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|Nigel McGown Green|
Green in trailer for "The Ipcress File" (1965)
15 October 1924|
Pretoria, South Africa
|Died||15 May 1972
Brighton, East Sussex, England, UK
Pamela Gordon (?-1972) (his death) (1 child)
Nigel McGown Green (15 October 1924 – 15 May 1972) was a South African-born English character actor. Because of his strapping build and commanding demeanour he would often be found playing military types and men of action in such classic sixties films as Jason and the Argonauts, Zulu, Tobruk and The Ipcress File.
Early life and career
The son of a professor, Green attended King's College School, Wimbledon and the University of London followed by the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. During the Second World War, he trained as an Observer in the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm.
He appeared on stage at the Old Vic before making his first forays into British films and television in the mid-1950s.
Early film roles include Reach for the Sky (1956), The Criminal (1960), The League of Gentlemen (1960), and Beat Girl (1960). His large physique led to his being cast as Little John in the 1960 film Sword of Sherwood Forest.
In 1963 he had one of his most memorable roles as Hercules in Jason and the Argonauts. The following year his profile was raised dramatically following his co-starring role as Colour Sergeant Frank Bourne in Zulu. In 1965 he took a turn as leading man, playing Nayland Smith in The Face of Fu Manchu. The same year also saw another of his most memorable roles as Major Dalby in The Ipcress File where he played the superior and nemesis of Michael Caine's secret agent Harry Palmer.
Other roles include Carl Petersen in Bulldog Drummond movie Deadlier Than the Male (1967), Count Contini in the Matt Helm film The Wrecking Crew (1969) and "Lord Ashley's Whore" in John Huston's The Kremlin Letter (1969).
Green also appeared in a number of horror films including Corridors of Blood (1958), The Masque of the Red Death (1964), as the father of Jane Asher's character, The Skull (1965), Let's Kill Uncle (1966) and Countess Dracula (1971).
His last role was as "the Electric Messiah", a mental patient believing himself to be God, in The Ruling Class (1972).
Television appearances include The Adventures of Sir Lancelot, The Adventures of William Tell, The Other Man, Danger Man, The Power Game, The Avengers, Sherlock Holmes, Jason King, The Protectors and The Persuaders!.
Green's first wife was the actress Patricia Marmont. His second wife was the actress Pamela Gordon, with whom he had one daughter.
Green died following an overdose of sleeping pills in 1972, aged 47. It is unknown if his death was intentional. Peter O'Toole said on his commentary on The Ruling Class that he believed Green was very depressed, and that his death shortly after filming ended was a suicide, although Green's family believed it to be accidental. He was separated from Gordon at the time.
- Hall, Sheldon (2014). "Green, Nigel McGown (1924–1972)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/94147.
- McGillivray, D. (1988). "Now you know". Films and Filming (London) 34 (April 1988): 47. ISSN 0015-167X.