Classic Movie Hub (CMH)

Donald Pleasence

Donald Pleasence

Father of Angela Pleasence, Jean Pleasence, Polly Jo Pleasence, Lucy Pleasance and Miranda Pleasence.

He had elocution lessons as a child.

He was a wireless operator in Lancaster bombers in 166 Squadron, Royal Air Force.

He was flying in a Lancaster NE112 "AS-M" when it was shot down on September 9th, 1944.

He was initially a conscientous objector during World War II, but later changed his mind and joined the British Royal Air Force. His plane was shot down and was taken prisoner of war by the Nazis until his release in 1945.

His father was a stationmaster.

His portrayal of Ernst Stavro Blofeld in You Only Live Twice (1967) will always be an influence of the Dr. Evil character in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999). Both Dr. Evil (Mike Myers) and Pleasence's Blofeld have a large facial scar.

Is Carrie Anderson's great-uncle.

Married four times and had five daughters. Angela Pleasence and Jean Pleasence were born from his marriage to actress Miriam Raymond; Lucy Pleasance and Polly Jo Pleasence were the products of his union with actress/singer Josephine Crombie and Miranda Pleasence was conceived during his marriage to singer Miera Shore.

Often joked to friends and family that, before Halloween (1978) came out, he was typecast as villains and psychos, never having been given the chance to play a good guy or hero. However, after his portrayal of the heroic, Van Helsing-like Dr. Loomis in Halloween, he had the exact opposite problem in that no one wanted to see him play bad guys anymore, that the only parts offered to him were avengers and heroes.

One of the stars of The Great Escape (1963) to have actually been a World War II prisoner of war (Hannes Messemer, who played Col. Lugo the camp commander, was a German soldier in WW II and was captured by American troops and held in a POW camp until the end of the war). He was also a POW in Russia. When he kindly offered advice to director John Sturges, he was politely asked to keep his "opinions" to himself. Later, when another star from the film informed Sturges that Pleasence had actually been an RAF officer in a World War II German POW camp, Sturges requested Pleasance's technical advice and input on historical accuracy from that point forward.

Played Loomis in Innocent Bystanders (1972), Dr. Sam Loomis in most of the first six Halloween (1978) movies (Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) was not a "Michael Myers" movie) and Father Loomis in Prince of Darkness (1987).

Shortly before his death in 1995, he was scheduled to star in a production of "King Lear" that would have featured daughters Angela Pleasence, Polly Jo Pleasence and Miranda Pleasence.

The only actor to have appeared in both The Great Escape (1963) and its TV sequel, The Great Escape II: The Untold Story (1988) (TV). Ironically, he played one of the would-be great escapees in the first film and one of the German executioners in the second. Strangely he even played the role of the SS and Gestapo chief, Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, in the film The Eagle Has Landed (1976). Heinrich Himmler was the one who ordered the secret murder of "the 50" POW's. Thus, Pleasence is likely to be one of only a few actors to have ever portrayed all three roles of murder conspirator, executioner, and victim! (although technically he was not among the 50. His character died earlier.).

Was held at Stalag Luft I, near the Baltic Sea. While a POW during World War II, he organized a theatre company in order to pass the time. His productions included "The Petrified Forest", in which he played the Leslie Howard role opposite a 6' 1" Canadian who played the Bette Davis part.

Was nominated for four Tony Awards as Best Actor (Dramatic): in 1962 for "The Caretaker", a part he recreated in the film version also titled The Guest (1963); in 1965 for "Poor Bitos"; in 1969 for "The Man in the Glass Booth" and, in 1972 for "Wise Child" - but he never won.

Was originally chosen to play Blair in The Thing (1982), but a scheduling conflict prevented him from doing so. Therefore, the role went to Wilford Brimley.

When Moustapha Akkad asked Donald Pleasence how many more Halloween (1978) films he was planning to make, Donald replied "I stop at twenty-two!"