John Carson
John Derek Carson-Parker

(1927-02-28)28 February 1927
Colombo, Ceylon (present-day Sri Lanka)
Died5 November 2016(2016-11-05) (aged 89)
Cape Town, South Africa
Years active1946–2016
SpouseLuanshya Greer

John Derek Carson-Parker (28 February 1927 – 5 November 2016), known as John Carson, was an English actor known for his appearances in film and television.

Early life and education

Born to English parents in Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), where his father worked on tea and rubber plantations, he was educated in Australia and went to Britain to do national service as an artillery officer in an anti-aircraft regiment between 1944 and 1945.[1] He then studied law at Queen's College, Oxford before leaving for New Zealand, where he worked in amateur theatre before returning to Britain to begin his professional career.[2] His stage appearances included the original productions of A Man For All Seasons and A Day in the Death of Joe Egg.[3][2]


Making his film debut in 1947, Carson carved out a career appearing in low-budget British films such as Seven Keys (1961); Smokescreen (1964); and Master Spy (1964). His saturnine looks and sinister voice (sometimes compared with James Mason) led to him starring in a number of horror films including The Night Caller (1965); The Plague of the Zombies (1966); The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970); Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970); and Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter (1972).[1][4]

Beside his appearances in horror films he was also known for his many villainous turns in adventure series of the 1960s, such as The Adventures of Robin Hood; The Avengers; The Saint; Adam Adamant Lives!; The Baron; Man in a Suitcase; The Champions and Department S.[5]

His long and varied list of television credits include Emergency - Ward 10; Ivanhoe; William Tell; Armchair Theatre; Maigret; Out of the Unknown; Emma (as Mr. Knightley); Dixon of Dock Green; Crown Court; The New Avengers; Telford's Change; Secret Army; Special Branch; The Professionals; Tales of the Unexpected; Hammer House of Horror; Doctor Who (Snakedance); Shaka Zulu and Poirot.[6] He was also the voice-over performer in Sunsilk TV commercials.[1]

Personal life

Carson moved with his family to South Africa in 1983 and continued to work in film and television.[7] He died at his home in Cape Town on 5 November 2016 at the age of 89. Married twice, he was survived by his second wife, novelist Luanshya Greer, a British actress, who is best known for her roles on television during the 1960s.[8] In 1966, she had changed her forename from Pamela to Luanshya, and become a writer for TV shows including Dixon of Dock Green, Thriller and Triangle. Carson was also survived by his six children, four from his first marriage, Richard, Chris, Katie and Harry, and two from his second marriage, Ben and Suzanna.[9]

Selected filmography




  1. ^ a b c Hadoke, Toby (8 November 2016). "John Carson obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Obituary - John Carson, actor and Hammer star". HeraldScotland.
  3. ^ "John Carson | Theatricalia".
  4. ^ "Madeline Smith and John Carson Join Hammer Horror: The Warner Bros. Years Documentary". 25 October 2015.
  5. ^ "John Carson".
  6. ^ "John Carson". BFI. Archived from the original on 10 July 2016.
  7. ^ "John Carson". 10 February 2017.
  8. ^ "Luanshya Greer". BFI. Archived from the original on 25 February 2021.
  9. ^ Notice of death of John Carson,; accessed 13 February 2019.