Donald Houston

Donald Houston
Born Donald Daniel Houston
(1923-11-06)6 November 1923
Clydach Vale, Glamorgan, Wales, UK
Died 13 October 1991(1991-10-13) (aged 67)
Coimbra, Portugal
Occupation Actor
Years active 1949–1983
Spouse(s) Brenda Hogan (19491991) (his death)
Family Glyn Houston(brother)
Jean Houston(sister)[1]

Donald Daniel Houston (6 November 1923  13 October 1991) was a Welsh actor whose first two films  The Blue Lagoon (1949) with Jean Simmons,[2] and A Run for Your Money (1949) with Sir Alec Guinness  were highly successful. Later in his career he was cast in military roles and in comedies such as the Doctor and Carry On series.

Early life

Houston was born in Tonypandy, Glamorgan, and was the elder brother of actor Glyn Houston and a sister, Jean. His father, Alex, was a professional football player from Scotland and his mother, Elsie, ran a milk round.[3] After school he worked at Glamorganshire colliery[3] before his first foray into acting came in 1940 when he performed on stage with the Pilgrim Players.[4] He then later served in the Royal Air Force during World War II.

Acting career

He would sometimes indulge his Welsh accent as well as conceal it behind an English public school veneer. He had a successful career as a character actor in British film and television, with prominent parts in several well-known films, including Yangtse Incident (1957), 633 Squadron (1964), The Longest Day (1962) (in which he appeared alongside Richard Burton), Where Eagles Dare (1968) (again with Burton) and The Sea Wolves (1981).[5] His forte tended to be authority figures, often military, such as the brilliant but tough David Caulder, the head of Moonbase 3 or as Dr Francis in Thirteen to Centaurus (from the anthology series Out of the Unknown).

He could also handle comedy, as he proved with Doctor in the House (1954) and the later Doctor in Distress (1963), both significant successes in Europe, and Carry On Jack (1963). Though preferring quality parts, he was not above journeyman work in films such as Tales That Witness Madness (1973) and Maniac (1963).

On 13 October 1991, Donald Houston died in Coimbra, Portugal at the age of 67.[3]



  1. "Donald Houston biography". IMDB. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  2. Thomson, David (24 January 2010). "Jean Simmons obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 "Film actor Donald Houston's Rhondda blue plaque honour". BBC News. 28 January 2010. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  4. "Donald Houston Biography". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  5. Pettigrew, Terence (1982). British Film Character Actors: Great Names and memorable Moments. Neton Abbot: David & Charles. pp. 95–98. ISBN 0 7153 8270 5.
  6. "Donald Houston". BFI. Retrieved 8 August 2016.

External links

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