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Martin Benson (actor)

Martin Benson (actor)

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Martin Benjamin Benson (10 August 191828 February 2010) was an English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 character
Character actor
A character actor is one who predominantly plays unusual or eccentric characters. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a character actor as "an actor who specializes in character parts", defining character part in turn as "an acting role displaying pronounced or unusual characteristics or...

 actor
Actor
An actor is a person who acts in a dramatic production and who works in film, television, theatre, or radio in that capacity...

, who appeared in film
Film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

s, theatre
Theatre
Theatre is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music or dance...

 and television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

. He appeared in both British and Hollywood
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
Hollywood is a famous district in Los Angeles, California, United States situated west-northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Due to its fame and cultural identity as the historical center of movie studios and movie stars, the word Hollywood is often used as a metonym of American cinema...

 productions.

Career


He is remembered for his role as the Kralaholme in the original London production of The King and I
The King and I
The King and I is a stage musical, the fifth by the team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. The work is based on the 1944 novel Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon and derives from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, who became governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in...

, a role he recreated in the Oscar winning film version.

Appearing in films for over six decades, Benson played mostly supporting characters or villains. His films include The Blind Goddess (1948), Wheel of Fate (1953), Interpol (1957), The Strange World of Planet X
The Strange World of Planet X (film)
The Strange World of Planet X is a British science fiction horror film, and a cautionary tale about science. It was also known as Cosmic Monsters, The Crawling Terror, The Cosmic Monster, and The Crawling Horror....

(1958), Once More, with Feeling!
Once More, with Feeling!
Once More, with Feeling! is a British comedy film directed and produced by Stanley Donen from a screenplay by Harry Kurnitz, based on his play. The film was released by Columbia Pictures and has music by Franz Liszt, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Richard Wagner, arranged by Muir Mathieson...

(1959), Exodus (1960), Five Golden Hours
Five Golden Hours
Five Golden Hours is a 1961 Italian-British comedy film directed by Mario Zampi and written by Hans Wilhelm. It stars Ernie Kovacs, Cyd Charisse and George Sanders, and features Dennis Price and John Le Mesurier.-Plot:...

(1961), A Shot in the Dark
A Shot in the Dark (1964 film)
A Shot in the Dark is a 1964 comedy film directed by Blake Edwards and is the second installment in the Pink Panther series. Peter Sellers is featured again as Inspector Jacques Clouseau of the French Sûreté...

(1964), Pope Joan
Pope Joan (1972 film)
Pope Joan is a 1972 British drama film based on the story of Pope Joan.. It was directed by Michael Anderson and has a cast which includes Liv Ullmann , Olivia de Havilland, Lesley-Anne Down, Franco Nero and Maximillian Schell....

(1972), The Sea Wolves
The Sea Wolves
The Sea Wolves is a 1980 war film starring Gregory Peck, Roger Moore and David Niven. The film is based on the book Boarding Party by James Leasor, which itself is based on a real incident which took place in World War II...

(1980) and Angela's Ashes
Angela's Ashes (film)
Angela's Ashes is a 1999 Irish-American drama film based on the memoir of the same title by Frank McCourt. It was directed by Alan Parker and starred Emily Watson, Robert Carlyle, Joe Breen, Ciaran Owens, and Michael Legge .-Plot:Angela's Ashes tells the story of Frank McCourt and his childhood...

(1999).

He also had an uncredited role in MGM's hit historical film, Ivanhoe
Ivanhoe (1952 film)
Ivanhoe is a 1952 historical film made by MGM. It was directed by Richard Thorpe and produced by Pandro S. Berman. The cast featured Robert Taylor, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, Emlyn Williams, Finlay Currie and Felix Aylmer...

, and in 1963 he acted in another historic
film, as Ramos in Cleopatra
Cleopatra (1963 film)
Cleopatra is a 1963 British-American-Swiss epic drama film directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. The screenplay was adapted by Sidney Buchman, Ben Hecht, Ranald MacDougall, and Mankiewicz from a book by Carlo Maria Franzero. The film starred Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Rex Harrison, Roddy...

