Robert Eddison

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Robert Leadam Eddison

Born(1908-06-10)10 June 1908
Died14 December 1991(1991-12-14) (aged 83)
Years active1938–1991

Robert Leadam Eddison, OBE (10 June 1908 – 14 December 1991) was an English actor, who is probably most widely remembered in the role of the Grail Knight in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. He also played Merlin in the BBC television series The Legend of King Arthur, and the tragic ferryman in The Storyteller episode "The Luck Child."


Eddison was born in Blackburn, Lancashire to Edwin Eddison and Hilda Muriel Leadham. He had a twin brother Talbot Leadam Eddison. Their youngest brother was Roger Eddison. Through his paternal grandmother, Anna Paulina Tatham of Philadelphia, he was related to the Tatham Brothers Iron pipe manufacturers of Philadelphia. As his paternal great-grandfather Henry Billington Tatham's name suggests, he was a descendant of the Billington family who came to America from England on the Mayflower.

During the Second World War he served in the Royal Navy, including a time aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious.

Eddison was known for his resonant, baritone voice and long, lean figure. He performed William Shakespeare and other classics, was noted for his Hamlet at the Old Vic, and later playing the comic roles of Feste and Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night, and King Lear on the New York stage. He was also a familiar figure in plays by Ibsen, Chekhov, and Sophocles, and played Canon Chasuble in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest.

Eddison also made his mark in radio, in countless BBC dramas through the decades, with some of his last roles including Death in The Canterbury Tales and parts in an adaptation of Japanese Noh plays. His television work included a bravura performance as Uncle Silas in a 1968 production for the Thames Television series Mystery and Imagination. His film career was limited, but included a supporting role in Peter Ustinov's 1948 comedy Vice Versa, the electrical 'Nick' in The Boy Who Turned Yellow (1972), the college president in American Friends (1991), and small but notable role in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade as the ancient Grail Knight.

Eddison died of bronchial pneumonia at a London hospital in 1991, aged 83.



  • Benedick, Adam. "Obituary: Robert Eddison." The Independent. December 16, 1991.

Hanson, Norman. Carrier Pilot [autobiography]

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