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Peter Vaughan Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (7) | Personal Quotes (9)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 4 April 1923Wem, Shropshire, England, UK
Date of Death 6 December 2016England, UK
Birth NamePeter Ewart Ohm
Height 6' (1.83 m)

Mini Bio (1)

A true character actor in the best sense of the word, offbeat British thespian Peter Vaughan's hefty frame could appear intimidating or marshmallow benevolent; his beady, hollow eyes menacing or tender; his mere presence menacing or avuncular. Adept at playing both sides of the law, his characters usually possessed a strange, somewhat wary countenance that seemed to keep his audience slightly off balance. A homely sort with a bloated face, jutting chin, sliver lips and pronounced nose, this veteran has been a stalwart presence for nearly fifty years. Born Peter Ohm in 1923, he began on the stage and didn't enter films until 1959, well into his thirties.

Married in 1952 to rising actress Billie Whitelaw, Peter was primarily in the background at first, offering a cheapjack gallery of thugs, unsmiling cops, and foreign agents in movies. An easily unsympathetic bloke, he played unbilled policemen in his first two films, then slowly gravitated up the credits list. He appeared as the chief of police in the spy drama The Devil's Agent (1962), which also featured his wife, and then gained a bit more attention in a prime part as an offbeat insurance investigator in the B movie Smokescreen (1964), a role that propelled him into the higher ranks. Noticeably shady roles came with playing Tallulah Bankhead's seedy handyman who meets a fatal end in the Gothic horror Die! Die! My Darling! (1965) [aka Die! Die! My Darling!]; his villainous roles in the spy thrillers The Naked Runner (1967) opposite Frank Sinatra and The Man Outside (1967); a German thug in A Twist of Sand (1968); and Sgt. Walker in The Bofors Gun (1968).

Divorced from Whitelaw in 1966, he later married actress Lillias Walker, who had roles in a couple of his pictures: Malachi's Cove (1973) and Intimate Reflections (1974). TV became a large source of income for Vaughan in the 1970s, particularly in his role of Grouty in Porridge (1974) on both the large and small screen, and his quirky demeanor fitted like a glove for bizarre director Terry Gilliam, who cast him as the Ogre in Time Bandits (1981) and then as Mr. Helpman in Brazil (1985). For the past few decades he has maintained a healthy balance between film (including standout roles in Zulu Dawn (1979), The Remains of the Day (1993) and The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004)) and TV mini-movies, both contemporary and period. He was still performing into his 90s: his final role was Maester Aemon Targaryen in HBO's Game of Thrones (2011).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (2)

Lillias Walker (1966 - 6 December 2016) (his death)
Billie Whitelaw (1952 - 1966) (divorced)

Trivia (7)

His brilliant performance as Denethor in the BBC radio dramatization of "The Lord of the Rings" is considered by some to be the unsurpassed and defining portrayal of this character.
Had appeared in three different film versions of The Crucible as a different character each time.
Had twice played a character who uses wheelchair in need of assistance in the restroom, once in Brazil (1985) and again in Death at a Funeral (2007).
Appeared in Game of Thrones (2011) with Sean Bean. Bean played Boromir in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films, while Vaughan played Denethor - Boromir's father - in the BBC Radio drama.
Considered for Fallanda, Bukovsky, Dr.Armstrong and Sir Percy in Lifeforce (1985).
He was considered for many guest roles in Doctor Who (1963) - General Grugger in "Meglos", Aukon in "State of Decay", Sir Robert Muir in "Black Orchid", Ranulf in "The King's Demons", Colonel George Wolsey in "The Awakening", Lord Ravensworth in "The Mark of the Rani", Shockeye in "The Two Doctors", Orcini in "Revelation of the Daleks", Gavrok in "Delta and the Bannermen" and De Flores in "Silver Nemesis".
Is the father in law of Scottish actor Gregor Fisher.

Personal Quotes (9)

Obviously one's experiences inform one's acting. I think the more experience you have of life, the better it is for an actor. In terms of the parts I played, I think my face had more to do with it. Clearly I wasn't ever going to play romantic leads.
(On Frank Sinatra) "The great thing about Frank was that you had to stand up to him very quickly. If you did that, he respected you, otherwise he'd walk all over you,"
(On Porridge (1974)) "I still get people saying 'Let you out, have they, Grouty?"
(On Porridge (1974)) "I was in just three episodes and, of course, the feature film, so I have to thank the writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais for the fact I'm one of the characters people always remember when they talk about Porridge (1974) because Grouty is so prominent - even though I'm not there. Everybody's frightened to death of him, so they talked about him a lot and so it was a huge character but I didn't have to be there. I more or less accidentally turned up in something special."
(On Game of Thrones (2011)) "You never know who's going to have their head chopped off next! As far as anything as complex as that goes, if you're playing a part in it, the best thing to do is to concentrate on your own aspect of it, which for me was as Custodian of the Wall. So I really concentrated on all that and kept away from some of the other storylines - if you tried to keep abreast of everything that's going on, you'd drive yourself mad and not be quite so effective in your own performance. In my case, anyway, that's the way I've always worked."
I have always approached every part I have done as if it will be my last, and that it's the one I will be judged by.
If you're a character actor, you don't need to wait for the next leading role. But if you are a leading man you have to wait for the next part. Sometimes that means long periods without work.
Luckily I'm not beautiful - otherwise I might have starved.
There are at least two Peters. One is shy and reticent, the other is the wild Peter - with a great sense of humour.

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