(which also starred Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor
Dame Elizabeth Rosemond "Liz" Taylor, DBE was a British-American actress. From her early years as a child star with MGM, she became one of the great screen actresses of Hollywood's Golden Age...

). Benson played both serious roles, such as Ali in Killers of Kilimanjaro
Killers of Kilimanjaro
Killers of Kilimanjaro is a 1959 British CinemaScope adventure film directed by Richard Thorpe and starring Robert Taylor, Anthony Newley, Anne Aubrey and Donald Pleasence for Warwick Films. The story was inspired by actual incidents of the Tsavo maneaters recounted in the book African Bush...

(1959) and comic roles, such as Maurice in A Shot in the Dark
A Shot in the Dark (1964 film)
A Shot in the Dark is a 1964 comedy film directed by Blake Edwards and is the second installment in the Pink Panther series. Peter Sellers is featured again as Inspector Jacques Clouseau of the French Sûreté...

.

In 1964, he appeared as Mr. Solo, the gangster who refused to take part in the title villain's plan and is later shot by his henchman Oddjob in the James Bond
James Bond
James Bond, code name 007, is a fictional character created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, who featured him in twelve novels and two short story collections. There have been a six other authors who wrote authorised Bond novels or novelizations after Fleming's death in 1964: Kingsley Amis,...

 film, Goldfinger
Goldfinger (film)
Goldfinger is the third spy film in the James Bond series and the third to star Sean Connery as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. Released in 1964, it is based on the novel of the same name by Ian Fleming. The film also stars Honor Blackman as Bond girl Pussy Galore and Gert Fröbe as the title...


Television


He appeared in many roles on television. In 1957 he made a guest appearance on The Jack Benny Show. In the same year he played the recurring
character the Duke de Medici in the children's adventure series Sword of Freedom
Sword of Freedom
Sword of Freedom was a 1958 drama adventure series for a family audience. Like several of its predecessors , it was produced by Sapphire Films for ITC Entertainment and fitted into the same swashbuckler genre as previous productions...

. In 1981 he appeared in the television production of The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, albeit unrecognisable under the heavy make-up and costume of Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz, leader of the Vogon fleet sent to
destroy Earth. His last appearance was in the TV series
Television program
A television program , also called television show, is a segment of content which is intended to be broadcast on television. It may be a one-time production or part of a periodically recurring series...

, Casualty
Casualty (TV series)
Casualty, stylised as Casual+y, is a British weekly television show broadcast on BBC One, and the longest-running emergency medical drama television series in the world. Created by Jeremy Brock and Paul Unwin, it was first broadcast on 6 September 1986, and transmitted in the UK on BBC One. The...

in 2005.

Personal life and death


He was a son of a Russian
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 grocer and his Polish
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

 wife who had left Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 at the revolution.
He married, first Joan Oliver, with whom he had three daughters and a son and then Joy Swinson, with whom he had two daughters and a son; there was a son by another relationship.

Benson died in his sleep on 28 February 2010, from natural causes
Death by natural causes
A death by natural causes, as recorded by coroners and on death certificates and associated documents, is one that is primarily attributed to natural agents: usually an illness or an internal malfunction of the body. For example, a person dying from complications from influenza or a heart attack ...

, aged 91 at his home in Markyate
Markyate
Markyate is a village and civil parish in north-west Hertfordshire close to the border with Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire.-Geography:Having a number of former names, including Markyate Street and Mergyate, it has been a part of all three counties since it was first founded as the county...

, Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England. The county town is Hertford.The county is one of the Home Counties and lies inland, bordered by Greater London , Buckinghamshire , Bedfordshire , Cambridgeshire and...

. He is survived by his wife, Joy Swinson-Benson, his three daughters, his son, his two stepdaughters and one stepson.

Selected filmography



  • But Not in Vain
    But Not in Vain
    But Not in Vain is a 1948 Anglo-Dutch World War II drama, directed by Edmond T. Gréville and starring Raymond Lovell. The film is set in 1944 in the occupied Netherlands, and was shot at the Cinetone Studios in Amsterdam, with exterior filming taking place at locations in and around the city...

