Posted by Kimberly Lindbergs on October 25, 2012
One of the strangest aspects of today’s Internet film culture is being bombarded by death notices week after week. No one’s life is unworthy of celebration and onetime television TV actors with a single role under the belt often compete with Oscar winning movie stars for attention after they’ve shuffled off this mortal coil. In the flood of online wakes that seem to accumulate around every actor’s death it has become nearly impossible to overlook anyone’s passing so you can imagine my surprise when I recently discovered that one of my favorite British actors, the talented Simon Ward, had passed away in July following a long illness and I had managed to overlook it. Even more depressing were some of the obituaries I read that glossed over much of his career and seemed to suggest that Ward hadn’t lived up to his potential while completely ignoring his outstanding contributions to horror cinema. Naturally I felt the urge to rectify this since I had grown up admiring the actor in a bundle of praiseworthy thrillers so October seemed like the perfect month to spotlight Simon Ward’s contribution to a genre that continues to divide critics and audiences.
Simon Ward was born on October 16th, 1941. At age 13 he joined London’s National Youth Theater and continued to study at RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts,). He started acting in British television productions in the mid-1960s and after taking an unaccredited role in Lindsay Anderson’s IF…. (1967), Ward was offered his first major film role in David Greene’s exceptional British thriller, I START COUNTING (1969). Ward’s boyish good looks and edgy screen presence allowed him to effortlessly transform himself into seductive villains as well as romantic heroes but his chameleon-like abilities may have confused producers who couldn’t easily pigeonhole him and didn’t seem to know how to harness his talent. Simon Ward went on to appear in many popular and critically acclaimed films including YOUNG CHURCHILL (1972), THE THREE MUSKETEERS (1973), THE FOUR MUSKETEERS (1974) and ZULU DAWN (1979) but throughout his career he returned again and again to the horror genre. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the best horror films and thrillers he appeared in.
I START COUNTING (Dir. David Greene; 1969)
FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (Dir. Terence Fisher; 1969)
BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA (Dir. Dan Curtis; 1974)
DEADLY STRANGERS (Dir. Sidney Hayers; 1976)
HOLOCAUST 2000 (Dir. Alberto De Martino; 1977)
DOMINIQUE (Dir. Michael Anderson; 1979
THE MONSTER CLUB (Dir. Roy Ward Baker; 1980)
If you’re looking for some fright filled features to watch on Halloween night you should consider spending some time with Simon Ward. Most of the movies mentioned above are available on DVD or can be found streaming online. Happy hunting!
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