Playing Thomas Jefferson
|Born||Richard Curwen Wordsworth
19 January 1915
Halesowen, Worcestershire, England
|Died||21 November 1993
As a young man he followed in the footsteps of his clergyman father, reading Divinity at Cambridge University. But he quickly found acting more to his taste and, after performing at the Cambridge Footlights, he decided to study drama at the Embassy School of Acting in London.
This proved an excellent choice. He quickly developed a talent for character acting which sustained him and his family through a long and richly varied career. In classical theatre he worked with John Gielgud, Donald Wolfit, Anthony Quayle and Richard Burton. After successful Shakespearian seasons at the Old Vic and Stratford-upon-Avon, he starred in the musical Lock Up Your Daughters which launched the Mermaid Theatre in London. He also found success as Captain Hook in several Christmas productions of Peter Pan. Later he would tour Australia as Fagin in the musical Oliver which he also produced.
His film career included a standout performance as the monstrous astronaut in The Quatermass Xperiment, a highly regarded cult film which launched Hammer Horror Films. Later he played a scene as a sinister taxidermist with Jimmy Stewart (whom he described as 'a perfect gentleman') in Alfred Hitchcock's second version of The Man Who Knew Too Much. He also played leading parts in British TV dramas such as Hunting Tower and The Tripods.
In the final decades of his life he developed The Bliss of Solitude a one-man tribute to his great ancestor with which he toured England, Scotland and the United States. He also founded the Wordsworth Summer School - a week of poetry, lectures and walks in his beloved English Lake District.
- The Quatermass Xperiment (1955)
- The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
- Time Without Pity (1957)
- The Camp on Blood Island (1958)
- The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)
- The Curse of the Werewolf (1961)
- Lock Up Your Daughters (1969)