as Emile Locque in For Your Eyes Only, 1981
|Born||Michael Alan Gothard
24 June 1939
|Died||2 December 1992
Hampstead, London, England
Michael Alan Gothard (24 June 1939 – 2 December 1992) was an English actor, best remembered for his role as Kai in the television series Arthur of the Britons and for his role as the mysterious villain Emile Leopold Locque in the 1981 James Bond film For Your Eyes Only.
Early life 
Michael Gothard was born in London in 1939. After leaving school, he travelled around Europe with little idea of what he wanted to do with his life. He went through various jobs, including being a building labourer. He lived in Paris for a year on Boulevard St Michel in the Latin Quarter. He even had a brief spell as a clothes' model, but he never felt comfortable doing that job. He said: “I was as stiff as a board and I couldn’t overcome my sense of the ridiculous. I was a clothes hanger, an object, not a person.” On his return to England, at the age of 21, he decided to become an actor.
He joined the New Arts Theatre as a scenery mover, and became part of an amateur film a friend was making. After landing the lead role, he was encouraged to take up the profession. He attended evening classes at an actors' workshop whilst holding down a day job. He was involved working in some of the first "Lunchtime theatre" productions in the '60s, from pub cellars to top floor spaces off St. Martin's Lane. His first television role was in an episode of Out of the Unknown in 1966 called "The Machine Stops". He was then cast in Don Levy's film Herostratus in 1967 and Up the Junction in 1968. He then acquired a female following after taking a role as the villainous Mordaunt in the BBC's adaptation of Twenty Years After (Further Adventures of the Musketeers).
His performance as the nightclubbing killer Keith in Scream and Scream Again, directed by Gordon Hessler (Alfred Hitchcock’s protégé), was a breakout role for him, giving him exposure and leading to other, more prominent parts. In the film, Keith makes one of the most memorable escapes from the police ever seen. The film also starred Vincent Price, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. Executive producer Louis M. Heyward said of Gothard's performance: "I felt that Michael Gothard was going to be the biggest thing that ever happened. He had that insane look and that drive, and he was wonderful. Here is a kid who really threw himself into the picture wholeheartedly. Do you remember the scene where he appears to be walking up the cliff? That's a stunt that, as an actor, I would not have agreed to; I’d say, 'Hey, get a double or get a dummy. I ain't either one.' But the kid agreed to do it, without a double—-he was that driven. He had a lot of class and a lot of style. Gordon (Hessler) came up with the idea of using an overhead cable to give that illusion of his walking up the cliff."
One of his most notable film appearances in the wake of his growing visibility as an actor was Ken Russell's 1971 horror film, The Devils, in which Gothard had a stand-out role as a fanatic witch-hunter and exorcist who defiles Vanessa Redgrave and tortures Oliver Reed. His performance as a young disillusioned hippie in Barbet Schroeder's La Vallée (1972) contrasted with the rest of his career. He also played real–life assassin John Felton in Richard Lester's 1973 film of The Three Musketeers and its 1974 sequel, The Four Musketeers. In both films Oliver Reed also appeared.
He had a regular role as Kai opposite Oliver Tobias's Arthur on the aforementioned Arthur of the Britons during the early 1970s. He became known to a wider cinema audience for his menacing turn as the villainous (and non-speaking) Belgian henchman, Emile Leopold Locque, in the 1981 James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only. Gothard was actually the one who suggested Locque's signature octagonal glasses in an effort to make the character more menacing. His later appearances included supporting roles in Tobe Hooper's 1985 science-fiction horror extravaganza, Lifeforce, and as George Lusk in the 1988 TV movie, Jack the Ripper, with Michael Caine. He appeared with Dean Stockwell and Shirley Knight in a Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense (a.k.a. Fox Mystery Theatre) episode, The Sweet Scent of Death. His last few roles were in Christopher Columbus: The Discovery in 1992, where he briefly acted opposite Marlon Brando. It was directed by his For Your Eyes Only director John Glen, but was a box office failure.
