Peter Ewart Ohm
4 April 1923
|Died||6 December 2016 (aged 93)|
|Education||Uttoxeter Grammar School|
(m. 1952; div. 1966)
Peter Vaughan (born Peter Ewart Ohm; 4 April 1923 – 6 December 2016) was an English character actor known for many supporting roles in British film and television productions. He also acted extensively on the stage.
He was best known for his role as Grouty in the sitcom Porridge (despite appearing in only three episodes and in the 1979 film), and had a recurring role alongside Robert Lindsay in Citizen Smith, written by John Sullivan. He played Tom Franklin in Chancer (1990–1991), the father of Anthony Hopkins's character in The Remains of the Day, and Maester Aemon in HBO's Game of Thrones (2011–2015), his final role.
Vaughn was born Peter Ewart Ohm on 4 April 1923 in Wem, Shropshire, the son of a bank clerk, Max Ohm, who was an Austrian immigrant, and Eva Wright, a nurse. The family later moved to Wellington, in the same county, where he began his schooling. Vaughan said that while reciting a poem at infant school in Wellington he first experienced the applause and admiration coming from a good performance. From the age of seven he lived in Staffordshire, where he attended Uttoxeter Grammar School.
After leaving school, Vaughan joined the Wolverhampton Repertory Theatre, and gained experience in other repertory theatres as well, before army service during the Second World War. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Royal Corps of Signals on 9 June 1943, and served in Normandy, Belgium, and the Far East. At the end of the war, Vaughan was in Singapore during the liberation of Changi Prison.
Vaughan made his film debut in 1959 in an uncredited role as a police officer in The 39 Steps. He continued for several years to play small parts, including more cameos as policemen in Village of the Damned and The Victors, before gaining his first starring role, in a minor picture called Smokescreen (1964), where he played an insurance assessor investigating a businessman’s disappearance in one of the last, and best, of the old-style British B-movies. In 1967, he received second billing opposite Frank Sinatra in the film The Naked Runner. His performance was not well received by critics who accused him of overacting in his role as a British agent. He played Mr. Freeman in Karel Reisz's 1980 The French Lieutenant's Woman, alongside Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons.
Possibly Vaughan’s highest-profile film performance was as the father of Anthony Hopkins's character in The Remains of the Day (1993). He was also cast in Terry Gilliam's The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, but had not shot any material before that project was abandoned. He had previously appeared for Gilliam in Time Bandits and Brazil. Vaughan appeared as a menacing character in Straw Dogs (1971), and with Bill Murray in a film of W. Somerset Maugham's novel The Razor's Edge in 1984. In 1996, he appeared as Giles Corey in The Crucible, and in 1997 he appeared alongside Robert Carlyle and Ray Winstone in Face. In 1998, Vaughan played Bishop Myriel in Les Misérables, alongside Liam Neeson. His most unusual role may have been as SS Obergruppenführer Arthur Nebe in the 1994 film of Robert Harris's novel Fatherland.
Vaughan became known for his performances on television, including supporting roles in Porridge (as "Genial" Harry Grout) and Citizen Smith as Charles Johnson (his role in the latter series was taken over by Tony Steedman). Vaughan's role in Porridge brought him a great deal of public recognition despite his character appearing in only three episodes and in the 1979 film of the series. In 1975, he appeared as Tony Kirby in an episode of the hard hitting police drama The Sweeney entitled Stay Lucky, Eh?
In 1969, Vaughan appeared in Randall and Hopkirk in the episode "Never Trust a Ghost". In the same year, he starred in the thirteen-part London Weekend Television TV series The Gold Robbers. In December 1972 ,he appeared as Mr. Paxton in the BBC television adaptation of the M.R. James ghost story A Warning to the Curious, shown as part of their annual series A Ghost Story for Christmas.
Vaughan starred as Billy Fox in the Thames Television series Fox (1980). The saga was written by Trevor Preston, directed by Jim Goddard, and produced by Verity Lambert. Other Fox family members were played by Elizabeth Spriggs, Ray Winstone, Larry Lamb, and Bernard Hill. Historical roles Vaughan played include those of Russian foreign minister Alexander Izvolsky in the serial Fall of Eagles (1974), British politician Thomas Inskip in the mini-series Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years (1981), the title role in A Last Visitor for Mr. Hugh Peter (1981), and German Nazi figures Kurt Zeitzler in the miniseries War and Remembrance (1988) and Hermann Göring in the Granada Television-PBS docu-drama Countdown to War (1989). He also appeared in many literary adaptations, such as Bleak House (BBC, 1985), in which he played the sinister lawyer Mr. Tulkinghorn, and Our Mutual Friend (BBC Two, 1998). Other television work includes the espionage thriller Codename: Kyril (1988), in a lead role as the head of the KGB.
In 1986, Vaughan appeared in the promotional video for Kate Bush's "Experiment IV" single. In 1991, he played John Turner with a convincing Australian accent in an episode of Granada Television's The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes titled '"The Boscombe Valley Mystery".
Vaughan later attained particular acclaim for his supporting role as the Alzheimer's sufferer Felix Hutchinson in Our Friends in the North (BBC Two, 1996), a role that garnered a Best Actor nomination at the 1997 British Academy Television Awards.. He played the clockmaker George Graham in Longitude, the TV drama adaptation of Dava Sobel's eponymous non-fiction novel about the quest for a means to determine longitude at sea.
In 2007, Vaughan starred in the television series Mobile, and as Uncle Alfie in the film Death at a Funeral. In 2011, Vaughan starred as Michael Dodd in the BBC courtroom drama Silk. His final role, between 2011 and 2015, was Maester Aemon in the HBO series Game of Thrones.
