Hugh Armstrong (actor)

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Hugh Armstrong
Hugh Armstrong (actor).jpg
Born1944
Died26 January 2016(2016-01-26) (aged 71–72)
NationalityBritish
OccupationActor
WebsiteIMDb

Hugh Armstrong (1944 – 26 January 2016) was a British stage, television and film actor.[1] He is best known for his portrayal of the monster in the 1972 cult British horror movie, Death Line, and as Harry Wax in How to Get Ahead in Advertising, acting alongside Richard E. Grant.[2] Armstrong's performance in Death Line was said to have achieved the impossible by making a 'grotesque violent cannibal seem pitiful and sympathetic'.[3] His obituary, written in the magazine of his old school by Clive Akass, stated that 'life was Hugh's theatre. He was a travelling entertainment and until the illness that marred his later years, and sometimes even then, he brought laughter wherever he went'.[2]

Life[edit]

Armstrong was born in 1944 and educated in Bedford at Bedford Modern School.[2] After a brief spell in the army he decided to take up acting, initially training at the Rose Bruford drama school.[2]

Armstrong's first major role was as Ted the chauffeur in the 1968 film Prudence and the Pill, starring David Niven and Deborah Kerr.[4][2][5] His next major role was playing the monster in Death Line alongside Donald Pleasence and Christopher Lee; his performance was said to have achieved the impossible by making a 'grotesque violent cannibal seem pitiful and sympathetic'.[3][6]

Following his role in the 1972 film, Eagle in a Cage, Armstrong spent many years travelling the world, spending several years in India.[7][2] He formed a theatre company at the Pune ashram of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and under his direction the company toured India, at one point performing before Indira Gandhi.[2] As a member of the Rajneesh movement he left India for the United States, but left before the movement's scandalous collapse in Oregon.[2]

Armstrong returned to work in the UK in film and television productions.[2] He appeared as Jun Priest in the 1982 film, The Beastmaster, and played Harry Wax in How to Get Ahead in Advertising alongside Richard E. Grant.[8][9] He took part in a number of television series throughout the 1990s and his final role was in the 2007 TV movie, Stuart: A Life Backwards.[10]

In addition to his work in film and television, Armstrong was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and later the National Theatre.[2] In 1975 he played R.P. McMurphy in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool alongside Bill Nighy and Julie Walters.[2][11]

Armstrong died on 26 January 2016.[2] His obituary, written in the magazine of his old school by Clive Akass, stated that 'life was Hugh's theatre. He was a travelling entertainment and until the illness that marred his later years, and sometimes even then, he brought laughter wherever he went'.[2]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1989 How to Get Ahead in Advertising Harry Wax
1982 The Beastmaster Jun Priest
1972 Eagle in a Cage English soldier
1972 Death Line The Man
1970 Girly Friend in No. 5
1968 Prudence and the Pill Ted the chauffeur
1968 Tell Me Lies Guest

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2007 Stuart: A Life Backwards Old Drunk
2002 Barbara Wood – Spiel des Schicksals Albert Rossiter
1999 Kiss Me Kate Dad
1989–98 The Bill Billy Baines (1989), Declan Keely (1998)
1993 London's Burning Ken Episode 6.7
1992–1993 Between the Lines Det. Supt. Alwyne (1992), Chief Whip (1993)
1993 Screenplay Police Inspector
1992 Tales from the Poop Deck Amos
1991 Minder Station Officer
1990 The Widowmaker Michael Finch
1989 Crime Monthly Det. Insp. Steve Hobbs
1971 UFO SHADO Mobile 3 Officer
1967 The Wednesday Play Nightclub guest

References[edit]

  1. ^ Obituary in Eagle News, The Magazine of the Old Bedford Modernians' Club, Issue 113, Summer 2016
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Obituary in Eagle News, The Magazine of the Old Bedford Modernians' Club, Issue 113, Summer 2016, p.24
  3. ^ a b Johnson, Tom; Miller, Mark A. (27 April 2004). "The Christopher Lee Filmography: All Theatrical Releases, 1948–2003". McFarland. Retrieved 1 September 2016 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Fowler, Karin J. (1 January 1995). "David Niven: A Bio-bibliography". Greenwood Publishing Group. Retrieved 1 September 2016 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Staff, Variety (1 January 1968). "Review: 'Prudence and the Pill'". Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  6. ^ feringea (19 January 2013). "Mind the doors…it's Death Line!". Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  7. ^ Gifford, Denis (1 April 2016). "British Film Catalogue: Two Volume Set – The Fiction Film/The Non-Fiction Film". Routledge. Retrieved 1 September 2016 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ Clark, Al (1 October 1983). "The Film Yearbook, 1984". Random House Publishing Group. Retrieved 1 September 2016 – via Google Books.
  9. ^ Cinebooks (1 August 1990). "The Motion Picture Annual: 1990". CineBooks. Retrieved 1 September 2016 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ "STUART – A LIFE BACKWARDS – British Board of Film Classification". Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  11. ^ "Everyman Theatre Archive Database". Retrieved 1 September 2016.

External links[edit]