Peter Copley

For the British composer, see Peter Copley (composer).
Peter Copley
Born Peter Francis Gabain Copley
20 May 1915
Bushey, Hertfordshire, England, UK
Died 7 October 2008(2008-10-07) (aged 93)
Bristol, England, UK
Years active 1934–2008
Spouse(s) Margaret Tabor (1967–2008) (his death) 1 child
Ninka Dolega (1953–?)
Pamela Brown (1941–1953) (divorced)

Peter Copley (20 May 1915 – 7 October 2008) was an English television, film and stage actor.


Copley was born in Bushey, Hertfordshire, son of the printmakers, John Copley and Ethel Gabain.

After changing his mind about joining the Royal Navy, he studied at the Old Vic School and in 1932 started out as a stage actor. He made his first film appearance in 1934, going on to play a wide variety of characters from the villainous to the meek and mild. In 1946 he appeared on stage in "Cyrano de Bergerac" at the New Theatre in London. Away from acting, Peter Copley was called to the bar in 1963, and was a sharp-witted legal expert and part-time lawyer who successfully handled several court cases in the 1960s.[1]

TV credits include: Thorndyke, Danger Man, The Saint, The Avengers, The Forsyte Saga, The Troubleshooters, The Champions, Department S, Doomwatch, Z-Cars, Fall of Eagles, Survivors, Bless Me, Father (episode "A Legend Comes to Stay"), Father Brown (episode "The Curse of the Golden Cross"), Doctor Who (in the serial "Pyramids of Mars"), Sutherland's Law, Tales of the Unexpected, Miss Marple, Lovejoy, The Bill, The Cadfael Chronicles and One Foot in the Grave.[2]


Year Title[3] Character
1950 The Elusive Pimpernel Tailor (uncredited)
Golden Salamander Aribi
1952 The Promoter Shillitoe
The Hour of 13 Cummings
1953 The Clue of the Missing Ape (uncredited)
The Sword and the Rose Sir Edwin Caskoden
Saadia Leader Mokhazenis
1956 Foreign Intrigue Brown
Peril for the Guy Ritter
1957 Just My Luck Gilbert Weaver
Time Without Pity Prison Chaplain
The Man Without a Body Leslie
1959 The Mystery in the Mine Tom Abbott
1960 Follow That Horse! Garrod
1961 Victim Paul Mandrake
1964 King & Country Colonel
The Third Secret Dr. Leo Whitset
1965 The Knack …and How to Get It Picture Owner
Help! Jeweller
1967 Quatermass and the Pit Howell
1968 The Shoes of the Fisherman English Cardinal
1969 Mosquito Squadron Mr. Scott
Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed Principal
Walk a Crooked Path Dr. Oberon
1970 All at Sea Mr. Gordon
1970 Jane Eyre John
1972 What Became of Jack and Jill? Dickson
1972 That's Your Funeral 1st Funeral Director
1973 Gawain and the Green Knight Pilgrim
1975 Doctor Who: Pyramids of Mars Doctor Warlock
1976 Shout at the Devil Admiral Howe
1980 Little Lord Fauntleroy Muldaur
1982 Witness for the Prosecution Dr. Harrison
1987 Empire of the Sun British Prisoner
1991 A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia Maitland
1994 Second Best Percy
2005 Oliver Twist Dining Hall Master


  1. Anthony Hayward "Peter Copley: Prolific character actor whose career lasted more than 70 years", The Independent, 29 December 2008.
  2. Tribute Archived 11 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. Scott, A. O. (2006-09-25). "Peter Copley". New York Times. Retrieved 2006-09-25.
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