Donald Pleasence OBE

Although firmly established as a villain, Pleasence gradually eased himself into horror films such as Halloween (1978), The Devonsville Terror (1979), and Buried Alive (1990); commenting on this phase of his career, once mused

"I only appear in odd films."

One of his few "mainstream" appearances during this period was virtually invisible. Pleasence is seen and prominently billed as a rabbi in Carl Reiner's 'Oh, God!' (1977), but the role was deemed dispensable and all the actor's lines were cut.

He also was an important contributor to American and British television. On American television, he starred in segments of The Twilight Zone, Columbo, and Orson Welles’ Great Mysteries. In Britain, he scored a major coup with the television version of George Orwell’s famous play '1984', for which he won the Guild of TV Producer’s Award as Actor of the Year.

He excelled in such diverse roles as that of the Nazi S.S. chief, Heinrich Himmler in 'The Eagle Has Landed', to his slapstick role in the comedy-western 'The Hallelujah Trail'. It was during the filming of Halloween that Pleasence met director John Carpenter who recast him in his thrillers 'Escape From New York' and 'Prince of Darkness'. It should be said that Pleasence had an ability to rise above some of the material he off times found himself working with.

Pleasence continued to work steadily in the 1980s and early '90s -- making 17 pictures alone in 1987-1989 -- before undergoing heart surgery in 1994; he died from complications two months later. Married four times, the actor was the father of six daughters, among them actress Angela Pleasence.


'At the end of the first Halloween, when I shot 6 bullets into Michael Myers, John Carpenter said, Let's get a shot of you looking out of the window and seeing no one lying there'

'I'm an actor, and it just happens that most of what I'm doing today is horror films. So what am I supposed to do-not work?'

'Steve McQueen was a bit difficult'


Suggested films to see:

Halloween (1978)
The Great Escape (1963)
You Only Live Twice (1967)



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