Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Godspeed Peter Vaughan

Prolific character actor Peter Vaughan, who appeared in TV shows from The Avengers to Porridge, as well as numerous movies, died yesterday, December 6 2016, at the age of 93.

Peter Vaughan was born Peter Ohm in Wem, Shropshire on April 4 1923. His family later moved to Wellington, Shropshire and, when he was seven years old, Staffordshire. He joined the Wolverhampton Repertory theatre after leaving school. His acting career would be interrupted by World War II. He was drafted into the British Army in 1942. He served in Belgium, Normandy, and the eastern front.

Following the war Mr. Vaughan returned to the stage. He made his television debut in 1954 in an episode of Stage by Stage. He had a recurring role on the TV series Deadline Midnight. He guest starred on such shows as Tales from Soho, BBC Sunday-Night Theatre, The Adventures of Ben Gunn, Mary Britten M.D., Saturday Playhouse, Interpol Calling, Probation Officer, Inside Story, Knight Errant Limited., and Man from Interpol. He appeared in the miniseries Potts and the Phantom Piper He made his film debut in 1959 in The 39 Steps. He appeared in the films Sapphire (1959), Village of the Damned (1960), and Make Mine Mink (1960).

In the Sixties Mr. Vaughan appeared on such miniseries as A Chance of Thunder, Oliver Twist, Quick Before They Catch Us, Great Expectations, Treasure Island, and The Gold Robbers. He guest starred on such shows as Top Secret, Richard the Lionheart, No Hiding Place, Hancock, Maupassant, Espionage, The Saint, Dixon of Dock Green, Coronation Street, Public Eye, Adam Adamant Lives!, Armchair Theatre, The Avengers, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), and Strange Report. He appeared in such films as Two Living, One Dead (1961), The Court Martial of Major Keller (1961),  Smokescreen (1964), Fanatic (1965), Rotten to the Core (1965), The Naked Runner (1967), The Man Outside (1967), The Bofors Gun (1968), Hammerhead (1968), A Twist of Sand (1968), Alfred the Great (1969), Taste of Excitement (1969), and Eyewitness (1970).

In the Seventies Peter Vaughan was one of the stars of the TV comedy Citizen Smith and had a recurring role on the TV series Fox. He appeared in three episodes of Porridge as Harry Grout (better known as Grouty). He appeared in the miniseries The Pallisers, Härte 10, The Doombolt Chase, and The Danedyke Mystery. He guest starred on such shows as The Persuaders!, The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes, The Adventurer, Thriller, The Protectors, The Sweeney, Crown Court, and The Morecambe & Wise Show. He appeared in such films as Straw Dogs (1971), The Pied Piper (1972), Savage Messiah (1972), The Blockhouse (1973), The MacKintosh Man (1973), Rappresaglia (1973), Malachi's Cove (1973), 11 Harrowhouse (1974), Valentino (1977), Zulu Dawn (1979), and Porridge (1979).

In the Eighties Peter Vaughan appeared in the films Time Bandits (1981), The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981), The Razor's Edge (1984), Forbidden (1984), Brazil (1985), Haunted Honeymoon (1986), Mountains of the Moon (1990), and  King of the Wind (1990). He appeared in the miniseries Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years, Bleak House, Codename: Kyril, The Bourne Identity, and War and Remembrance.

In the Nineties Mr. Vaughan was a regular on the TV series Chancer, Dandelion Dead, The Choir, and Our Friend in the North. He appeared in Our Mutual Friend and The 10th Kingdom. He guest starred on The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes, Boon, Lovejoy, and Nightingales. He appeared in the films The Remains of the Day (1993), The Secret Agent (1996), The Crucible (1996), Face (1997), The Good Son (1998), Les Misérables (1998), The Legend of 1900 (1998), An Ideal Husband (1999), and Hotel Splendide (2000).

In the Naughts Peter Vaughan had a regular role on the TV series The Jury. He guest starred on Casualty, Heartbeat, Lark Rise to Candleford, and Holby Blue. He appeared in the films The Mother (2003), The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004), The Queen of Sheba's Pearls (2004), Care (2006), Death at a Funeral (2007), and Is Anybody There? (2008).

In the Teens Peter Vaughan appeared in the film Ablatross (2011). He guest starred on Silk and Doc Martin. He had a recurring role on Game of Thrones.

Peter Vaughan was a remarkable actor with incredible range. He could play a wide variety of roles and play them well. In Straw Dogs he played the rather violent town drunk Tom Hedden. In Death at a Funeral he played Uncle Alfie, a crusty but somewhat neurotic old man. In Fanatic he played the ill-fated servant Harry. Mr. Vaughan even played Bondian villains, starring as the title character in Hammehead. His television roles were no less diverse. In the Avengers episode "My Wildest Dream", he played Dr. A. Jaeger, the head of a clinic who may well be programming people to commit murder in their sleep. Of course, on Porridge he played Grouty, the master schemer who seems to have control over everything that goes on in the prison. He played a wide variety of literary characters on television, including Bill Sikes in Oliver Twist, Mr. Jaggers in Great Expectations, and Long John Silver in Treasure Island. Peter Vaughan appeared in a wide variety of roles and played nearly all of them well.

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