    (1948)
  • Under Capricorn
    Under Capricorn
    Under Capricorn is an Alfred Hitchcock historical feature film.-Production:The film is based on the novel Under Capricorn by Helen Simpson, with screenplay by James Bridie, and adaptation by Hume Cronyn. The movie was co-produced by Hitchcock and Sidney Bernstein for their short-lived production...

    (1949)
  • Trapped by the Terror (1949)
  • I'll Get You for This
    I'll Get You for This
    I'll Get You for This is a 1951 UK black-and-white film made by Kaydor. It was directed by Joseph M...

    (1951)
  • Assassin for Hire
    Assassin for Hire
    Assassin for Hire is a 1951 British crime film directed by Michael McCarthy and starring Sydney Tafler, Ronald Howard and Katharine Blake. A contract killer becomes stricken with remorse when he is led to believe he has murdered his brother.-Cast:...

    (1951)
  • Hotel Sahara
    Hotel Sahara
    Hotel Sahara is a 1951 British comedy film directed by Ken Annakin and starring Yvonne De Carlo, Peter Ustinov and David Tomlinson.-Cast:* Yvonne De Carlo as Yasmin Pallas* Peter Ustinov as Emad* David Tomlinson as Captain Puffin Cheyne...

    (1951)
  • Mystery Junction
    Mystery Junction
    Mystery Junction is a 1951 British crime film directed by Michael McCarthy and starring Sydney Tafler, Barbara Murray and Patricia Owens. On a train journey a writer narrates a crime story for his fellow passengers.-Cast:* Sydney Tafler - Larry Gordon...

    (1951)
  • Wide Boy
    Wide Boy (film)
    Wide Boy is a 1952 British crime film directed by Ken Hughes and starring Sydney Tafler, Susan Shaw and Ronald Howard.-Cast:* Sydney Tafler - Benny* Susan Shaw - Molly* Ronald Howard - Inspector Carson* Melissa Stribling - Caroline...

    (1952)
  • Black 13
    Black 13
    Black 13 is a 1953 British crime drama film directed by Ken Hughes and starring Peter Reynolds, Rona Anderson, Patrick Barr and John Le Mesurier....

    (1953)
  • Escape by Night
    Escape by Night (1953 film)
    Escape by Night is a 1953 British crime film directed and written by John Gilling.-Plot:Gino Rossi is an Italian crime boss on the run who hides in a theater with a British journalist who wants to extract his life story.-Cast:...

    (1953)
  • You Know What Sailors Are (1954)
  • West of Zanzibar
    West of Zanzibar (1954 film)
    West of Zanzibar is a 1954 British adventure film directed by Harry Watt and starring Anthony Steel, Sheila Sim and Edric Connor.-Cast:* Anthony Steel - Bob Payton* Sheila Sim - Mary Payton* Edric Connor - Ushington* Orlando Martins - M'Kwongi...

    (1954)
  • Passage Home
    Passage Home
    -Cast:* Anthony Steel as First Mate Vosper* Peter Finch as Captain Lucky Ryland* Diane Cilento as Ruth Elton* Cyril Cusack as Bohannon the steward* Geoffrey Keen as Ike the bosun* Hugh Griffith as Pettigrew* Duncan Lamont as 1st Mate Llewellyn...

    (1955)
  • 23 Paces to Baker Street
    23 Paces to Baker Street
    23 Paces to Baker Street is a 1956 American drama film released by 20th Century Fox. The Hitchcockian mystery thriller, filmed in Cinemascope on location in London, focuses on Philip Hannon, a blind playwright who overhears a partial conversation he believes is related to the planning of a kidnapping...

    (1956)
  • The King and I
    The King and I (1956 film)
    The King and I is a 1956 musical film made by 20th Century Fox, directed by Walter Lang and produced by Charles Brackett and Darryl F. Zanuck. The screenplay by Ernest Lehman is based on the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II musical The King and I, based in turn on the book Anna and the King...

    (1956)
  • Istanbul
    Istanbul (film)
    Istanbul is a 1957 American drama film directed by Joseph Pevney and starring Errol Flynn, Cornell Borchers and John Bentley. An American becomes mixed up with various criminal activities in Istanbul...

