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Peter Cecil Bull, DSC (21 March 1912 – 20 May 1984) was a British character actor who appeared in supporting roles in such film classics as The African Queen, Tom Jones and Dr. Strangelove.

Peter Bull
Actor Peter Bull.jpg
Peter Cecil Bull

(1912-03-21)21 March 1912
Died20 May 1984(1984-05-20) (aged 72)
OccupationActor, author
Years active1936–1984


He was the fourth and youngest son of William Bull, later Sir William Bull, 1st Baronet, who was Member of Parliament for Hammersmith.

Bull was educated at Winchester College. His first professional stage appearance was in If I Were You at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 1933.

He was a friend of Alec Guinness, who he first met at HMS Raleigh during training in World War Two, and later HMS King Alfred; he served as an officer in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, later commanding Landing Craft (Flak) 16 in the Mediterranean.[1] During his service, he achieved the rank of Lieutenant-Commander and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.[2] Returning to acting after the war, he both narrated and had a small on-screen role in Scrooge (1951), and portrayed the captain of the ship the Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart characters Rose and Charlie set out to destroy, who they persuade to legally marry them just before they are to be executed, in The African Queen (1951). Bull was also the first actor to portray Pozzo in the English-language version of Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot when it opened on 3 August 1955.

Bull's performance as the Soviet Ambassador, Alexi de Sadesky, in Dr Strangelove (1964) is probably the best known of his many film and TV appearances. He was cast as Thwackum, one of Blifil's two tutors, in the 1963 film Tom Jones. (The other tutor, Square, of contrasting build and character, was played by John Moffatt.)

In the 1970s, he ran a small shop just off Notting Hill Gate, selling zodiac-related items.[citation needed]

Bull wrote a book on the subject of teddy bears, Bear With Me and a book on his adventures on the Greek islands of Corfu and Paxos (where he owned a house), It isn't all Greek to me, illustrated by Oscar winner Roger Furse. He was also the author of a non-fiction book about his experiences during World War II as commander of a Tank Landing Craft (LCT), To Sea in a Sieve.

In 1984, at 72 years of age, Peter Bull died of a heart attack in London.[3]

Partial filmographyEdit


  1. ^ 'Blessings in Disguise', Alec Guinness, Hamish Hamilton Ltd, London 1996
  2. ^ "No. 37380". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 December 1945. p. 5987.
  3. ^ Pareles, Jon (22 May 1984). "Peter Bull, actor and writer". New York Times (obituaries).

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