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Summary Article: Pleasence, Donald
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

English character actor. He specialized in sinister or mysterious roles; for example, the devious, aggressive tramp in Harold Pinter's The Caretaker (1960), which he also played in the film version of 1963. His other films include Dr Crippen (1962), Will Penny (1968) and The Eagle Has Landed (1976), in which he played the Nazi Himmler.

Pleasence made his first film appearance in 1954 and, after graduating to featured roles, only occasionally returned to the stage, though he had success as a Nazi war criminal in The Man in the Glass Booth (1968), and in 1990 reprised the tramp's role in a revival of The Caretaker. In more sympathetic guise, he played the investigating psychiatrist in the influential horror film Halloween (1978). Other films include Roman Polanski's Cul de Sac (1966), Soldier Blue (1970), The Last Tycoon (1976), and he played James Bond's adversary Blofeld in You Only Live Twice (1967). He was one of the most prolific of British film and television actors.

Pleasence was born in Nottinghamshire. He failed an audition for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and took a job as assistant stage manager in Jersey, progressing to his London stage debut in 1942. After service in the Royal Air Force in World War II, including a spell as a prisoner of war, he continued to play small parts in London's West End and at Birmingham Repertory, and in 1953 had a season at Stratford-upon-Avon.


Pleasence, Donald

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