Payday Loans
Peter Cushing (1913-1994)

  1. Anton Diffring, The Man Who Could Cheat Death, 1959.         One of the few Hammer Films rejected by  the Hammer-made star.
  2. Guy Rolfe, The Stranglers of Bombay, 1959.      Hammer goes to India - for the story, not the (UK) locations (and re-used Horror of Dracula sets), to follow the 1830s’ fight by the British Army, er, no, the army of the all-powerful East India Company, against the thieves and killers of the Thugee Cult of Kali. Apparently, this was fist planned as another Cushing v Christopher Lee battle, as Captain Lewis and the Kali sect’s high priest.  But no… this proved to be a rare Hammer Film of the period minus either of its both horropr superstars.
  3. Jeffrey Hunter, King of Kings, 1961.    For his Jesus, feisty director Nicholas Ray  worked his way through the English Cushing, Welsh Richard Burton, Australian Keith Michel,  Canadian Christopher Plummer and even Swedish  Max Von Sydow (George Stevens’ Christ in 1964) before voting Hunter. Despite being, at 35, closer to Christ’s age than per usual in Schmollywood epics, Jeff was soon dubbed “I Was a Teenage Jesus.”
  4. Kerwin Matthews, Maniac, 1962.     Not often Hammer made such mistakes. This was a biggie. Using the paper-thin talent of Matthews instead of Cushing as the painter with a French mistress who has a homicidal husband. Director (and Hammer boss) James Carreras even wasted his locations.  Difficult to do that in Provence.
  5. Ralph Bates, Lust For A Vampire, 1970.        One half of The Face of Hammer Films - Christopher Lee was the other half - had to withdraw due to the ill-health of his cherished wife.  (Jimmy Sangster had to replace the ill director Terence Fisher).  Bates took over  the headmaster of “the finishing school where they really do finish you.”  And, ironically, Cushing was a headmaster in Bates’ next Hammer trip, Fear in the Night.

  6. Andrew Keir, Blood From The Mummy's Tomb, 1970.        A terrible first day’s shoot for Hammer Films…   Director Seth Holt was dying and Cushing’s wife became gravely ill with emphysema. His secretary, Joyce Broughton, called him home: Helen Cushing needed constant care. He immediately quit the film after a day’s work. Keith took over - almost a Hammer rep player from his first featured role in The Lady Craved Excitement, 1950, to being the best (and only British) Professor Quatermass in the movies. Helen Cushing died on January 14, 1971. Distraught and impatient to join her in the afterlife (it was almost all he could talk about for the next 23 years), Peter returned to film-making later in ’71 in Hammer’s Twins of Evil, looking gaunt and frail. “He looked much more gaunt and frail,” noted his US biographer Christopher Gullo. “But he delivered a powerful performance as the witch hunter Gustav Weil.”

      Valerie Leon and Peter Cushing in Blood from the Mummy's Tomb  

    Peter Cushing and Valerie Leon - Egyptologist father and possessed daughter - during the first day’s takes before he quit when his beloved wife became fatally ill. © Hammer Films/EMI Films 1971.


  7. Richard Greene, Tales From The Crypt, 1970.        The veteran horror star was due to play Ralph Jason, but said he was tragically better suited to Mr Grimsdyke... who “talked” to his dead wife via a ouija board.
  8. Robert Hardy, Demons of the Mind, 1971.   Hammer Films’ horrors were  running out of steam. Its  new (indeed almost last) villain, Baron Zorn, was also aimed at James Mason,  Paul Scofield  plus  Hammer regulars Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.  They all passed on  the climax of being impaled on a flaming cross… Eric Porter took it over, then switched to another  Hammer vehicle:  Hands of the Ripper. 
  9. Joseph Cotten, The Abominable Dr Phibes, 1971.      Still too down over the  death of his wife to play Dr Vesalius - particularly as the titular Vincent Price was hunting for the Scrolls of Life in order to  resurrect his wife. (Price and Christopher Lee were born on May 27, Cushing on May 26)
  10. Eddie Albert, The Devil’s Rain, 1974.  Gentlemen Cushing and Joseph Cotten were on the short list for Dr Sam Richards, totally opposed to the horror (or horrid) film’s Satanist #1 - of all people, Ernest Borgnine.

