Thursday, February 7, 2008

Kevin Stoney Passes On

British actor Kevin Stoney, perhaps best known for playing villains in three popular Dr. Who serials and a number of other British genre series, passed on January 20 at the age of 86. The cause was skin cancer.

Kevin Stoney was born in 1921. He entered acting in repertory theatre. His career was interrupted by World War II, during which he served a stint in the RAF in the Middle East. Following the war he returned to the theatre, appearing in West End productions. Although an accomplished stage actor, he would perhaps be best known for his many appearances in British TV shows. He made his television debut in 1955 on BBC Sunday Night Theatre: The Voices. He made his film debut two years later in a bit part in How to Murder a Rich Uncle. Over the next several years he would appear in such TV series as William Tell, Armchair Theatre, and The Adventures of Robin Hood.

It would be in the Sixties that Kevin Stoney would come into his own as a television actor. The United Kingdom was in the grip of a spy craze that would eventually spread to Canada and the United States. As a result, Stoney was very much in demand as a villain or other ominous characters. He made guest appearances on The Saint, Danger Man, The Avengers, and Man in a Suitcase. He made a notable guest appearance on The Prisoner as Colonel J. in "The Chimes of Big Ben." Perhaps his best known role in the Sixties was playing Mavic Chen on Dr. Who in "The Daleks' Master Plan" and later Tobias Vaughn in "The Invasion (which featured Dr. Who's other archnemeses, the Cybermen)." He also appeared in a few movies, including Strongroom, Murder at the Gallop, The Blood Beast Terror, and Contract to Kill.

In the Seventies Stoney would be a regular on the TV series Spy Trap, playing the role of Trent. He would make a return appearance on Dr. Who, this time playing Tyrum in Revenge of the Cybermen. He also made appearances on Space 1999, The New Avengers, and Quatermass Conclusion. He played Thrasyllus in the serial I Claudius. In the Eighties he appeared on such series as Blakes 7, The Hammer House of Horror, Hannay, and All Creatures Great and Small. He had a notable role on Bergerac, playing "Horatio" Nelson.

Kevin Stoney was one of the many character actors who made British television so great in the Sixties. He could play a domineering villain such as Mavic Chen on Dr. Who with ease, then turn around and play Number Six's rather less threatening former boss on The Prisoner. He could play a heavy on Danger Man and an oracle on I Claudius equally with ease. Few actors were quite as versatile as Kevin Stoney. He certainly deserved to be remembered for his talent.

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