    (1957)
  • Doctor at Large
    Doctor at Large (film)
    Doctor at Large is a 1957 British comedy film, the third installment of the Doctor in the House series. It stars Dirk Bogarde, Muriel Pavlow, Donald Sinden, and James Robertson Justice.-Cast:* Dirk Bogarde as Dr. Simon Sparrow...

    (1957)
  • Interpol
    Interpol (1957 film)
    Interpol known in the USA as Pickup Alley is a 1957 British Warwick Films crime film starring Victor Mature, Anita Ekberg, Trevor Howard, Bonar Colleano and Sid James. It concerns an Interpol effort to stamp out a major drug-smuggling cartel in numerous countries around the world. Victor Mature...

    (1957)
  • The Flesh Is Weak
    The Flesh Is Weak
    The Flesh Is Weak is a 1957 British film directed by Don Chaffey. It stars John Derek and Milly Vitale.-Cast:* John Derek as Tony Giani* Milly Vitale as Marissa Cooper* William Franklyn as Lloyd Buxton* Martin Benson as Angelo Giani...

    (1957)
  • Man from Tangier
    Man from Tangier
    Man from Tangier is a 1957 British crime film directed by Lance Comfort and starring Robert Hutton, Lisa Gastoni and Martin Benson. It was also released as Thunder over Tangier...

    (1957)
  • Windom's Way
    Windom's Way
    Windom's Way is a 1957 British thriller film directed by Ronald Neame. It was nominated for four British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards in 1958.-Cast:* Peter Finch as Alec Windom* Mary Ure as Lee Windom* Natasha Parry as Anna Vidal...

    (1957)
  • The Strange World of Planet X
    The Strange World of Planet X (film)
    The Strange World of Planet X is a British science fiction horror film, and a cautionary tale about science. It was also known as Cosmic Monsters, The Crawling Terror, The Cosmic Monster, and The Crawling Horror....

    (1958)
  • Sea of Sand (1958)
  • The Two-Headed Spy
    The Two-Headed Spy
    The Two-Headed Spy is a 1958 British spy thriller, set in World War II. It starred Jack Hawkins and was directed by Andre De Toth. It also starred Gia Scala, Erik Schumann and Alexander Knox.-Plot:...

    (1958)

  • Make Mine a Million
    Make Mine a Million
    Make Mine a Million was a 1959 British comedy film starring Arthur Askey, Sid James, and Bernard Cribbins. It was directed by Lance Comfort. The film parodies the stuffiness of the 1950s BBC and the effect of television advertising in the era.-Plot:...

    (1959)
  • Killers of Kilimanjaro
    Killers of Kilimanjaro
    Killers of Kilimanjaro is a 1959 British CinemaScope adventure film directed by Richard Thorpe and starring Robert Taylor, Anthony Newley, Anne Aubrey and Donald Pleasence for Warwick Films. The story was inspired by actual incidents of the Tsavo maneaters recounted in the book African Bush...

    (1959)
  • Once More, with Feeling!
    Once More, with Feeling!
    Once More, with Feeling! is a British comedy film directed and produced by Stanley Donen from a screenplay by Harry Kurnitz, based on his play. The film was released by Columbia Pictures and has music by Franz Liszt, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Richard Wagner, arranged by Muir Mathieson...

    (1960)
  • Oscar Wilde (1960)
  • Sands of the Desert
    Sands of the Desert
    Sands of the Desert is a 1960 British comedy film directed by John Paddy Carstairs and starring Charlie Drake, Peter Arne, Sarah Branch and Raymond Huntley...

    (1960)
  • Exodus (1960)
  • Five Golden Hours
    Five Golden Hours
    Five Golden Hours is a 1961 Italian-British comedy film directed by Mario Zampi and written by Hans Wilhelm. It stars Ernie Kovacs, Cyd Charisse and George Sanders, and features Dennis Price and John Le Mesurier.-Plot:...

    (1961)
  • The Fur Collar
    The Fur Collar
    The Fur Collar is a 1962 British thriller film directed by Lawrence Huntington and starring John Bentley, Martin Benson and Philip Friend. A man wearing a fur-collared coat is shot on his arrival in Paris. A British journalist is convinced that he was intended victim, as he also wears a fur-collar,...