  11. Tom Baker, Doctor Who, TV,  1974-1981.
  12. Alec Guinness, Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, 1976.
  13. Anthony Sharp, House of Mortal Sin (US: The Confessional), 1976.       Cushing passed on being, as Time Out put it, a crazed old Catholic priest terrorising a young girl after hearing her confession… He was too busy and not, as rumours insisted, hating the scenario. UK schlocker Pete Walker then offered Father Xavier Meldrum to Harry Andrews, Stewart Granger, plus (said Steve Chinball’s Walker book), Lee J Cobb and Richard Greene.  PS: Cushing starred in Walker’s final film, The House of Long Shadows, 1982.

  14. Philip Madoc, Doctor Who  #84: The Brain of Morbius, TV, 1976.  
    Forgiven!  Eight years after his two Doctor Who cinema movies, Cushing was contacted by Aunty for the series…    Well, there was a definite touch of Frankenstein in the script which led director Christopher Barry to seek Cushing or Vincent Price to play Solon.  No thank you! Cushing was the Hammer Films star of Dracula and Frankenstein  (“If I played Hamlet, they'd call it a horror film”) who made two terrible  Doctor cinema movies: Dr Who and the Daleks, 1964, and  Daleks’ Invasion Earth: 2150, 1965. (So ultra-bad that the planned third never happened). Doc1 William Hartnell was predictably miffed at being passed over for the big screen. Until seeing the first with Cushing as…  not a Time Lord but “an eccentric inventor” in moustache and glasses - and, of course, colour. Not enough to entice folks to pay for what they’d seen for free at home.Donald Pleasence, Halloween, 1978.     Fearlessly displaying his roots, director John Carpenter offered the shrink Dr Sam Loomis (named after John Gavin in Psycho) to both Hammer horror kings, Cushing and Christopher Lee.

  15. 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 Cushing (of course), Harry Andrews, Bernard Archard, 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.”   

  16. Maximilian Schell, The Black Hole,1978.   One Swede, three Germans and six Brits were discussed 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 Wars franchise.  In 2014. Cushing knew better, of course. He had accepted Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope…  in 1976!!
  17. Donald Pleasence, Halloween, 1978.   The Hitchcock fan auteur John Carpenter searched high and low for his shrink, Dr Sam Loomis. Peter O’Toole and the Hammer horrors, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee versus Charles Napier, Lawrence Tierney, Abe Vigoda. The $300,00 shoestring budget couldn’t afford any of them! Same for Lloyd Bridges, David Carradine, Kirk Douglas, Steven Hill, Walter Matthau… even such off-the-wall surprises as John Belushi, Mel Brooks, Yul Brynner, Edward Bunker, Sterling Hayden, Dennis Hopper, Kris Kristofferson… and Dick’s brother, Jerry Van Dyke. Pleasence said he only made the film because his daughter told him to! She’d Assault on Precinct 13… Her also told Carpenter he’d never read the scripy, nor Loomis. “Only later,” said Carpenter, “after [we] became close friends, did I realise he was finding out how much I loved the movie I was making.” Incidentally, Loomis was named after John Gavin’s Psycho character; his screen lover was Janet Leigh, mother of Carpenter’s heroine, Jamie Lee Curtis. So it flows.

  18. Daniel Massey, Warlords of Atlantis,  1978.       Freddie Francis said of Cushing in 1992: “There’s not an actor in this world who can speak rubbish like Peter and make it sound real.”

