Peter Copley

Peter Copley (20 May 1915 – 7 October 2008) was an English television, film and stage actor.[1][2]

Peter Copley
Actor Peter Copley.jpg
in Help! (1965)
Peter Francis Gabain Copley

20 May 1915
Died7 October 2008(2008-10-07) (aged 93)
Years active1934–2008
(m. 1941; div. 1953)

Ninka Dolega
(m. 1953; div. 19??)
Margaret Tabor
(m. 1967)


Copley was born in Bushey, Hertfordshire, son of the printmakers, John Copley and Ethel Gabain.

After changing his mind about joining the Royal Navy, he studied at the Old Vic School and in 1932 started out as a stage actor.[3] He made his first film appearance in 1934, going on to play a wide variety of characters from the villainous to the meek and mild. In 1946 he appeared on stage in "Cyrano de Bergerac" at the New Theatre in London.[4] TV credits include: Thorndyke, Danger Man, The Saint, The Avengers, The Forsyte Saga, The Troubleshooters, The Champions, Department S, Doomwatch, Z-Cars, Fall of Eagles, Survivors, Bless Me, Father (episode "A Legend Comes to Stay"), Father Brown (episode "The Curse of the Golden Cross"), Doctor Who (in the serial "Pyramids of Mars"), Sutherland's Law, Tales of the Unexpected, Miss Marple, Lovejoy, The Bill, Cadfael and One Foot in the Grave.[5][6]

Copley continued to act well into his nineties.[7]

A resident of Bristol, Copley was awarded an Honorary Degree of Master of Arts by the University of the West of England in 2001.[8]


Year Title[9] Role Notes
1937 Farewell Again Minor Role Uncredited
1950 Golden Salamander Aribi
The Elusive Pimpernel Tailor Uncredited
1952 The Promoter Shillitoe Uncredited
The Hour of 13 Cummings
1953 The Sword and the Rose Sir Edwin Caskoden
The Clue of the Missing Ape His Excellency Uncredited
Saadia Leader Mokhazenis
1955 The Woman for Joe Mr. Worthington Uncredited
1956 Foreign Intrigue Brown
Peril for the Guy Ritter
1957 Time Without Pity Prison Chaplain
The Smallest Show on Earth Hank in 'The Mystery of Hell Valley' Uncredited
The Man Without a Body Leslie
Just My Luck Gilbert Weaver
1958 A Tale of Two Cities Mellor Uncredited
The Strange World of Planet X News Editor Uncredited
Rockets Galore! Scientist Uncredited
1959 The Mystery in the Mine Tom Abbott
1960 Follow That Horse! Garrod
1961 Victim Paul Mandrake
1964 The Third Secret Dr. Leo Whitset
King & Country Colonel
1965 The Knack …and How to Get It Picture Owner
Help! Jeweller
1967 The Jokers Defence Lawyer Uncredited
Quatermass and the Pit Howell
1968 The Shoes of the Fisherman English Cardinal
1969 Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed Principal
Mosquito Squadron Mr. Scott
Walk a Crooked Path Dr. Oberon
1970 Jane Eyre John TV movie
All at Sea Mr. Gordon
1972 What Became of Jack and Jill? Dickson
That's Your Funeral 1st Funeral Director
1973 Gawain and the Green Knight Pilgrim
1975 Hennessy Home Secretary
Doctor Who Doctor Warlock Episode: "Pyramids of Mars"
1976 Shout at the Devil Admiral Howe
Peer Gynt
1977 The Black Panther
1978 The Famous Five Mr Finniston Episode: "Five on Finniston Farm"
1980 Little Lord Fauntleroy Rev. Muldaur
1982 Witness for the Prosecution Dr. Harrison TV movie
1983 The Forgotten Story Mr. Cowdray 1 episode
1987 Empire of the Sun British Prisoner #10
1992 A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia Maitland TV movie
1994 Second Best Percy
Cadfael Abbot (later Brother) Heribert 4 episodes
1999 Janice Beard 45 WPM Sean's Father
2005 Kingdom of Heaven Old Pilgram (director's cut)
Oliver Twist Dining Hall Master


  1. ^ "Peter Copley".
  2. ^ "Peter Copley - Theatricalia".
  3. ^ Unwin, Paul (10 October 2008). "Obituary: Peter Copley". The Guardian.
  4. ^ "Production of Cyrano de Bergerac - Theatricalia".
  5. ^ Tribute Archived 11 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Peter Copley".
  7. ^ "Peter Copley".
  8. ^ "Peter Copley: Prolific character actor whose career lasted more than". 29 December 2008.
  9. ^ Scott, A. O. (25 September 2006). "Peter Copley". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 September 2006.

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