    (1962)
  • Satan Never Sleeps
    Satan Never Sleeps
    Satan Never Sleeps , a film directed by Leo McCarey , is his final film. It is about a priest, Father O'Banion , who arrives at a mission-post in China accompanied by a young native girl, Siu Lan , who has joined him along the way...

    (1962)
  • Village of Daughters
    Village of Daughters
    Village of Daughters is a 1962 British comedy film directed by George Pollock.-Plot:Herbert Harris is a traveling salesman who makes his way into a remote Italian village to sell his wares. There, he finds many single and attractive women who all pursue him madly. He quickly learns that the village...

    (1962)
  • Captain Clegg (1962)
  • Cleopatra
    Cleopatra (1963 film)
    Cleopatra is a 1963 British-American-Swiss epic drama film directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. The screenplay was adapted by Sidney Buchman, Ben Hecht, Ranald MacDougall, and Mankiewicz from a book by Carlo Maria Franzero. The film starred Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Rex Harrison, Roddy...

    (1963)
  • A Shot in the Dark
    A Shot in the Dark (1964 film)
    A Shot in the Dark is a 1964 comedy film directed by Blake Edwards and is the second installment in the Pink Panther series. Peter Sellers is featured again as Inspector Jacques Clouseau of the French Sûreté...

    (1964)
  • Behold a Pale Horse
    Behold a Pale Horse (film)
    Behold a Pale Horse is a 1964 film directed by Fred Zinnemann, and starring Gregory Peck, Omar Sharif and Anthony Quinn. The film is based on the novel Killing a Mouse on Sunday by Emeric Pressburger, which loosely details the life of the Spanish anarchist guerrilla, Francisco Sabaté Llopart‎. The...

    (1964)
  • Goldfinger
    Goldfinger (film)
    Goldfinger is the third spy film in the James Bond series and the third to star Sean Connery as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. Released in 1964, it is based on the novel of the same name by Ian Fleming. The film also stars Honor Blackman as Bond girl Pussy Galore and Gert Fröbe as the title...

    (1964)
  • The Secret of My Success (1965)
  • Pope Joan
    Pope Joan (1972 film)
    Pope Joan is a 1972 British drama film based on the story of Pope Joan.. It was directed by Michael Anderson and has a cast which includes Liv Ullmann , Olivia de Havilland, Lesley-Anne Down, Franco Nero and Maximillian Schell....

    (1972)
  • Tiffany Jones
    Tiffany Jones
    Tiffany Jones is a 1973 British comedy film directed by Pete Walker and starring Anouska Hempel, Ray Brooks and Eric Pohlmann. It was based on a comic strip that had featured in the Daily Mail. The main character, Tiffany Jones, a leading model, also works as a secret agent...

    (1973)
  • The Omen
    The Omen
    An original score for the film, including the movie's theme song Ave Satani, was composed by Jerry Goldsmith, for which he received the only Oscar of his long career. The score features a strong choral segment, with a foreboding Latin chant...

    (1976)
  • Mohammad, Messenger of God (1976)
  • Meetings with Remarkable Men
    Meetings with Remarkable Men (film)
    Meetings with Remarkable Men is a 1979 British film directed by Peter Brook and based on the book of the same name. Shot on location in Afghanistan , it starred Terence Stamp, and Dragan Maksimovic as the adult G. I. Gurdjieff...

    (1979)
  • The Human Factor
    The Human Factor (1979 film)
    The Human Factor is a 1979 British thriller film starring Richard Attenborough, Nicol Williamson, Derek Jacobi and John Gielgud. It is based on the novel of the same name by Graham Greene, with the screenplay written by Tom Stoppard...

    (1979)
  • The Sea Wolves
    The Sea Wolves
    The Sea Wolves is a 1980 war film starring Gregory Peck, Roger Moore and David Niven. The film is based on the book Boarding Party by James Leasor, which itself is based on a real incident which took place in World War II...

    (1980)
  • Sphinx
    Sphinx (film)
    Sphinx is a 1981 American adventure film directed by Franklin J. Schaffner. The screenplay by John Byrum is based on the 1979 novel of the same title by Robin Cook.-Plot:...

    (1981)


External links