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Gray, Charles (1928-2000)


Main image of Gray, Charles (1928-2000)

Of aristocratic voice and bearing, former estate agent Charles Gray made a memorable villain in such films as the Bond caper, Diamonds Are Forever (d. Guy Hamilton, 1971), playing the malevolent Blofeld with a white cat to underline his decadence.

On stage from 1952 (as 'Charles the Wrestler' in As You Like It, Regent's Park), the 6-foot, silver-haired Gray had Old Vic and Broadway seasons, but his main career was on screens large and small. Famous in the 1980s as TV's Mycroft in the Sherlock Holmes series (ITV, 1985/87/94); a memorable 'Claudius', on- and off-stage in the wonderful An Englishman Abroad (BBC, tx. 29/11/1983); brilliantly type-cast as Pandarus in the BBC's Troilus and Cressida (tx. 7/11/1981); and guest in innumerable popular series.

On screen from the late 1950s (a caddish ladies' man in the 'B' movie, The Desperate Man, d. Peter Maxwell, 1959), he made a major impact as icily evil Mocata in the masterly Hammer occult piece, The Devil Rides Out (d. Terence Fisher, 1967). He was an authoritative Essex in Cromwell (d. Ken Hughes, 1970), threw himself into the cult camp nonsense of The Rocky Horror Show (d. Jim Sharman, 1975), and appeared in several nondescript US films, including The Secret War of Harry Frigg (US, d. Jack Smight, 1967).

His mellifluous tones were in demand for narrations (e.g., On the Game, d. Stanley A.Long, 1973, a documentary about prostitution's history), and from the early 1980s TV claimed him increasingly. He also provided Jack Hawkins's 'voice' when Hawkins lost his own through throat cancer.

Brian McFarlane, Encyclopedia of British Film

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Thumbnail image of Diamonds Are Forever (1971)Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

James Bond investigates a plan to hold the world to ransom

Thumbnail image of Entertainer, The (1960)Entertainer, The (1960)

Olivier shatters his Shakespearean image as a seedy music-hall artiste

Thumbnail image of You Only Live Twice (1967)You Only Live Twice (1967)

James Bond goes to Japan to investigate the theft of spacecraft

Thumbnail image of Comedy of Errors, The (1983)Comedy of Errors, The (1983)

BBC Television Shakespeare adaptation with Roger Daltrey

Thumbnail image of Englishman Abroad, An (1983)Englishman Abroad, An (1983)

A real-life Moscow encounter between an actress and a spy

Thumbnail image of Julius Caesar (1979)Julius Caesar (1979)

BBC Television Shakespeare adaptation

Thumbnail image of Porterhouse Blue (1987)Porterhouse Blue (1987)

Riotous adaptation of Tom Sharpe's satirical novel about Oxbridge life

Thumbnail image of Richard II (1978)Richard II (1978)

BBC Shakespeare adaptation with Derek Jacobi and John Gielgud

Thumbnail image of Schalcken the Painter (1979)Schalcken the Painter (1979)

Supernatural drama based on a story by Sheridan Le Fanu

Thumbnail image of Troilus and Cressida (1981)Troilus and Cressida (1981)

BBC Television Shakespeare adaptation

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