Glen had actually cast Gothard in the role beneath Brando with the intention of moving Gothard into the role of Tomás de Torquemada, Brando's character, in case Brando did not show up for filming. Brando did indeed miss the first day of filming, and Gothard took over this role for the day's shooting. However, Tom Selleck told the director that without Brando, he would quit the film. Word apparently got out, for Brando was on the set the next day, and assumed the role of Tomás de Torquemada, with Glen reshooting the scene. Glen described Gothard as "a very good" and "captivating" actor, as well as a friend.
His final role was in David Wickes's Frankenstein, starring Patrick Bergin and Randy Quaid. Shortly after this, he took his own life, aged 53. His own suicide came just two years after that of another cast member from For Your Eyes Only, Jill Bennett.
Gothard was at home in Hampstead at the time of his death. He committed suicide by hanging. Though he had had a number of beautiful girlfriends, there is no record of him having married. He suffered from severe depression in the later part of his life.
In January 2013, a collaborative effort, the Michael Gothard Archive, went live to celebrate Gothard's life and work. It displays in reverse date order (latest to earliest) milestones in his life, including images, interviews with Gothard and quotes about him from his colleagues, citations from books and from official documents, and other vetted information. The archive has recently received contributions from some of Gothard's close friends, who have added their own stories and photographs.
- Frankenstein (1992) as Boatswain
- Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992) as Inquisitor's spy
- The Serpent of Death (1989) as Xaros
- Gioco al massacro (1989)
- Going Undercover (1988) (aka Yellow Pages) as Strett
- Destroying Angel (1988) as "the Hitman"
- Lifeforce (1985) as Dr Bukovsky
- For Your Eyes Only (1981) as Emile Leopold Locque
- Warlords of Atlantis (1978) as Atmir
- The Four Musketeers (1974) as John Felton
- The Three Musketeers (1973) as John Felton
- La Vallée (1972) as Olivier
- The Devils (1971) as Father Barre
- Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1971) as Albie
- The Last Valley (1970) as Hansen
- Scream and Scream Again (1970) as Keith
- Michael Kohlhaas-Der Rebell (1969) as John
- Up the Junction (1968) as Terry
- Herostratus (1967) as Max
- Jack the Ripper (1988) as George Lusk
- Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense (1986) as Marvin
- Minder (1985) as Sergie
- Lytton's Diary (1985) as Jake Cutler
- Scarecrow and Mrs. King (1984) as Karl Portillo
- Ivanhoe (1982) as Athelstone
- Shoestring (1981) as Harry
- A Tale of Two Cities (1980) (Michael E. Briant version) as Gaspard
- The Professionals (1979) as Kodai
- Warrior Queen (1978)
- King Arthur, the Young Warlord (1975) as Kai
- Arthur of the Britons (1972–73) as Kai
- Menace (1970) as Pip in "Nine Bean Rows"
- Paul Temple (1970) as Ivan
- Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) (1969) as Perrin
- Department S (1969) as Weber
- Fraud Squad (1969) as Jacky Joyce
- Armchair Theatre, The Story-Teller (1969) as Brian
- The Further Adventures of the Three Musketeers (1967) as Mordaunt
- Thirty-Minute Theatre, The Excavation (1966) as Grady
- Out of the Unknown (1966) as Kuno
- "Petticoat 6th October 1973". michaelgothard.weebly.com.
- Weaver, Tom, et al. (1991). Science Fiction Stars and Horror Heroes: Interviews with Actors, Directors, Producers and Writers of the 1940s through 1960s. McFarland & Company. p. 176.
- Glen, John (2000). For My Eyes Only. Potomac Books. p. 113.
- The Sweet Scent of Death at the Internet Movie Database
- Sellers, Robert (2010). Hollywood Hellraisers: the Wild Lives and Fast Times of Marlon Brando, Dennise Hopper, Warren Beatty, and Jack Nicholson. Skyhorse Pub. p. 270.
- Glen, John (2000). For My Eyes Only. Potomac Books. pp. 113, 271.
- Jill Bennett at the Internet Movie Database
- "Michael Gothard Archive".