TV & FILM DETECTIVES

ACTORS WHO PLAY OR WHO HAVE PLAYED DETECTIVES AROUND THE WORLD ON TV OR FILM.
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1.
Albert Finney
Actor, Big Fish
Albert Finney came from the theatre, where he was especially successful in plays of William Shakespeare, to the movies. There he became a leading figure of the young Free Cinema. His debut in cinema was in 1960 with The Entertainer of Tony Richardson who had directed him also in theatre plays various times before. His typical role were young prolets like, e.g. Arthur Seaton in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.
“ HERCULE POIROT ” - gj0869
 
2.
Peter Ustinov
Actor, Robin Hood
Peter Ustinov was a two-time Academy Award-winning film actor, a director, writer, journalist and raconteur. He wrote and directed many acclaimed stage plays and led numerous international theatrical productions. He was born Peter Alexander Freiherr von Ustinov on April 16, 1921, in Swiss Cottage, London...
“ HERCULE POIROT ” - gj0869
 
3.
David Suchet
Best known in the United Kingdom and abroad as Agatha Christie's suave Belgian super-sleuth Hercule Poirot in scores of late 1980s and '90s mini-movies, London-born actor David Suchet's early interest in the theater led to his membership with the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain in the 1960s following graduation from high school...
“ HERCULE POIROT ” - gj0869
 
4.
Rolf Lassgård
He started acting school in Malmö and went from there to the Skånska Teatern in Landskrona, performing in plays by Shakespeare or Brecht. He made a breakthrough as Puck in William Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer's Night Dream'. He also met his wife Birgitta there. The 1990s meant a lot of work in front of the camera...
“ KURT WALLANDER ” - gj0869
 
5.
“ KURT WALLANDER ” - gj0869
 
6.
Kenneth Branagh
Actor, Valkyrie
Kenneth Charles Branagh was born on December 10, 1960, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, to parents William Branagh, a plumber and carpenter born in 1930, and Frances (Harper) Branagh, also born in 1930. His brother, William Branagh Jr., was born in 1955 and sister, Joyce Branagh, was born in 1970...
“ KURT WALLANDER ” - gj0869
 
7.
John Thaw
He was the working class boy from Manchester whose intensity and natural honesty made him British television's most bankable actor. He studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. His first starring role on TV was as Sgt John Mann in Redcap. His first great success, though, was as Detective Inspector Regan in The Sweeney...
“ INSPECTOR MORSE & JACK REAGAN IN THE SWEENEY. ” - gj0869
 
8.
“ TAGGART ” - gj0869
 
9.
“ GEORGE BULMAN ” - gj0869
 
10.
“ MARTIN BECK ” - gj0869
 
11.
George Sewell
Actor, Get Carter
British leading actor whose tough, pockmarked features belied a soft voice and cultivated manner. Sewell was born in East London, the son of a printer. After brief service in the RAF during the closing stages of World War II, he held down a wide variety of short-lived jobs, including as carpenter, photographer...
“ ALAN CRAVEN (SPECIAL BRANCH) ” - gj0869
 
12.
“ TOM HAGGERTY (SPECIAL BRANCH) & STEVE HACKETT (TARGET) ” - gj0869
 
13.
John Simm
John Simm was born on 10 July 1970 in Leeds, West Yorkshire, and grew up in Nelson, Lancashire. He attended Edge End High School, Nelson, Lancashire, followed by Blackpool Drama College at 16 and the Drama Centre, London, at 19. He lives with his wife, actress Kate Magowan, and their children Ryan (born 13 August 2001) and Molly (born February 2007)...
“ SAM TYLER (LIFE ON MARS) ” - gj0869
 
