Donald Pleasence Biography (1919-1995)

Born October 5, 1919, in Worksop, England; died February 2, 1995, in St. Paulde Vence, France; buried in Great Britain. Actor and author of children's books. Equally at home in classic or modern roles, Pleasence was well-known forhis stage portrayal of the title character in Harold Pinter's The Caretaker,which ran to great acclaim on both the London stage and Broadway from 1960-61, and in the London revival of 1991. As a young man, Pleasence left a job asa railway booking clerk to pursue an acting career, and made his stage debutas Hareton Earnshaw in a 1939 production of Wuthering Heights. Spending thelatter part of World War II in a German prisoner-of-war camp after his planewas shot down over France, he returned to England and joined the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. He made his Broadway debut alongside Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh in 1951's Caesar and Cleopatra. In the mid-1950s, Pleasence beganto focus his acting efforts on television, starring in the series The Adventures of Robin Hood, and as the host of Armchair Mystery Theatre. Returning briefly to the theatre during the 1960s in Antoinette Perry Award-nominated performances in both The Caretaker and Poor Bitos, he spent most of his later career in the cinema, appearing in over two hundred films, including 1965's TheGreatest Story Ever Told, the 1968 western drama Will Penny and Woody Allen's 1991 film, Shadows and Fog. Considered one of Britain's finest character actors, Pleasence specialized in portraying sinister villains in films like Dr.Crippen, 1962; Double Exposure, 1966; You Only Live Twice, 1967; The Eagle has Landed, 1976; as well as appearing in a large number of second-rate horrorfilms, including the Halloween series. Pleasence was also the author of several books for children. In 1994, he was appointed to the Order of the BritishEmpire.

Birth Details
October 5, 1919
Worksop, England
Death Details
February 2, 1995
St. Paul de Vence, France

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