Ferdy Mayne
Ferdy Mayne.jpg
Born(1916-03-11)11 March 1916
Mainz, Germany
Died30 January 1998(1998-01-30) (aged 81)
Lordington, West Sussex, England
Alma materRADA
Old Vic School
Years active1922–1996
Deirdre de Payer
(m. 1955; div. 1972)
ChildrenBelinda Mayne
Fernanda Mayne (adopted)

Ferdy Mayne (or Ferdie Mayne) (born Ferdinand Philip Mayer-Horckel; 11 March 1916 – 30 January 1998) was a German-British stage and screen actor.[1][2] Born in Mainz, he emigrated to the United Kingdom in the early 1930s to escape the Nazi regime. He resided in the UK for the majority of his professional career. Working almost continuously throughout a 60 year-long career, Mayne was known as a versatile character actor, often playing suave villains and aristocratic eccentrics in films like The Fearless Vampire Killers, Where Eagles Dare, Barry Lyndon, and Benefit of the Doubt.

Early life

He was born Ferdinand Philip Mayer-Horckel in Mainz, Germany. His German father was the judge of Mainz, while his half-English mother was a singing instructor.[3]

Because his family was Jewish, a teenage Mayne was sent to Britain in 1932 to protect him from the Nazis. He stayed with his aunt, Li Osborne (1883-1968), nee Luisa Friedericka Wolf, a well-known German theatre and film portrait photographer. Just a few years previously, she fled Germany for England, married, became Li Hutchinson-Wolf, and, as a noted sculptress, used the name Lee Hutchinson.[3] Mayne obtained British citizenship. His parents were detained briefly in Buchenwald but, due to his mother's British family connections, were able to leave Germany for Britain, where they settled permanently.

At the start of the Second World War, Mayne operated as an informant for MI5. Significant clues to his secret service work were provided by Joan Miller in her posthumously published memoir One Girl's War (1986). Mayne had served as a witness at her marriage in 1945.


Mayne appeared in 230 films and television programmes. In 1967, he achieved international recognition in his role as Count von Krolock in Roman Polanski's The Fearless Vampire Killers.[2]

In 1977, he appeared in "It Pays to Advertise", an episode of Are You Being Served?,[4] in the role of "The Ten Pound Perfume".[5]

Later, Mayne moved to the United States and played the semi-regular role of Albert Grand in the TV series Cagney and Lacey.[6]

In 1983, he played the role of Ludwig Rosenthal, a wealthy Jewish merchant persecuted and dispossessed by the Nazis, in Winds of War, a television miniseries based on the eponymous novel by Herman Wouk.

Personal life

In 1955, Mayne married actress Deirdre de Payer. Their daughter Belinda Mayne is also an actress. They also adopted a daughter, Fernanda, in 1965. The couple divorced in 1972.

Illness and death

In the 1990s, Mayne developed Parkinson's disease, from which he died on 30 January 1998 in London, aged 81.[3]

Partial filmography


  1. ^ "Ferdy Mayne". BFI. Archived from the original on 13 July 2012.
  2. ^ a b Hal Erickson. "Ferdinand "Ferdy" Mayne – Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos – AllMovie". AllMovie.
  3. ^ a b c Vallance, Tom (4 February 1998). "Obituary: Ferdy Mayne". The Independent. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  4. ^ TV.com: Are You Being Served? "It Pays To Advertise"
  5. ^ Britannia.org: Are You Being Served? Episode Details – "It Pays To Advertise"
  6. ^ "Ferdy Mayne". TV.com.