14.
“ GENE HUNT (LIFE ON MARS & ASHES TO ASHES) ” - gj0869
 
15.
“ JERICO ” - gj0869
 
16.
John Nettles
John Nettles has been a familiar face on British and International television screens for over thirty years. From his early beginnings in the UK hit comedy The Liver Birds, he became a household name overnight playing the Jersey detective "Jim Bergerac". The series, Bergerac, was a huge hit in Britain and was exported to many countries across the world including France...
“ BERGERAC & TOM BARNABY (MIDSOMER MURDERS) ” - gj0869
 
17.
“ REG WEXFORD ” - gj0869
 
18.
“ ALEX DRAKE (ASHES TO ASHES) ” - gj0869
 
19.
Karl Malden
Karl Malden resumed his film acting career in the 1950s, starting with The Gunfighter (1950) and Halls of Montezuma (1950). The following year, he was in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), playing Mitch, Stanley Kowalski's best friend who starts a romance with Blanche DuBois (Vivien Leigh). For this role...
“ MIKE STONE (STREETS OF SAN FRANSISCO) ” - gj0869
 
20.
Michael Douglas
Actor, The Game
An actor with over forty years of experience in theatre, film, and television, Michael Douglas branched out into independent feature production in 1975 with the Academy Award-winning One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Since then, as a producer and as an actor-producer, he has shown an uncanny knack for choosing projects that reflect changing trends and public concerns...
“ STEVE KELLER (STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO) ” - gj0869
 
21.
Peter Falk
Actor, Columbo
Peter Michael Falk was born on September 16, 1927, in New York City, New York. At the age of 3, his right eye was surgically removed due to cancer. He graduated from Ossining High School, where he was president of his class. His early career choices involved becoming a certified public accountant, and...
“ COLUMBO ” - gj0869
 
22.
“ SAM MCCLOUD ” - gj0869
 
23.
“ SARAH LUND (THE KILLING) ” - gj0869
 
24.
William Conrad
Actor, Cannon
William Conrad became a television star relatively late in his career. In fact, the former Army Air Corps World War II fighter pilot began his screen career playing heavies. He was Max, one of The Killers hired to finish off Burt Lancaster in his dingy lodgings. He was the corrupt state inspector Turck working for the syndicate in The Racket...
“ FRANK CANNON, NERO WOLF, & J.L."FATMAN" McCABE (JAKE AND THE FATMAN) ” - gj0869
 
25.
Jeremy Brett
The refined and debonair English actor Jeremy Brett will forever be best remembered for his long-running and critically acclaimed portrayal of Sherlock Holmes for Britain's Granada Television. From a privileged background, Brett was educated at England's most prestigious independent school, Eton College...
“ SHERLOCK HOLMES ” - gj0869
 
26.
Christopher Plummer
Actor, Up
Arthur Christopher Orme Plummer was born in Toronto, Ontario. He is the only child of Isabella Mary (Abbott), a secretary to the Dean of Sciences at McGill University, and John Orme Plummer, who sold securities and stocks. He is a great-grandson of John Abbott, who was Canada's third Prime Minister (from 1891 to 1892)...
“ SHERLOCK HOLMES ” - gj0869
 
27.
Basil Rathbone
Basil Rathbone was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1892, but three years later his family was forced to flee the country because his father was accused by the Boers of being a British spy at a time when Dutch-British conflicts were leading to the Boer War. The Rathbones escaped to England, where Basil and his two younger siblings...
“ SHERLOCK HOLMES ” - gj0869
 
28.
Peter 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...
“ SHERLOCK HOLMES ” - gj0869
 
29.
Christopher Lee
Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee was perhaps the only actor of his generation to have starred in so many films and cult saga. Although most notable for personifying bloodsucking vampire, Dracula, on screen, he portrayed other varied characters on screen, most of which were villains, whether it be Francisco Scaramanga in the James Bond film...
“ SHERLOCK HOLMES ” - gj0869
 
