Actor. His is most identified with the horror films of Hammer Pictures, often sharing the screen with Christopher Lee. Born in Kenley, Surrey, England, the son of a quantity surveyor, he did not thrive well at his studies in school, however in extra curriculum such as sports and drama club he excelled. During his youth, he enjoyed going to the movie theater and had a particular fondness of American screen stars, especially Tom Mix. He reluctantly followed his father's career choice and served as a surveyor's clerk, but aspirations of stardom led him to his training at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama. It would be American audiences who first got a glimpse of Cushing's talents with his film debut in "The Man in the Iron Mask" (1939) and in 1941, he appeared in the Broadway play "The Seventh Trumpet." During World War II, he resided in Canada where he performed in theater and later returned to England, resuming his movie career with Olivier's "Hamlet" (1948). After nearly ten years of steady work in British films and television, Cushing was cast in the career-changing role of Victor Frankenstein in Hammer's "The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957). Not only did the film secure his status as a legendary cult film star, it initiated a highly-recognizable pairing with fellow contemporary performer Christopher Lee. If fact the two had both appeared in "Hamlet" (1948) ten years earlier. Cushing and Lee starred in several features together, often matching their wits such as in the film "The Horror of Dracula" (1957), sometimes working in unison in the pictures "The Horror Express" (1972) and "Nothing But Darkness" (1972). Until Cushing's death in 1994, he remained close friends with Lee. Along with fame came typecasting and for the remainder of his career, he would battle supernatural beings and monsters alike. He was once quoted as saying "If I played Hamlet, they'd call it a horror film." Every so often, he would break the chain with other opportunities including playing the title role of 'Sherlock Holmes' in the 1959 film version of "The Hound of the Baskervilles', as well as in the British TV series "Sherlock Holmes" (1968), "Cash on Demand" (1961), and the part of 'Grand Moff Tarkin' in "Star Wars" (1977). He appeared opposite horror film veterans Vincent Price, John Carradine and Christopher Lee in the picture "House of the Long Shadows" (1983). He never fully recovered after his wife Helen's death in 1971 and following a lengthy battle with prostate cancer he died on August 11th, 1994.
Bio by: C.S.