Peter Cushing


26 May 1913


Kenley, Surrey [now in Croydon, London], England, UK


Peter Wilton Cushing


Peter Wilton Cushing was born on May 26, 1913 in Kenley, Surrey, England, to Nellie Maria (King) and George Edward Cushing, a quantity surveyor. He and his older brother David were raised first in Dulwich Village, a south London suburb, and then later back in Surrey. At an early age, Cushing was attracted to acting, inspired by his favorite aunt, who was a stage actress. While at school, Cushing pursued his acting interest in acting and also drawing, a talent 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 (1939). Other Hollywood films included A Chump at Oxford (1940) with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, Vigil in the Night (1940) and They Dare Not Love (1941). However, after a short stay, he 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 Hamlet (1948), in which Cushing's future partner-in-horror Christopher Lee had a bit part. Both actors also appeared in Moulin Rouge (1952) but did not 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) and Beau Brummell (1954), until the end of the decade when he began his legendary association with Hammer Film Productions in its remakes of the 1930s Universal horror classics. His first Hammer roles included Dr. Frankenstein in The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Dr. Van Helsing in Horror of Dracula (1958), and Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959).

Cushing continued playing the roles of Drs. Frankenstein and Van Helsing, as well as taking on other horror characters, in Hammer films over the next 20 years. He also appeared in films for the other major horror producer of the time, Amicus Productions, including Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965) and its 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: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977). Biggles: Adventures in Time (1986) was Cushing's last film before his retirement, during which he made a few television appearances, wrote two autobiographies and pursued his hobbies of bird watching and painting. In 1989, he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of his contributions to the acting profession in Britain and worldwide. Peter Cushing died at age 81 of prostate cancer on August 11, 1994.

Actor ( 143 credits )