30.
Buddy Ebsen
Buddy Ebsen began his career as a dancer in the late 1920s in a Broadway chorus. He later formed a vaudeville act with his sister Vilma Ebsen, which also appeared on Broadway. In 1935 he and his sister went to Hollywood, where they were signed for the first of MGM's Eleanor Powell movies, Broadway Melody of 1936...
“ BARNABY JONES ” - gj0869
 
31.
Raymond Burr
Born Raymond William Stacy Burr on 21 May 1917 in New Westminster, British Columbia, Burr spent most of his early life traveling. As a youngster, his father moved his family to China, where the elder Burr worked as a trade agent. When the family returned to Canada, Raymond's parents separated. He and his mother moved to Vallejo...
“ IRONSIDE ” - gj0869
 
32.
John Gregson
A former telephone engineer who dabbled in amateur dramatics, John Gregson served aboard a minesweeper with the Royal Navy during World War II. After demobilisation, he joined the Liverpool Old Vic, making his stage debut in 'The Knight of the Burning Pestle'. Freshly married, he moved to London and...
“ GEORGE GIDEON (GIDEON'S WAY) ” - gj0869
 
33.
James Garner
Amiable and handsome James Garner had obtained success in both films and television, often playing variations of the charming anti-hero/con-man persona he first developed in Maverick, the offbeat western TV series that shot him to stardom in the late 1950s. James Garner was born James Scott Bumgarner in Norman...
“ JIM ROCKFORD & PHILLIP MARLOWE ” - gj0869
 
34.
Stacy Keach
When Stacy Keach burst into the public consciousness in John Huston's Fat City in 1972, it appeared that a great actor had been discovered. He was not unknown: Keach had earlier appeared on-screen in The The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, End of the Road and the revisionist Western 'Doc' and had established a reputation off-Broadway as one of America's best stage actors...
“ MIKE HAMMER ” - gj0869
 
35.
“ PETER BOYD (WAKING THE DEAD) & EDDIE SHOESTRING (SHOESTRING) ” - gj0869
 
36.
“ KOMISARIO JONSSON (RAID) ” - gj0869
 
37.
“ JOHAN FALK ” - gj0869
 
38.
Gene Hackman
Actor, Unforgiven
Eugene Allen Hackman was born in San Bernardino, California, the son of Anna Lyda Elizabeth (Gray) and Eugene Ezra Hackman, who operated a newspaper printing press. He is of Pennsylvania Dutch (German), English, and Scottish ancestry, partly by way of Canada, where his mother was born. After several moves...
“ JIMMY 'POPEYE' DOYLE ” - gj0869
 
39.
Ed O'Neill
Ed O'Neill is an American actor best known for playing Al Bundy on Married with Children, the most iconic working class character on television since Archie Bunker. Upon his debut on the world stage in Youngstown, Ohio on April 12, 1946, he was christened Edward Philip O'Neill, Jr. Both his father, Ed, Sr....
“ JIMMY 'POPEYE' DOYLE & JOE FRIDAY ” - gj0869
 
40.
Horst Tappert
Actor, Derrick
Born on 26 May 1923 in Wuppertal, he served with the Nazi German Waffen-SS in World War II. After attending acting lessons at the theater in Stendal, where he also made his stage debut, he performed on several important stages in Germany, but became widely popular as cinema and television actor in the late 1950s and 1960s...
“ STEPHAN DERRICK ” - gj0869
 
41.
John Wayne
John Wayne was born Marion Robert Morrison in Iowa, to Mary Alberta (Brown) and Clyde Leonard Morrison, a pharmacist. He was of English, Ulster-Scots, and Irish ancestry. Clyde developed a lung condition that required him to move his family from Iowa to the warmer climate of southern California, where they tried ranching in the Mojave Desert...
“ JIM BRANNIGAN & MC Q ” - gj0869
 
42.
Telly Savalas
Actor, Kojak
Son of Greek immigrants. Soldier during World War II. Studied psychology. Worked as journalist for ABC News. The bald-headed actor played character roles, often as sadistic or psychotic types. He became a TV favorite in the 1970s when his role as Det. Theo Kojak in the TV movie The Marcus-Nelson Murders was expanded into the gritty Kojak TV series, lasting from 1973-78.
“ THEO KOJAK ” - gj0869
 
