|British character actor DONALD PLEASENCE is a master of the villainous or offbeat roles and is known for giving the most demanding parts the attention and verve needed to make them memorable and to establish himself as one of the most sought after performers on both sides of the Atlantic.
Pleasence has excelled in such diverse roles as that of the Nazi Reichsfuhrer S.S. chief, Heinrich Himmler in The Eagle Has Landed, to his slapstick role in the comedy-western The Hallelujah Trail, to the psychiatrist in the now classic horror film Halloween. 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.
His other films include Look Back in Anger, Hell Is A City, The Great Escape, The Caretaker, The Greatest Story Ever Told, You Only Live Twice, Will Penny, Soldier Blue, Outback, Fantastic Voyage, Hearts Of The West, The Last Tycoon, Telefon, Oh, God, Escape To Witch Mountain and Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band .
Pleasences background reads like a movie script itself. Born in England, he studied acting with a repertory group in Jersey and then went on to join repertory groups in Plymouth, Birmingham and Bristol.
When World War II broke out, Pleasence put his acting career on hold while serving as a radio operator. His plane was shot down during a mission over Germany and he was captured. He spent the remainder of the war in a P.O.W. camp.
Pleasence resumed his acting career when invited by Laurence Olivier to join his American touring company. The actor, known for his broad style and adaptability to any role has been working steadily since.
Donald Pleasence is also 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 Orwells famous play 1984, for which he won the Guild of TV Producers Award as Actor of the Year.
Donald Pleasence is married to young Israeli folksinger, Miera Shore. They reside at Chiswick in West London. Pleasence has five daughters (four of them from previous marriages) who visit him frequently in his house overlooking the River Thames.