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (2014) Sebastian Grisbane (archive footage) (uncredited)
The Drunken Peasants (2014)  Grand Moff Tarkin / ... (archive footage) (2 episodes,
Morecambe & Wise: The Whole Story (2013)  Himself (1 episode, 2013)
Dante's Domicile (2013)  Dr. Wells (archive footage) (1 episode, 2015)
The Flesh and the Fury: X-posing Twins of Evil (2012) Gustav Weil (archive footage)
Special Collector's Edition (2010)  Grand Moff Tarkin (1 episode, 2014)
A History of Horror with Mark Gatiss (2010)  Doctor Van Helsing / ... (1 episode, 2010)
Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten (2007) Winston Smith (archive footage)
Cinemassacre's Monster Madness (2007)  Baron Frankenstein / ... (archive footage) (13 episode
The Lost (2006) Narrator (voice) (archive sound)
History's Mysteries (1998)  Dr. Frankenstein (archive footage) (1 episode, 2006)
100 Years of Horror (1996)  Himself - Actor, 'The Brides of Dracula' (archive foot
Frankenstein: A Cinematic Scrapbook (1991) Victor Frankenstein / Dr. Carl Victor (archive footage)
The World of Hammer (1990)  Victor Frankenstein / ... (8 episodes, 1994)
Behind the Headlines (1990)  Himself (1 episode, 1992)
Biggles: Adventures in Time (1986) Air Commodore Colonel William Raymond
The Laurel and Hardy Show (1986)  Jones (1986) (archive footage)
Sword of the Valiant: The Legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (1984) Seneschal - Gaspar
Top Secret! (1984) Bookstore Proprietor
House of the Long Shadows (1983) Sebastian Grisbane
Breakfast Time (1983)  Himself (1 episode, 1983)
Wogan (1982)  Himself (6 episodes, 1986-1988)
Black Jack (1981) Sir Thomas Bedford
Mystery on Monster Island (1981) William T. Kolderup
Hammer House of Horror (1980)  Martin Blueck (1 episode, 1980)
Arabian Adventure (1979) Wazir Al Wuzara
A Touch of the Sun (1979) Commissioner Potts
Son of Hitler (1979) Heinrich Haussner
Tales of the Unexpected (1979)  Von Baden (1 episode, 1983)
The Morecambe & Wise Show (1978)  Himself (2 episodes, 1978-1980)
The Standard (1977) Baron von Hackenberg
The Uncanny (1977) Wilbur
Shock Waves (1977) SS Commander
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) Grand Moff Tarkin
Everyman (1977)  Himself (1 episode, 1986)
A Land Looking West (1977) (unknown episodes)
A Dirty Knight's Work (1976) Sir Edward Gifford
At the Earth's Core (1976) Dr. Abner Perry
Land of the Minotaur (1976) Baron Corofax
The New Avengers (1976)  Von Claus (1 episode, 1976)
Legend of the Werewolf (1975) Prof. Paul Cataflanque
The Ghoul (1975) Dr. Lawrence
Space: 1999 (1975)  Raan (1 episode, 1976)
Jim'll Fix It (1975)  Himself (1 episode, 1976)
From Beyond the Grave (1974) The Proprietor
Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974) Baron Victor Frankenstein / Dr. Carl Victor
Madhouse (1974) Herbert Flay
The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974) Professor Laurence Van Helsing
Shatter (1974) Paul Rattwood
Tender Dracula, or Confessions of a Blood Drinker (1974) MacGregor
The Beast Must Die (1974) Dr. Christopher Lundgren
The Zoo Gang (1974)  Judge Gautier (1 episode, 1974)
And Now the Screaming Starts! (1973) Dr. Pope
The Creeping Flesh (1973) Emmanuel Hildern
Nothing But the Night (1973) Sir Mark Ashley
The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973) Prof. Lorrimer Van Helsing
Great Mysteries (1973)  Count Gerard De Merret (1 episode, 1973)
Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972) Professor Van Helsing
Asylum (1972) Mr. Smith (segment 2 "The Weird Tailor")
Tales from the Crypt (1972) Arthur Edward Grimsdyke (segment 3 "Poetic Justice")
Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972) Captain
Fear in the Night (1972) The Headmaster - Michael Carmichael
Horror Express (1972) Dr. Wells
Pebble Mill at One (1972)  Himself (2 episodes, 1986-1991)
Clapper Board (1972)  Himself (1 episode, 1977)
The House That Dripped Blood (1971) Philip Grayson (segment 2 "Waxworks")
I, Monster (1971) Frederick Utterson
Twins of Evil (1971) Gustav Weil
Great Performances (1971)  Himself (uncredited) (1 episode, 1983)
Film '72 (1971)  Himself (1 episode, 1973)
Incense for the Damned (1970) Dr. Walter Goodrich
The Vampire Lovers (1970) General von Spielsdorf
Scream and Scream Again (1970) Major Heinrich Benedek
One More Time (1970) Dr. Frankenstein (uncredited)
Looks Familiar (1970)  Himself - Guest (2 episodes, 1976-1979)
Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969) Baron Frankenstein
This Is Your Life (1969)  Himself (2 episodes, 1974-1990)
The Blood Beast Terror (1968) Detective Inspector Quennell
Corruption (1968) Sir John Rowan
The Morecambe & Wise Show (1968)  Himself (4 episodes, 1969-1973)
Torture Garden (1967) Lancelot Canning (segment 4 "The Man Who Collected Poe"
Frankenstein Created Woman (1967) Baron Frankenstein
Some May Live (1967) John Meredith
Island of the Burning Damned (1967) Dr. Vernon Stone
Island of Terror (1966) Dr. Brian Stanley
Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (1966) Dr. Who
Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966) Doctor Van Helsing (archive footage) (uncredited)
The Skull (1965) Dr. Christopher Maitland
She (1965) Maj. Holly
Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965) 'Dr. Terror' / Dr. W. R. Schreck
Thirty-Minute Theatre (1965)  Leonard (1 episode, 1965)
Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965) Dr. Who
The Gorgon (1964) Dr. Namaroff
The Evil of Frankenstein (1964) Baron Frankenstein
Sherlock Holmes (1964)  Sherlock Holmes (16 episodes, 1968)
Cinema (1964)  Himself (1 episode, 1967)
Story Parade (1964)  Elijah Baley (1 episode, 1964)
The Man Who Finally Died (1963) Dr. Peter von Brecht
Night Creatures (1962) Rev. Dr. Blyss
Lolita (1962) Dr. Frankenstein (archive footage) (uncredited)
The Devil's Agent (1962) (scenes deleted)
Cash on Demand (1961) Harry Fordyce
The Naked Edge (1961) Mr. Evan Wrack
The Hellfire Club (1961) Mr. Merryweather
Fury at Smugglers' Bay (1961) Squire Trevenyan
The Avengers (1961)  Paul Beresford (1 episode, 1967)
Comedy Playhouse (1961)  Albert Fawkes (1 episode, 1963)
Drama 61-67 (1961)  Frederick James Parsons (1 episode, 1962)
The Risk (1960) Professor Sewell
Trouble in the Sky (1960) Capt. Clive Judd
The Flesh and the Fiends (1960) Dr. Robert Knox
Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960) Sheriff of Nottingham
The Brides of Dracula (1960) Dr. J. Van Helsing
The Mummy (1959) John Banning
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959) Sherlock Holmes
John Paul Jones (1959) Capt. Richard Pearson
The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958) Doctor Victor Stein
Horror of Dracula (1958) Doctor Van Helsing
Violent Playground (1958) Priest- Father Laidlaw
Time Without Pity (1957) Jeremy Clayton
The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) Victor Frankenstein
The Abominable Snowman (1957) Dr. Rollason
Alexander the Great (1956) General Memnon
Magic Fire (1955) Otto Wesendonk
The End of the Affair (1955) Henry Miles
ITV Television Playhouse (1955)  Fred Parsons (1 episode, 1962)
The Black Knight (1954) Sir Palamides
You Are There (1953)  Rudolf Hess (1 episode, 1953)
Moulin Rouge (1952) Marcel de la Voisier
The Silver Swan (1952)  Lord Henriques (1 episode, 1952)
BBC Sunday-Night Theatre (1950)  Antoine Vanier / ... (12 episodes, 1951-1957)
Hamlet (1948) Osric
Return from Nowhere (1944) Awakening Man (clip from 'Dreams') (archive footage) (u
The Woman in the House (1942) Man Waking Up (archive footage) (uncredited)
They Dare Not Love (1941) Sub-Lieutenant Blackler (uncredited)
Dreams (1940) First Dreamer
The Howards of Virginia (1940) Leslie Stephens (uncredited)
Women in War (1940) Capt. Evans (uncredited)
The Hidden Master (1940) Robert Clive of India (uncredited)
A Chump at Oxford (1940) Student
Vigil in the Night (1940) Joe Shand
Laddie (1940) Robert Pryor
The Man in the Iron Mask (1939) Second Officer