Peter Cushing

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Peter Wilton Cushing , OBE (born May 26, 1913 in Kenley , London , † August 11, 1994 in Canterbury , Kent ) was a British actor . From the late 1950s onwards, Cushing gained particular popularity as the actor in numerous horror films in which he appeared as a scientist, doctor or detective, such as Sherlock Holmes in the series and film series of the same name, as Dr. van Helsing in Dracula or as Baron Victor Frankenstein in the Frankenstein film series.


The son of Nellie Marie King and George Edward Cushing grew up in Kenley and Dulwich near London . After a brief employment with a surveyor, he took up a scholarship to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama . In 1939 Cushing went to Hollywood and starred in several films, including In Oxford ( A Chump at Oxford , 1940), with Laurel and Hardy . His first major role was the portrayal of Osric in the movie Hamlet alongside Laurence Olivier . In 1943, Cushing married actress Helen Beck, who died in 1971.

Cushing also worked for television in the 1950s and received widespread recognition through the role of Winston Smith in the televised adaptation of the George Orwell novel in 1984 . He was also in the BBC television films Pride and Prejudice (1952, as Fitzwilliam Darcy ) and Richard of Bordeaux (1955, as King Richard II ) to see.

Peter Cushing became known worldwide through his impersonation of Professor van Helsing in Terence Fisher's Dracula films, in which he was on the trail of Count Dracula as a vampire hunter. The success of the Dracula films established Cushing as one of the leading horror film stars. Up until the 1980s, he was featured in dozens of films in the genre . The ascetic looking Cushing usually embodied mentally superior characters (detectives, scientists, doctors) who acted purposefully and focused. After his breakthrough, the actor made only a few films that were not part of the horror genre.

At the British company Hammer Films , with which he was under contract from 1957, Cushing also played the unfortunate Dr. Frankenstein and the master detective Sherlock Holmes , which he in the first color film - adaptation of a novel Holmes played: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959). Alongside Christopher Lee , he was one of the studio's regular actors. He played the mysterious Doctor twice in the films Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965) and Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150 AD (1966). He did not appear in the television series of the same name . Unlike Paul McGann , who played the role in the 1996 television film , Cushing's films and his incarnation of the Timelord are not counted in the canon of the series. After the success of The Hound of Baskerville , he was one of the cast of the master detective Sherlock Holmes in the BBC television series of the same name in 1968 . At his side, Nigel Stock played Doctor Watson . 1984 Cushing was in the TV movie The Masks of Death one last time as Sherlock Holmes to see John Mills embodied Doctor Watson .

The best known of his later roles was that of Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars (1977), the first part of the Star Wars series (later counting: Episode IV) by George Lucas . In this role, Cushing also appears posthumously as a CGI animation in the Star Wars prequel Rogue One in 2016 , using the same technique as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings . The role was played and spoken by Guy Henry in Rogue One and then the Cushing animation was placed over Henry's facial features. The character had previously made a posthumous cameo in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) using a full face mask.

In recognition of his acting achievements both in the UK and around the world, Cushing was awarded the title of Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1989 . His declining health led him to move to a seaside house near Whitstable , where he indulged his birdwatching hobby, wrote two autobiographies and wrote and illustrated a Lewis Carroll- style children's book, The Bois Saga . Cushing also made a name for himself as a painter and caricaturist. He was also a passionate collector of pewter figures.

A week before his death he could be heard alongside Christopher Lee as the spokesman for the documentary Flesh and Blood, the Hammer Heritage of Horror by director Ted Newsom . Cushing died of prostate cancer on August 11, 1994 at the age of 81 .

Visual arts

As a painter and caricaturist , Cushing was primarily self-taught and studied from 1931 at the Croydon School of Art with Percy Rendle. A first picture presentation took place in 1958 as part of a television broadcast, solo exhibitions followed in 1958 in London, 1994 in Canterbury and 1998 in Chatham . In his surrealist collages, which are sometimes reminiscent of Alfred Jarry and Max Ernst , classic physiognomies and architectural elements can be found in drawing . Many of his caricatures have appeared in book form in Tudor Tea Room Profiles and The Bois Saga .



  • Peter Cushing: An Autobiography. Orion Publishing, London 1986, ISBN 0-297-79132-X .
  • Peter Cushing: Past Forgetting. Memoires of the Hammer Years. Weidenfeld & Nicholson, London 1988, ISBN 0-297-79283-0 .

German synchronization

Peter Cushing was spoken by many well-known voice actors in Germany, so u. a. by Peter Schiff , Manfred Schott , Hans Nielsen , Erich Schellow , Siegfried Schürenberg , Erich Fiedler , Wolfgang Eichberger , Friedrich Joloff , Arnold Marquis , Wolfgang Engels , Christian Marschall , Ernst Schlott , Manfred Steffen , Martin Rosen , Eckart Dux , Holger Hagen , Horst Naumann , Franz Otto Krüger and Friedrich Schönfelder .

Secondary literature

  • Gary Parfitt: The Films of Peter Cushing. Bath 1975.
  • Rolf Giesen: Lexicon of Fantastic Films. Volume 1. Frankfurt / Berlin / Vienna 1984, ISBN 3-548-36508-6 , pp. 152-158.
  • Deborah Del Vecchio, Tom Johnson: Peter Cushing. The Gentle Man of Horror and His 91 Films. Jefferson & London, 1992, ISBN 0-89950-654-2 .
  • Uwe Sommerlad : Peter Cushing. In: Norbert Stresau, Heinrich Wimmer (Hrsg.): Encyclopedia of fantastic films. 39.Supplementary delivery, Corian, Meitingen 1995.
  • MA Miller: Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing and Horror Cinema. McFarland & Company, Jefferson, London 1995, ISBN 0-89950-960-6 .
  • Rainer Dick: Peter Cushing. In the eternal fight against evil . in ders .: The stars of the horror film. Tilsner, Munich 1996, ISBN 3-910079-63-6 , pp. 71-79.
  • Gerd J. Pohl: Peter Cushing. In: General Artist Lexicon. Volume 23, p. 200, Leipzig 1999, ISBN 3-598-22740-X .
  • Tony Earnshaw: An Actor and a Rare One. Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes. Lanham, Maryland & London 2001 ISBN 0-8108-3874-5 .
  • Uwe Sommerlad: Peter Cushing. In: Michael Ross (ed.): Sherlock Holmes in film and television. A manual. Baskerville Books, Cologne 2003, ISBN 3-930932-03-2 , pp. 81-103.

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