  19. Trevor Howard, Meteor, 1979.      Also in the loop for Sir Michael Hughes in the last of the disaster movies (a $22m bummer) were: Howard, Cushing Harry Andrews, Ian Bannen Michael Hordern, Gordon Jackson, John Mills, Kenneth More, Anthony Quayle… and four UK knights: Sirs John Gielgud, Alec Guinness, John Mills and Ralph Richardson. (Hordern was knighted in 1983, and Quayle in 1985).

  20. John Fraser, Doctor Who #115: Logopolis, TV, 1981.       Age apparently, didn’t matter. The Monitor was 60 but producer John Nathan-Taylor’s usual suspects ranged from Harry Andrews at 77 to Hywel Bennett at…37! Plus Maurice Denham, 72; Marius Goring, 69; Peter Cushing, 68; Bernard Archard, Michael Gough, 65; Nigel  Stock, 62; Geoffrey Bayldon, 57; William Lucas, 56; Frank Finley, 55; Barry Foster, Frank Windsor, 54; John Fraser, 50; Peter Wyngarde, 48. This was the episode that Brian Epstein would not let The Beatles appear in. But he OKed Top of the Pops footage of Ticket To Ride.

  21. Nigel Stock, Doctor Who #122: Time-Flight, TV, 1982.        After several invites, Nigel Stock finally joined the Whoverse - when winning Professor Hayter from Cushing, Bernard Archard, Geoffrey Bayldon, John Carson, Maurice Denham, Michael Gough and William Lucas… in The Case of the Missing Concorde!
  22. Leonard Sachs, Doctor Who #123: Arc of Infinity, TV, 1983.   Suggested for the third appearance of The Doctor’s mentor - Borusa, President of the Council Time Lords. The 20th season opener was Sachs’ first TV drama since 1975. And it showed. He kept forgetting his lines  and  Doc5, Peter Davison (and several suits) suggested substituting him with Bernard Archard. Producer John Nathan-Turner kept the faith.   Cushing was the Hammer Films star of Dracula and Frankenstein  (“If I played Hamlet, they'd call it a horror film”) who made two bad, but ultra-bad Doctor movies in the 60s; a third was cancelled. 

  23. Patrick Stewart, Lifeforce, 1984.
  24. Aubrey Morris, Lifeforce, 1984.  
  25. Frank Finlay, Lifeforce, 1984.

  26. Terence Alexander, Doctor Who #139: The Mark of the Rani, 1984.        Cushing, Joss Ackland, Harry Andrews, Bernard Archard, Robin Bailey, George Baker, Ian Bannen, Geoffrey Bayldon, John Carson, Allan Cuthbertson, Frank Finlay, Robert Flemyng, Michael Gough, Dinsdale Landen, TP McKenna, Donald Pickering, Peter Sallis, John Standing, Patrick Stewart, Peter Vaughan… and the Z Cars cops James Ellis and Jeremy Kemp - were the 23 contenders for Lord Ravenworth. Phew! Standing was the most suitable, being the fourth baronet in his family’s line.
  27. Patrick Macnee, Waxwork, 1987.  Cushing, Michael Gough, Christopher Lee and Donald Pleasence were the inevitables in London auteur Anthony Hickox’s mind for  Sir Wilfrid - in a horror trip unleashig havoc with wax models  of the Marquis De Sade, The Mummy, The Werewolf… and allowing Miles O’Keefe to be the only actor to portray both Tarzan and, as here, Dracula.  I still have the tee-shirt.  It lights up in the dark.  More than the movie ever did. 
  28. Anton Diffring, Doctor Who #150: Silver Nemesis, TV, 1988.       Naturally Pinewood’s Nazi was on the list for the Nazi De Flores in the 25th anniversary episode. Along with: Harry Andrews, Bernard Archard, Frank Finlay Robert Flemyng, Michael Gough, Charles Gray, Christopher Lee, Herbert Lom, Donald Pleasence and Peter Vaughan. Although baffled by the script, and in poor health, Diffring accepted what proved his final rôle in order to be in London and able to watch the Wimbledon tennis. He then returned to his French home and was dead within a year.
  29. Wayne Pygram, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, 2005.



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