Peter Cushing, OBE, 1913-94
The actor, film and television star had a Whitstable link for some 50 years, and for 35 of these he owned a house in the town - he was one of the early DFLs (Down From Londons, a term used by local residents, usually affectionately)!
He was known in the town as a courteous and unassuming gentleman, often to be seen on his bicycle or in the Tudor Tea Rooms in Harbour Street. His love of the town was rewarded by its inhabitants treating him as one of their own, allowing the star and his beloved wife Helen to live in relative peace and tranquillity.
His stage and screen career included roles in 91 films, and although the majority of these were not horror films, it is his successes as Baron Frankenstein and Professor van Helsing for Hammer Films which made him a cult figure. Recently many roles he played have been reprised by current actors (eg Benedict Cumberbatch’s 'Sherlock Holmes'), and younger audiences can relate to the man who played Dr Who in 2 films, starred in vampire movies and appeared in 'Star Wars'.
Joanna Lumley summed it up: "Peter was the most gentle man I have ever met, quite enchanting and a meticulous actor."
Visit the Museum’s Cushing Corner to see:
- Paraphernalia from his busy professional and off-duty life
- Photographs – from film stills to Whitstable snapshots
- The dinner jacket worn to the premiere of 'Biggles' and the photo of him in it kissing Princess Di’s hand
- The slippers worn on the film set of the first Star Wars
- The silver-topped cane featured in the Hound of the Baskervilles, when Peter Cushing Knocked a giant spider off Christopher Lee’s shoulder
- The makeup case (including lucky rabbit’s foot) used by the actor throughout his working life.
- His beautifully executed watercolours
- The toy pig from his childhood!
And hear memories of him on the listening post both from townspeople and from his secretary of more than 35 years.
Why not buy a copy of 'Peter Cushing’s Whitstable' from the Museum shop and find out about his home, and favourite shops and cafés?
Peter Cushing at Whitstable Umbrella Centre, © Anita Clarke.