43.
“ CHRISTOPHER FOYLE ” - gj0869
 
44.
“ JAKE MARTIN ” - gj0869
 
45.
Helen Mirren
Actress, The Queen
Dame Helen Mirren was born in Queen Charlotte's Hospital in West London. Her mother, Kathleen Alexandrina Eva Matilda (Rogers), was from a working-class English family, and her father, Vasiliy Petrovich Mironov, was a Russian-born civil servant, from Kuryanovo, whose own father was a diplomat. Mirren attended St...
“ JANE TENNYSON ” - gj0869
 
46.
“ 'VAN VEETEREN' ” - gj0869
 
47.
Powers Boothe
Actor, Sin City
American actor born 1948, in Snyder, Texas. Leading man of the American stage, TV, and films. He made a strong presence in some films in the 80s, but he was most successful on TV. He won an Emmy award as Best Actor for his performance in the TV movie Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones.
“ PHILLIP MARLOWE ” - gj0869
 
48.
David Janssen
David Janssen was born David Harold Meyer in 1931 in Naponee, Nebraska, to Berniece Mae (Graf) and Harold Edward Meyer, a banker. He was of German, and some Swiss-German and Scottish-Irish, descent. David took the surname of his stepfather, Eugene Janssen. The Janssen family settled in Hollywood when he was a teenager and he attended Fairfax High School...
“ HARRY O ” - gj0869
 
49.
Idris Elba
Actor, Prometheus
An only child, Idris Elba was born and raised in Hackney, London, England. His father, Winston, is from Sierra Leone and worked at a Ford motor factory. His mother, Eve, is from Ghana and had a clerical duty. Idris attended school in Canning Town, where he first became involved in acting. He gained a place in the National Youth Music Theatre - thanks to a £1,500 Prince's Trust grant...
“ JOHN LUTHER ” - gj0869
 
50.
Richard Roundtree
Actor, Se7en
Richard Roundtree was a leading man in many "blaxploitation" movies in the 1970s. He is best known for his role as John Shaft in Shaft, and starred in its two sequels as well. As the 1970s and 1980s progressed he starred more in low-budget movies. He was in a few occasional high-profile, if a tad offbeat...
“ JOHN SHAFT ” - gj0869
 
51.
Rufus Sewell
Actor, Dark City
Rufus Sewell was born on the 29th of October 1967 in Twickenham, England. His mother, Jo, was Welsh, and was an artist and painter. His father, Bill, was an Australian animator who died when Rufus was 10. He has one brother, Caspar. He attended London's Central School of Speech and Drama and left in June of 1989 after completing three years of training...
“ AURELIO ZEN ” - gj0869
 
52.
Michael Gambon
Sir Michael Gambon was born in Cabra, Dublin, Ireland, to Mary (Hoare), a seamstress, and Edward Gambon, an engineer. After joining the National Theatre, under the Artistic Directorship of Sir Laurence Olivier, Gambon went on to appear in a number of leading roles in plays written by Alan Ayckbourn...
“ MAIGRET ” - gj0869
 
53.
Richard Harris
A genuine star of cinema on screen and a fiery hell raiser off screen, Richard St John Harris was born on October 1, 1930 in Limerick, Ireland, to a farming family. He was the son of Mildred Josephine (Harty) and Ivan John Harris, and was an excellent rugby player, with a strong passion for literature...
“ MAIGRET ” - gj0869
 
54.
“ MAIGRET ” - gj0869
 
55.
Bronislaw Cieslak
He is a journalist and politician, he is not a professional actor. In 1968 he worked in Polish Radio, then in Cracow TV. He made many tv shows.
“ SLAWOMIR BOREWICZ (07 ZGLOS SIE) ” - gj0869
 
