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Summary Article: Cushing, Peter
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

English actor. Elegant and often sinister, he specialized in horror roles in films made at Hammer studios 1957–73, including Dracula (1958), The Mummy (1959), and Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969). Other films include Doctor Who and the Daleks (1966), Star Wars (1977), and Top Secret (1984).

Cushing first played the role of Baron Frankenstein in 1957 and Count Dracula in 1958, bestowing on each a touch of class and quality. Although his success in the Hammer films led to his being typecast within that genre, he was able to venture into other fields, and played Sherlock Holmes in the film Hound of the Baskervilles (1959).

Born in Kenley, Surrey, Cushing made his professional stage debut in 1935 with Worthing Repertory Company. In 1938 he went to the USA, remaining there for four years and appearing in several films, among them The Man in the Iron Mask (1939) and the Laurel and Hardy comedy A Chump at Oxford (1940). Back in Britain, he joined the Entertainments National Service Association to entertain the troops during World War II, and after the war toured Australia and New Zealand with Laurence Olivier's Old Vic theatre company. He also played Osric in Olivier's film of Hamlet (1948). But it was on television that his career took off, in a wide range of classic and modern drama. He played Winston Smith in a dramatization of George Orwell's 1984 (1954), which provoked a public outcry over its torture scenes, and appeared in the TV movie Masks of Death (1984).

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Cushing, Peter

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