Vaughan was heard as Superintendent Kirk in the BBC dramatisation of Dorothy L. Sayers' Peter Wimsey novel Busman's Honeymoon, and as Denethor in the 1981 BBC Radio production of The Lord of the Rings.
Personal life and death
The first of Vaughan's two marriages was to Billie Whitelaw, whom he married in 1952 and divorced in 1966. His second wife was actress Lillias Walker, with whom he lived in the village of Mannings Heath, in West Sussex, until his death, having previously lived in Crawley. His stepdaughter Victoria Burton (actress and producer) is married to Gregor Fisher.
Vaughan appeared in the following films and television series:
- The 39 Steps (1959) as 2nd Police Constable on Train (uncredited)
- Sapphire (1959) as Detective Whitehead (uncredited)
- Village of the Damned (1960) as P.C. Gobby
- Make Mine Mink (1960) as Policeman in Car (uncredited)
- Two Living, One Dead (1961) as John Kester
- The Court Martial of Major Keller (1961) as Purvey
- I Thank a Fool (1962) as Police Inspector
- The Devil's Agent (1962) as Chief of Hungarian Police
- The Punch and Judy Man (1963) as Committee Man
- The Victors (1963) as Policeman
- Smokescreen (1964) as Roper
- Fanatic (1965) as Harry
- Rotten to the Core (1965) as Sir Henry Capell
- The Naked Runner (1967) as Martin Slattery
- The Man Outside (1967) as Nikolai Volkov
- Great Expectations (1967, TV series) as Mr. Jaggers
- The Bofors Gun (1968) as Sgt. Walker
- Hammerhead (1968) as Hammerhead
- A Twist of Sand (1968) as Johann
- Alfred the Great (1969) as Burrud
- Taste of Excitement (1970) as Inspector Malling
- Eyewitness (1970) as Paul Grazzini
- Straw Dogs (1971) as Tom Hedden
- The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes (1971, TV Series) as Horace Dorrington
- The Pied Piper (1972) as Bishop
- Savage Messiah (1972) as Museum Attendant
- A Warning to the Curious (1972) as Mr Paxton
- The Return (1973) as Steven Royds
- The Blockhouse (1973) as Aufret
- The MacKintosh Man (1973) as Brunskill
- Malachi's Cove (1973) as Mr. Gunliffe
- Massacre in Rome (1973) as Gen. Albert Kesselring
- Symptoms (1974) as Brady
- 11 Harrowhouse (1974) as Coglin
- Intimate Reflections (1975) as Saleman
- Valentino (1977) as Rory O'Neil
- Zulu Dawn (1979) as Q.S.M. Bloomfield
- Porridge (1979) as Harry Grout
- Fox (1980)
- Time Bandits (1981) as Winston the Ogre
- The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981) as Mr. Freeman
- Coming Out of the Ice (1982) as Belov
- The Razor's Edge (1984) as Mackenzie
- Forbidden (1984) as Major Stauffel
- Brazil (1985) as Mr. Helpmann
- Sins (1986, TV miniseries) as Chief Prosecutor
- Monte Carlo (1986, TV miniseries) as Pabst
- Haunted Honeymoon (1986) as Francis Abbot Sr.
- Coast to Coast (1987) as The Chiropodist
- Countdown to War (1989) as Hermann Göring
- Mountains of the Moon (1990) as Lord Houghton
- King of the Wind (1990) as Captain
- Prisoner of Honor (1991) as Gen. Mercier
- Lovejoy “The Prague Sun” (1992) as Marek
- Nightingales (1993) as William Stevens
- The Remains of the Day (1993) as William Stevens
- Dandelion Dead (1994) as Doctor Hinks
- Fatherland (1994) as Nebe
- The Secret Agent (1996) as The Driver
- The Crucible (1996) as Giles Corey
- Our Friends in the North (1996) as Felix Hutchinson
- The Moonstone (1997) as Gabriel Betterege
- Face (1997) as Sonny
- Our Mutual Friend (1998, TV Mini-Series) as Mr. Boffin
- Les misérables (1998) as the Bishop
- The Legend of 1900 (1998) as 'Pops', the Shopkeeper
- The Good Son (1998) as Mick Doyle
- An Ideal Husband (1999) as Phipps
- Horatio Hornblower: The Wrong War (1999, TV Movie) as Admiral Lord Hood
- Canone inverso – Making Love (2000) as Old Baron Blau
- Longitude (2000) as George Graham
- The 10th Kingdom (2000) as Wilfred Peep
- Hotel Splendide (2000) as Morton Blanche
- Second Sight (2000, TV Series) as Harold King (guest appearance, episode Kingdom of the Blind)
- Kiss Kiss (2001) as Daddy Zoo
- The Jury (2002, TV Series) as Michael Colchester
- The Mother (2003) as Toots
- Thursday the 12th (2003, TV movie) as Edgar Bannister
- The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004) as Bill Sellers
- The Queen of Sheba's Pearls (2004) as Edward Pretty
- Heartbeat 2005 as Mr. Andrews
- Care (2006) as Archie
- Death at a Funeral (2007) as Uncle Alfie
- Lark Rise to Candleford (2008-2011, TV Series) as Reverend Ellison
- Is Anybody There? (2008) as Bob
- Doc Martin (2011, TV Series) as William Newcross (guest appearance)
- Silk (2011, TV Series) as Michael Dodd (guest appearance)
- Albatross (2011) as Grandpa
- Game of Thrones (2011-2015, TV Series) as Maester Aemon (11 episodes; recurring) (final role)
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