56.
Carl-Gustaf Lindstedt
He was raised on Kungsholmen in Stockholm, where his father had a flower shop. His father was also a social democratic politician. 'Unga Örnar', a socialist youth club, had a theater club which he joined. Since his parents were poor, he had to start work at the age of 16 as a delievery boy. Meanwhile...
“ MARTIN BECK ” - gj0869
 
57.
Gösta Ekman
His career began with a bit part at Skansenteatern in Hjalmar Bergman's play 'Markurells i Wadköping' in 1955. The following year he debuted in the movie Swing it, fröken playing against Alice Babs. He got speech lessons from actress Sif Ruud and worked behind the camera in his father's and Ingmar Bergman's movies...
“ MARTIN BECK ” - gj0869
 
58.
Tom Selleck
Thomas William Selleck is an American actor and film producer, known for his starring role as Hawaii-based private investigator "Thomas Magnum" on the 1980s television series, Magnum, P.I.. Selleck was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Martha S. (Jagger), a homemaker, and Robert Dean Selleck, a real estate investor and executive...
“ THOMAS MAGNUM, JESSE STONE, & FRANK REAGAN ” - gj0869
 
59.
Sharon Gless
Actress, Burn Notice
Show business is in Sharon Gless' blood. Her grandfather, Neil S. McCarthy (May 6, 1888 - July 25, 1972), was considered by many to have been the most respected and powerful entertainment lawyer of Hollywood's Golden Age. His clients included Howard Hughes, Paramount Pictures, Louis B. Mayer (personally)...
“ CHRISTINE CAGNEY ” - gj0869
 
60.
“ MARY-BETH LACEY ” - gj0869
 
61.
“ JOE MANNIX ” - gj0869
 
62.
“ Inspector Montalbano ” - gj0869
 
63.
Peter Falk
Actor, Columbo
Peter Michael Falk was born on September 16, 1927, in New York City, New York. At the age of 3, his right eye was surgically removed due to cancer. He graduated from Ossining High School, where he was president of his class. His early career choices involved becoming a certified public accountant, and...
“ COLUMBO ” - gj0869
 
64.
Richard Griffiths
British character actor Richard Griffiths came from radio and the classical stage where he built up an early reputation as a Shakespearean clown, with larger-than-life portrayals of Henry VIII, Falstaff in "The Merry Wives of Windsor" and Bottom in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" with the Royal Shakespeare Company just a few of his standout credits...
“ HENRY CRABBE ” - gj0869
 
65.
Barry Foster
Actor, Frenzy
John Barry Foster's acting career began and ended on the stage. At the age of 20, he won a scholarship to the Central School of Speech and Drama, where he befriended future playwright Harold Pinter. After two years training, Barry went on tour with Andrew McMaster and fellow actors Patrick Magee and Kenneth Haigh through the Republic of Ireland...
“ VAN DER VALK ” - gj0869
 
66.
Bryan Marshall
Bryan studied drama at RADA and soon made an impression on TV in the footballing drama "United" and on film working for Hammer studios in "Quatermass And The Pit" and "The Witches". Perhaps his most major film role is the duplicitous Councillor Harris in "The Long Good Friday". Bryan emigrated to Australia in 1983...
“ VAN DER VALK (Because of the Cats) ” - gj0869
 
67.
Frank Finlay
One of Britain's finest products of the stage, film and TV, actor Frank Finlay, he with the dark and handsomely serious-to-mordant looks, was born on August 6, 1926, in Farnworth, England, the son of Josiah, a butcher, and Margaret Finlay. Of English, Irish and Scottish descent, Frank attended St. Gregory...
“ VAN DER VALK (Pas de frontières pour l'inspecteur: Le bouc émissaire & Van der Valk und das Mädchen) ” - gj0869
 
68.
“ VAN DER VALK(Amsterdam Affair) ” - gj0869