1913 – 1994
Peter Cushing [Top Right]
Peter Wilton Cushing, OBE (26 May 1913 – 11 August 1994) was an English actor best known for his roles in the Hammer Productions horror films of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, as well as his performance as Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars (1977). Spanning over six decades, his acting career included appearances in more than 100 films, as well as many television, stage and radio roles. Born in Kenley, Surrey, Cushing made his stage debut in 1935 and spent three years at a repertory theatre before moving to Hollywood to pursue a film career.
After making his motion picture debut in the 1939 film The Man in the Iron Mask, Cushing began to find modest success in American films before returning to England at the outbreak of the Second World War. Despite performing in a string of roles, including one as Osric in Laurence Olivier’s film adaptation of Hamlet (1948), Cushing struggled greatly to find work during this period and began to consider himself a failure. His career was revitalized once he started to work in live television plays, and he soon became one of the most recognizable faces in British television. He earned particular acclaim for his lead performance in a 1954 adaptation of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Cushing gained worldwide fame for his appearances in twenty-two horror films by the independent Hammer Productions, particularly for his role as Baron Frankenstein in six of their seven Frankenstein films, and Doctor Van Helsing in five Dracula films. Cushing often appeared alongside actor Christopher Lee, who became one of his closest friends, and occasionally with the American horror star Vincent Price.
Cushing appeared in several other Hammer films, including The Abominable Snowman, The Mummy and The Hound of the Baskervilles, the last of which marked the first of many times he portrayed the famous detective Sherlock Holmes throughout his career. Cushing continued to perform a variety of roles, although he was often typecast as a horror film actor. He played Dr. Who in Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965) and Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (1966) and gained the highest amount of visibility in his career in 1977, when he appeared as Grand Moff Tarkin in the first Star Wars film. Cushing continued acting into his later years, and wrote two autobiographies. He was lovingly devoted to his wife of twenty-eight years, Helen Cushing, who died in 1971. Cushing himself died in 1994 due to prostate cancer.
The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
Victor Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) is a brilliant scientist willing to stop at nothing in his quest to reanimate a deceased body. After alienating his longtime friend and partner, Paul Krempe (Robert Urquhart), with his extreme methods, Frankenstein assembles a hideous creature (Christopher Lee) out of dead body parts and succeeds in bringing it to life. But the monster is not as obedient or docile as Frankenstein expected, and it runs amok, resulting in murder and mayhem.
On a search for his missing friend Jonathan Harker (John Van Eyssen), vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) is led to Count Dracula’s (Christopher Lee) castle. Upon arriving, Van Helsing finds an undead Harker in Dracula’s crypt and discovers that the count’s next target is Harker’s ailing fiancée, Lucy Holmwood (Carol Marsh). With the help of her brother, Arthur (Michael Gough), Van Helsing struggles to protect Lucy and put an end to Count Dracula’s parasitic reign of terror.
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)
Sherlock Holmes (Peter Cushing) and Doctor Watson (Andre Morell) meet with a certain Dr. Mortimer (Francis De Wolff), who tells them of the legend of the “hound,” born out of a murder committed by Sir Hugo Baskerville centuries ago. Explaining that Sir Charles Baskerville recently died in the same location as Sir Hugo, Mortimer expresses his deep concern that Sir Henry, the heir to the Baskerville estate, will also fall prey to the evil hound’s curse. Holmes sets out to investigate.
The Mummy (1959)
An archaeology team discover the tomb of an Egyptian princess, guarded by an undead mummy who will avenge all who desecrate the site.
Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960)
Lively reworking of the exploits of Robin Hood who foils the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham and the Earl of Newark’s dastardly plan to murder the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Captain Clegg (1962)
When a captain arrives on an English coastal town to investigate reports of smuggling, he ends up with much more to deal with, including marsh phantoms and a suspicious vicar.
Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965)
Five chilling stories are linked by the character of a strange fortune-telling doctor who predicts the bizarre deaths of five fellow passengers on a train using a pack of tarot cards.
Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D (1966)
This sequel to `Dr Who and the Daleks’ finds Doctor Who returning to Earth in AD 2150, only to find it almost destroyed by cosmic rays, and the Daleks moving in to hollow out the planet’s core to turn it into a gigantic spaceship.
Scream and Scream Again (1970)
Heading British Intelligence, Fremont (Christopher Lee) carries a heavy workload, what with killers, mad scientists and all. While a serial killer with a penchant for drinking his victim’s blood runs rampant, the murderous and deranged Dr. Browning (Vincent Price) engages in harvesting body parts to conduct his experiments. The lead man on the case, Detective Bellaver (Alfred Marks), tries to piece it all together, while a fascist leader (Peter Cushing) pulls strings from behind the scenes.
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
The Imperial Forces — under orders from cruel Darth Vader (David Prowse) — hold Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) hostage, in their efforts to quell the rebellion against the Galactic Empire. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford), captain of the Millennium Falcon, work together with the companionable droid duo R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) to rescue the beautiful princess, help the Rebel Alliance, and restore freedom and justice to the Galaxy.
1913 – 1994