"I don't want to sound gloomy, but, at some point of your lives, every one of you will notice that you have in your life one person, one friend whom you love and care for very much. That person is so close to you that you are able to share some things only with him. For example, you can call that friend, and from the very first maniacal laugh or some other joke you will know who is at the other end of that line. We used to do that with him so often. And then when that person is gone, there will be nothing like that in your life ever again."
Christopher Lee
Peter Cushing
Peter Cushing
Birth name: Peter Wilton Cushing
Gender: Male
Medium(s): Film
Roles: Actor
Date of birth: May 26th, 1913
Place of birth: Kenley, Surrey, England
Date of death: August 11th, 1994
Place of death: Canterbury, England
Notable works: Hammer Horror
1st Horror: Curse of Frankenstein

Peter Cushing was a British actor born in Kenley, Surrey, England on May 26th, 1913. Along with friend and fellow thespian Christopher Lee, Cushing was a dominant force in the horror genre, specifically during the British "Hammer Horror" era of the 1950s through the 1970s.

Career Edit

Peter Cushing's first genre film was the 1957 Terence Fisher film The Curse of Frankenstein. Cushing played the lead role of Doctor Victor Frankenstein, a role he would reprise many times over the span of his career. He is also the first actor to play the character under his original name as first envisioned in 1818 by Frankenstein novelist Mary Shelley. This was also Cushing first pairing with Christopher Lee (in a horror film) who played the role of the monster in that film. In that same year, Cushing would go on to play the role of Doctor Rollason in the black and white Hammer film, The Abominable Snowman.

Cushing and Lee played opposite one another yet again in, this time taking on roles in another adaptation of a horror classic, Dracula. Cushing played the role of Doctor J. Van Helsing, another classic character whom he would return to in future films, even to the point of playing Van Helsing's modern-day descendent Lorrimer Van Helsing in the 1970s.

Victor Frankenstein (Hammer Horror)

Cushing as Baron Victor Frankenstein.

Following Dracula, Cushing returned to the Frankenstein franchise for its first sequel, The Revenge of Frankenstein, although this time his character's name was condensed to Victor Stein.

In 1959, Cushing and Lee joined forces once again, this time in Hammer's remake of the Universal Pictures classic, The Mummy. Note: This film was actually a remake of The Mummy's Hand with Lon Chaney, Jr., not the first film starring Boris Karloff. Although The Mummy spawned two semi-sequels, the 1959 film was the only one that featured Peter Cushing. He was slated to appear in the 1971 film Blood from the Mummy's Tomb, but declined in lieu of the recent death of his wife, Violet Helen Beck.

Throughout the 1960s, Cushing leap-frogged between franchises, playing Van Helsing in one film, then Baron Frankenstein in another and back again. By the 1970s, Hammer Horror was beginning to lose its popularity, but they still managed to produce one last Frankenstein film and three more Dracula films.

Peter Cushing's final genre role was in the horror-comedy film House of the Long Shadows produced in 1983. This was his last role with friend Christopher Lee and the film also included cult luminaries such as Vincent Price and John Carradine.

Outside of the horror genre, Cushing is also known for playing the role of the indefatigable Sherlock Holmes in several films in the 1960s. His most widely recognized role however, was that of the villainous Grand Moff Tarkin from the 1977 sci-fi mega-hit Star Wars. In Star Wars, Cushing's character was the supervisor of the evil Darth Vader, played by British bodybuilder David Prowse. Ironically, Cushing and Prowse played characters of a similar dynamic only three years earlier in the last Frankenstein film for Hammer Film Productions, 1974's Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell.

Peter Cushing passed away from prostate cancer in Canterbury, England on August 11th, 1994.

Body of work Edit

Film Year Role
Curse of Frankenstein 1957 Victor Frankenstein
The Abominable Snowman 1957 Doctor Rollason
Dracula 1958 Professor Van Helsing
Revenge of Frankenstein 1958 Victor Stein
The Mummy 1959 John Banning
Flesh and the Fiends 1960 Doctor Robert Knox
Brides of Dracula 1960 J. Van Helsing
Evil of Frankenstein 1964 Baron Frankenstein
The Gorgon 1964 Doctor Namaroff
Dr. Terror's House of Horrors 1965 Doctor Sandor Schreck
The Skull 1965 Doctor Christopher Maitland
Island of Terror 1966 Doctor Brian Stanley
Frankenstein Created Woman 1967 Baron Frankenstein
Blood Beast Terror 1968 Inspector Quennell
Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed 1969 Baron Frankenstein
The Vampire Lovers 1970 General von Spielsdorf
Incense for the Damned 1970 Doctor Walter Goodrich
The House That Dripped Blood 1971 Philip Grayson
Twins of Evil 1971 Gustav Weil
I, Monster 1971 Frederick Utterson
Dracula 1972 A.D. 1972 Lorrimer Van Helsing
Dr. Phibes Rises Again 1972 Ship's Captain
Tales from the Crypt 1972 Arthur Edward Grimsdyke [1]
From Beyond the Grave 1973 Antique shop proprietor
The Creeping Flesh 1973 Emmanuel Hildern
The Satanic Rites of Dracula 1973 Lorrimer Van Helsing
The Beast Must Die 1974 Doctor Christopher Lundgren
Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell 1974 Victor Frankenstein
Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires 1974 Lorrimer Van Helsing
Legend of the Werewolf 1975 Professor Paul
The Ghoul 1975 Doctor Lawrence
The Uncanny 1977 Wilbur Gray
Shock Waves 1977 SS Commander
House of the Long Shadows 1983 Sebastian Grisbane

Notes & Trivia Edit

  • Although Curse of Frankenstein was his first horror film with friend Christopher Lee, their actual first film together was in the 1948 version of Hamlet in which he played the role of Osric. Hamlet also starred veteran actor Sir Alec Guinness. Cushing, Lee and Guinness would all go on to play important characters in the Star Wars mythos (Obi Wan Kenobi, Grand Moff Tarking and Count Dooku respectively).

External Links Edit

References Edit

  1. "Poetic Justice" segment only.

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