Peter Cushing

Mostly Credited As: Peter Cushing
Birth Name: Peter Wilton Cushing
Date Of Birth: May 26, 1913 (Age 81)
Country Of Birth: United Kingdom
Birth Place: Kenley, Surrey, England
Date Of Death: August 11, 1994
Cause Of Death: Prostate cancer (Canterbury, Kent, England)
Height: 5' 8" (1.72 m)

Peter Cushing

Peter Cushing was born in 1913 in Kenley, Surrey, in England. He and his older brother David were raised first in Dulwich Village, a south London suburb, and then later back in Surrey by his mother Nellie Marie and father George Edward, who was a Quantity Surveyor.
At an early age, Cushing was attracted to acting, inspired by his favorite aunt who was a stage actress. While at school, a young Cushing pursued his interests in acting and drawing, a talent that he put to good use later in his first job as a government surveyor's assistant in Surrey. At this time, he also dabbled in local amateur theater until moving to London to attend the Guildhall School of Music and Drama on scholarship. He then performed in repertory theater, deciding in 1939 to head for Hollywood, where he made his film debut in The Man in the Iron Mask. Other Hollywood films included A Chump at Oxford with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, Vigil in the Night, and They Dare Not Love. But, after a short stay, Cushing returned to England by way of New York (making brief appearances on Broadway) and Canada. Back in his homeland, he contributed to the war effort during World War II by joining the Entertainment National Services Association. After the war, he performed in the West End and had his big break appearing with Laurence Olivier in the film Hamlet (1948), in which Cushing's future partner-in-horror Christopher Lee also had a bit part. Both actors also appeared in Moulin Rouge (1952) but didn't meet until their later horror films.

During the 1950s, Cushing became a familiar face on British television, appearing in numerous teleplays, such as 1984 (1954), Beau Brummell (1954), and The Creature (1955), until the end of the decade when he began his legendary association with Hammer Film Productions in their remakes of the 1930s Universal horror classics. His first Hammer roles included "Dr. Frankenstein" in The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), "Dr. Van Helsing" in Dracula (1958), "Sherlock Holmes" in The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959), and "John Banning" in The Mummy (1959). Cushing continued playing the roles of "Dr. Frankenstein" and "Van Helsing," as well as taking on other horror characters, in Hammer films over the next 20 years. He also appeared in many films for the other major horror producer of the time, Amicus Productions, including Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965) and their later horror anthologies, a couple of Dr. Who films (1965, 1966), I, Monster (1971), and others. By the mid-1970s, these companies had stopped production, but Cushing, firmly established as a horror star, continued in the genre for some time thereafter. Perhaps his best-known appearance outside of horror films was as "Grand Moff Tarkin" in George Lucas' phenomenally successful science fiction film Star Wars (1977). Biggles: Adventures in Time (1986) was Cushing's last film before his retirement, during which he made a few television appearances, wrote his two autobiographies, and pursued his hobbies of bird watching and painting.

In 1989, he was made an Officer of the British Empire in recognition of his contributions to the British film industry.

Peter succumbed to complications of prostate cancer on August 11, 1994.

TV Appearances

Main cast 
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes (1968)As: Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes (1965) (1965)As: Sherlock Holmes (1968)
Episode Cast Credits 

This Is Your Life (UK) (1955) 
  Peter Cushing 30x18: (Feb/21/1990) As Himself 
  Christopher Lee 14x21: (Apr/03/1974) As Himself 

Breakfast Time (UK) (1983) 
  Episode 107 01x107: (Jun/14/1983) As Himself 

Tales of the Unexpected (1979) 
  The Vorpal Blade 06x08: (May/28/1983) As Von Baden 

Hammer House of Horror (1980) 
  The Silent Scream 01x07: (Oct/25/1980) As Martin Blueck, [Starring Roles]

Space: 1999 (1975) 
  Missing Link 01x19: (Feb/27/1976) As Raan 

Orson Welles' Great Mysteries (1974) 
  La Grande Breteche 01x04: (Jul/27/1974) As Count de Merret 

Story Parade (1964) 
  The Caves Of Steel 01x05: (Jun/05/1964) As Elijah Baley 

BBC Sunday-Night Theatre (1950) 
  Gaslight 08x02: (Jan/13/1957) As Manningham 
  The Moment of Truth 06x10: (Mar/06/1955) As Prime Minister 
  The Creature 06x05: (Jan/30/1955) As Dr. John Rollason 
  1984 05x50: (Dec/12/1954) As Winston Smith 
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Peter made the whopping sum of $5,000 for his appearance in the film Shock Waves (1977). This is a mere pittance compared to what actors of his caliber receive today for a role.

Prior to being cast as Tarkin in Star Wars (1977), George Lucas considered using Peter as Obi-Wan Kenobi (which ultimately went to Sir Alec Guinness).

Peter was good friends with Christopher Lee. After he died, Lee said in an interview that he never felt closer and more open to any of his other friends than he felt to Peter.

During a television interview Peter confessed that fellow actor Christopher Lee had telephoned him earlier that evening to "Wish me luck!

Peter was preferred to original Doctor Who (1963) lead actor William Hartnell as star of Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965) because he was more widely recognized by American audiences.

Peter's sketch of Sherlock Holmes became the official logo for the Northern Musgraves, a British Sherlock Holmes society group.

Peter was guest of honor at the Famous Monsters of Filmland Convention in New York City in 1975. After receiving a thunderous ovation from those in attendance, he looked at everyone and said, "Have you ever felt unloved?"

Peter withdrew from the film Blood from the Mummy's Tomb (1971) due to the death of his wife. His role was assumed by Andrew Keir.

As a young struggling actor, Peter supplemented his income by selling scarves that he hand-painted and later, as an established actor, had showings of his water colors.

Peter was an highly skilled artist, he specialised in drawing and painting.

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Peter Cushing Quotes
As far back as I can remember, I had a passion for 'dressing up' and playing games of 'Let's Pretend', which are, of course, the basic principles of acting, and if you are lucky enough, you get paid for so doing, hard work though it may be.

Strangely enough, I don't like horror pictures at all. I love to make them because they give pleasure to people, but my favourite types of films are much more subtle than horror. I like to watch films like Bridge Over the River Kwai, The Apartment or lovely musicals.

Since Helen passed on I can't find anything; the heart, quite simply, has gone out of everything. Time is interminable, the loneliness is almost unbearable and the only thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that my dear Helen and I will be united again some day. To join Helen is my only ambition. You have my permission to publish that... really, you know dear boy, it's all just killing time. Please say that.

When Helen passed on six years ago I lost the only joy in life that I ever wanted. She was my whole life and without her there is no meaning. I am simply killing time, so to speak, until that wonderful day when we are together again.

My criterion for accepting a role isn't based on what I would like to do. I try to consider what the audience would like to see me do and I thought kids would adore Star Wars.

You cannot make a film like this without integrity. To make the audiences believe in you, you must believe utterly in what you are doing.

There is little chance for a person to exercise the imagination today in this complex, programmed society we have.

You have to have a sense of humour, darling, to be alive. Even a bit mad. It helps to be mad.

I hate the word 'hate.'

Teeth are a vitally important part of an actor's equipment. I have over 30 toothbrushes at home and always keep a good supply at the studio.

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