Anton Diffring


  1. Reggie Nalder,Hexen bis aufs Blut gequält, West Germany, 1970.           As directors changed from the suddenly dead Michael Reeves to his Witchfinder General assistant Michael Armstrong, Diffringwas in the running to beHerbert Lom’s apprentice witch- hunter. Diffring, the favourite Nazi of the British studios – later aHammer horror ikon – made the 1972 sequel, Hexen geschändet und zu Tode gequält – with Nalder. 
  2. Charles Gray, The Legacy, 1977.  Failing to be Harry Liebnecht, immolated in Jimmy Sangster’s literal horror – with Hollywood leads, of course (Katharine Ross, Sam Elliott) in an English country house, of course – were the obviously much relieved Harry Andrews, Bernard Archard, Peter Cushing, Michael Gough (the future Batman’s man, Alfred), Patrick Troughton (the second Doctor Who, 1966-1969), Peter Vaughan. Plus two Donalds: Houston and Pleasence.  Gray was totally mis-cast. Better German accents would have from the also listed Peter Arne, Anton Diffring, Christopher Lee and Herbert Lom. Elliott (who wed Ross in 1984)  warned the Associated Press: “I wouldn’t rush out to see it. It’s about 15 years behind its time.”
  3. Maximilian Schell, The Black Hole,1978.   One Swede, three Germans and six Brits were dsicussed for Dr Hans Reinhardt – heading a mission aboard the US spaceship, Palomino, to find habitable spots in space. Max von Sydow; Anton Diffring, Curd Jürgens, Hardy Krüger; plus Harry Andrews, Peter Cushing, Jeremy Kemp, Hardy Kruger Christopher Lee, Herbert Lom, Donald Pleasence and Patrick Troughton. This was Disney’s first attempt at science fiction – and a PG rating.  Never got it right until buying Lucasfilm and the Star Warsfranchise.  In 2014.
  4. Michael Gothard, Lifeforce, 1984.
  5. Frank Finlay, Lifeforce, 1984.
  6. Tom Adams, Doctor Who #130: Warriors of The Deep, 1984.      Competing for Commander Vorshak in Doc5 Peter Davison’s finale were 13 of the astonshing army of 203 candidates for just 18 roles in that year’s Lifeforce movie mess: Diffring, Steven Berkoff, Kenneth Colley, Michael Craig, Paul Darrow, Del Henney, Martin Jarvis, Ian McCulloch, Patrick Mower, Patrick Stewart, David Warner, Simon Williams and Peter Wyngarde. Plus three outsiders: Brian Blessed, Peter Gilmore, Gareth Hunt. The diffefence being Who was science fiction. And Lifeforce was science fart. He never visited the Whoverse during 138 roles during 1940-1988 – too busy playing Nazis and other (Hammer) horrors.
  7. Laurence Payne, Doctor Who #140: The Two Doctors, TV, 1985.      Director Peter Moffatt shuffled 16 candidates for the dastardly Dastari, genetically experimenting on the Androgum race. Diffring, Joss Ackland, Bernard Archard, George Baker, James Bree, Michael Craig, Peter Cushing, Neil Hallett, Bernard Hepton, Peter Jeffrey, Freddie Jones, Jeremy Kemp, Clifford Rose, Nigel Stock, John Woodnutt. The semi-retired Payne won. Although baffled by the script, and in poor health, Diffring accepted what proved his138th and final rôle – yet another Nazi in #150: Silver Nemesis, 1988 – mainly to be in London and able to watch Wimbledon on TV. He then returned to his French home and was dead within a year.


 Birth year: 1918Death year: 1989Other name: Casting Calls:  7