14 December 1908
Thames Ditton, Surrey, England
|Died||5 June 1992 (aged 83)|
Southport, Queensland, Australia
Laurence Naismith (born Lawrence Johnson; 14 December 1908 – 5 June 1992) was an English actor. He made numerous film and television appearances, including starring roles in the musical films Scrooge (1970) and the children's ghost film The Amazing Mr. Blunden (1972). He also had memorable roles as Captain Edward Smith of the RMS Titanic in A Night to Remember (1958), the First Sea Lord in Sink the Bismarck! (1960), and Argus in Jason and the Argonauts (1963).
Naismith was born as Lawrence Johnson in Thames Ditton, Surrey, in 1908. He attended All Saints Choir School, Margaret Street, London, and was a chorus member for a 1927 production of the George Gershwin musical Oh, Kay!. He later worked in repertory theatre and ran a repertory company of his own. Naismith served in the British Merchant Navy and at the outbreak of the Second World War, he joined the British Army where he became an officer in the Royal Artillery.
His film roles included Carrington V.C. (1954), Richard III (1955), The Man Who Never Was (1956), A Night to Remember (1958), Sink the Bismarck! (1960), The World of Suzie Wong (1960) and Jason and the Argonauts (1963). He played the non-singing role of Merlin in the 1967 film version of the musical Camelot and appeared in the James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever (1971) as the chairman of the diamond trading syndicate.
In 1965, Naismith played the title role of the Virginia statesman George Mason in the NBC documentary series, Profiles in Courage. William Bakewell played George Wythe in the episode, and Arthur Franz was cast as James Madison. In 1965, Naismith guest-starred as barber Gilly Bright in episode 25, "The Threat" of the ABC military drama, 12 O'Clock High and Dr. McCallister in the ABC action drama, The Fugitive, starring David Janssen. In 1969 he played Don Q Hought in an episode of Bonanza. He played Judge Fulton in the television series The Persuaders! (1971), with Tony Curtis and Roger Moore. He portrayed Emperor of Austria Franz Joseph in the BBC production Fall of Eagles (1974). Naismith played the Prince of Verona in the BBC Television Shakespeare version of Romeo and Juliet. He also appeared in the BBC sitcom Oh, Father! (1972) and played in The Invaders (1967–68) with Roy Thinnes.
In 1934 he appeared alongside Jack Buchanan in the musical Mr. Whittington in London's West End. He appeared on Broadway in the Meredith Willson musical Here's Love in 1963, opposite Janis Paige.