Donald Pleasance (October 5, 1919 — February 2, 1995) was an English actor who was credited in over 200 movie and TV appearances during a career which spanned over four decades.
He was often typecast as villainous and/or psychopathic characters, and created the definitive Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the James Bond
film series. Halloween
changed his on-screen image to a more heroic one, although still sometimes ruthless or creepy.
His filmography includes:
- A Tale of Two Cities (1958), as John Barsad.
- The Great Escape (1963), as "The Forger."
- Fantastic Voyage (1966), as Dr. Michaels.
- The Hallelujah Trail (1965), as Oracle Jones.
- You Only Live Twice (1967), as Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
- THX 1138 (1971), as SEN.
- The scary PSA Lonely Waters (1973), as the Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water.
- Escape to Witch Mountain (1975), as Lucas Deranian.
- The Halloween series (1978-1995), as Dr Sam Loomis.
- Dracula (1979), Dr. Seward
- Puma Man (1980), as Kobras.
- Escape from New York (1981), as the president.
- Alone in the Dark (1982), as Dr. Bain.
- Phenomena (1985), as Prof. McGregor.
- Prince of Darkness (1987), as a priest.
- The Thief and the Cobbler (1993), as Phido the Vulture. (The version titled Arabian Knight replaced him with Eric Bogosian. His voice is still present as the few lines not done by Jonathan Winters as the Thief)
Tropes about Donald Pleasence:
- Creepy Blue Eyes/Icy Blue Eyes
- Missing Episode: The Halloween episode of Saturday Night Live he hosted back in 1981 hasn't been seen on American TV since then, because of the musical guest's (a punk rock group named Fear) raucous performance (which included guitar smashing and mosh pits) and all the sketches containing humor that was considered dark and disgusting at the time. Good news though: Netflix has the episode on its Saturday Night Live: The 1980s collection (which has all the episodes from seasons 6 to 15), albeit edited down to 27 minutes (meaning most of the sketches and the notorious musical performances by Fear have been cut).
- Money, Dear Boy:
"There was a sort of horror picture that I did called The Mutations. I think I did that solely for the money. I have six daughters, and they can be quite expensive, so one has to keep working and be able to pay the bills."
- Old Shame: It shouldn't be surprising Donald once declared Puma Man the worst movie he was ever part of.
- Shown Their Work: The makers went to great lengths to accurately build a German POW camp for The Great Escape. Of course, it did help that several of the actors had been prisoners of war during WW2. Pleasence, who had been in a German POW camp, made a few suggestions to John Sturges, who wasn't aware of that fact, and was told to keep his opinions to himself. However, when the director learned that Pleasence knew what he was talking about, he was asked for advice all the time.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Pleasence only played Ernst Stavo Blofeld once in the James Bond series (in You Only Live Twice, where his face is only revealed in the last twenty minutes), which is surprising considering how definitive his take on the ultimate Big Bad of the film series became.
- Stock Shout-Out: Just about every James Bond parody in any medium will base the villain on his version of Blofeld.