Last feature film for seven years, "They Dare Not Love"; begun by Whale but completed by director Charles Vidor
:
Returned to England to help entertain the troops during WWII
:
Joined Laurence Olivier's acting company at the Old Vic Theater after the war
1948:
One-shot return to acting in films: made British film debut as Osric in Laurence Olivier's adaptation of "Hamlet"; film also marked first feature in which he and Christopher Lee both acted, though Cushing's Osric had no interaction with Lee's palace guard
:
Was very busy and acclaimed in the early years of British TV
1952:
Returned to feature film acting with a supporting role in John Huston's "Moulin Rouge"; acted regularly in features thereafter
1957:
First received top billing in the Hammer Studios film, "The Curse of Frankenstein"; film also marked first horror outing, the first of five films in which Cushing would play Dr. Frankenstein and his first significant teaming with actor Christopher Lee (who played the monster)
1958:
First played the role of Dracula's nemesis, Dr. Van Helsing, opposite Christopher Lee as Count Dracula, in "The Horror of Dracula"
1970:
Made first of four films opposite actor Vincent Price, "Scream and Scream Again"
1973:
Played Dr. Frankenstein for the fifth and last time, "Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell"
1976:
First American made-for-TV movie, "The Great Houdini", starring Paul Michael Glaser in the title role; Cushing played Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
1978:
Played Dr. Van Helsing for the fifth and last time in "The Satanic Rites of Dracula", opposite Lee as Count Dracula
1986:
Last feature film, "Biggles"
1992:
Clip of Cushing as Dr. Van Helsing and Lee as Dracula from "The Horror of Dracula" used in John Landis's horror feature, "Innocent Blood"
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Education

Purley Secondary School: -
Guildhall School of Music and Drama: London , England -

Notes

Received the Order of the British Empire in 1989.

Among the awards Cushing received in England for his work in the early days of British television are the Daily Mail TV Award for actors (1953-54), the Guild of TV Award (1955) and a News Chronicle TV Top Ten Award (1956).

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Helen Beck. Actor. Met during WWII in England; died in 1971.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Peter Cushing: An Autobiography"
"Past Forgetting: Memoirs of the Hammer Years"

Contributions

KenMorgan ( 2006-07-12 )

Source: Theatrical film (20th Century Fox/Lucasfilm)

1977: Plays Grand Moff Tarkin in blockbuster "Star Wars".

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