The actor played many roles over the course of his long career. In fact, the first film in which he and Christopher Lee both appeared was not a horror film but instead Laurence Olivier’s 1948 production of Hamlet. (They both also appeared in 1952’s Moulin Rouge.) However, Cushing will probably always be best known for his Hammer roles and, of course, his villainous performance in Star Wars. Peter Cushing was not only the virtuous Prof. Van Helsing but also the far less virtuous Baron Frankenstein.
According to almost every interview that I’ve read, Peter Cushing was a genuinely nice and professional person, one who didn’t personally care for horror films but who never took it personally when he was recognized for appearing in them. Though they regularly played rivals on screen, he was close friends with Christopher Lee. I once read an interview with Lee where he said that, decades later, he still hadn’t recovered from Cushing’s death in 1994.
Below, you’ll find a documentary from 1989. It was called Peter Cushing — A One-Way Ticket To Hollywood. It’s basically just Peter Cushing talking about his life and career for 49 minutes but it’s a charming little documentary. Peter Cushing comes across as being very nice and very British. He discusses not only his horror films but also his work in Star Wars and his performance as Winston Smith in a 1954 production of 1984.
It’s a nice documentary and I offer it up on Halloween as a tribute to one of horror’s gentlemen.
(Thank you to VintageTreats for uploading this!)