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Roland Culver

Roland Joseph Culver

(1900-08-31)31 August 1900
Highgate, London, England
Died1 March 1984(1984-03-01) (aged 83)
Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England
Years active1924–1983
(m. 1938; div. 1946)
Nan Hopkins
(m. 1947)
Children2, including Michael Culver

Roland Joseph Culver, OBE (31 August 1900 – 1 March 1984)[1] was an English stage, film, and television actor.[2]

Life and career

After Highgate School, he joined the Royal Air Force and served as a pilot from 1918 to 1919. After considering other careers, he turned to acting, graduating from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.[3] He debuted on the stage in 1924 at Hull Repertory Theatre and, by 1931, was appearing in films in which he was known for his portrayals of impeccable English gentlemen not given to displays of emotion.[4] In the 1960s he branched out into television before finally retiring in 1983. In 1960 he appeared in Five Finger Exercise at the Music Box Theatre in New York City.[5] He was nominated for the 1966 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play for Ivanov.[6] In 1974 he played the irascible Duke of Omnium and Gatherum in the popular BBC adaptation of, The Pallisers.[7] He took the role of Claudius opposite Paul Schofield's celebrated Hamlet in Howard Sackler's production for Caedmon Shakespeare Recordings in 1963.

He lost half a lung to tuberculosis.

Personal life and death

He was married twice, first to actress, director, and casting agent Daphne Rye between 1932 and 1946, then to Nan Hopkins from 1947 until his death from a heart attack in 1984.[8][4] With his first wife he had two children: actor Michael Culver and Robin Culver.[4]

Culver was awarded an OBE in the 1980 Queen's Birthday Honours for services to drama.


Culver wrote the play A River Breeze, and his autobiography is called Not Quite a Gentleman.[9][7]

Complete filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1931 77 Park Lane Sir Richard Carrington
Fascination Ronnie
1932 A Voice Said Goodnight Reporter Short
Flat No. 9 Short, Uncredited
Love on Wheels Salesman
COD Edward
There Goes the Bride Jacques
Her First Affaire Drunk
Marry Me Tailor Uncredited
1933 Head of the Family Manny
Mayfair Girl Dick Porter
Puppets of Fate Billy Oakhurst
Her Imaginary Lover Raleigh Raleigh
1934 Lucky Loser Pat Hayden
Two Hearts in Waltz Time Freddie
Nell Gwyn Uncredited
Father and Son Vincent
The Scoop Barney Somers
Borrow a Million Charles Nutford
1935 Oh, What a Night Uncredited
1936 Everybody Dance Mr. Wilson – Diner at nightclub Uncredited
Crime Over London Soap Salesman
Accused Henry Capelle
1937 Jump for Glory Conductor
Paradise for Two Paul Duval
1939 Blind Folly Ford
1940 French Without Tears Cmdr. Bill Rogers
Dangerous Comment Officer Short
Girl in the News Police Inspector Uncredited
Night Train to Munich Roberts
1941 Old Bill and Son Colonel
Fingers Hugo Allen
Quiet Wedding Boofy Ponsonby
This England Steward
1942 One of Our Aircraft Is Missing Naval Officer
The Day Will Dawn Cmdr. Pittwaters
Unpublished Story Stannard
The First of the Few Commander Bride
Secret Mission Captain Red Gowan
Talk About Jacqueline Leslie Waddington
1943 The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp Colonel Betteridge
Dear Octopus Felix Martin
1944 On Approval Richard Halton
English Without Tears Sir Cosmo Brandon
Give Us the Moon Ferdinand
1945 Dead of Night Eliot Foley
Perfect Strangers Richard
1946 To Each His Own Lord Desham
Wanted for Murder Chief Insp. Conway
1947 Singapore Michael Van Leyden
Down to Earth Mr. Jordan
1948 The Emperor Waltz Baron Holenia
Isn't It Romantic? Major Eucid Cameron
1949 The Great Lover Grand Duke Maximillian
1950 Trio Mr. Ashenden Segment "Sanatorium"
1951 The Late Edwina Black Inspector Martin
Hotel Sahara Major Bill Randall
Encore George Ramsay Segment "The Ant and the Grasshopper"
The Magic Box 1st Company Promoter
1952 The Hour of 13 Connor
Folly to Be Wise George Prout
1953 The Holly and the Ivy Lord B.
Rough Shoot Randall
1954 Betrayed Gen. Warsleigh
The Teckman Mystery Insp. Harris
1955 Dangerous Comment Officer Short
The Man Who Loved Redheads Major Oscar Philipson
The Ship That Died of Shame Fordyce
Touch and Go Fairbright
An Alligator Named Daisy Col. Geoffrey Weston
1956 Safari Sir Vincent Brampton
1957 The Hypnotist Doctor Francis Pelham
Light Fingers Humphrey Levenham
The Vicious Circle Detective Inspector Dane
The Truth About Women Charles Tavistock
1958 Bonjour Tristesse Mr. Lombard
Next to No Time Sir Godfrey Cowan
Rockets Galore! Captain Wagget
1962 A Pair of Briefs Sir John Pilbright
Term of Trial Trowman
The Iron Maiden Lord Upshott
1964 The Yellow Rolls-Royce Norwood
1965 Thunderball Home Secretary
1966 A Man Could Get Killed Doctor Mathieson
1969 In Search of Gregory Wardle
The Magic Christian Sir Herbert Uncredited
1970 Fragment of Fear Mr. Vellacot
The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer Sir Eric Bentley
Uncle Vanya Serebriakov TV film
1972 To Encourage the Others Lord Goddard TV movie
1973 Bequest to the Nation Lord Barham
The Legend of Hell House Mr. (Rudolph) Deutsch
The Mackintosh Man Judge
1975 Lloyd George Knew My Father General Sir William Boothroyd TV movie
1976 No Longer Alone A.E. Matthews
1977 The Uncanny Wallace Segment "London 1912"
1978 The Greek Tycoon Robert Keith
1979 Saint Joan TV movie
1980 Rough Cut Mr. Lloyd Palmer
The Double Dealer Saygrace TV movie
Never Never Land Mr. Salford
1982 The Hunchback of Notre Dame Bishop of Paris TV movie
Britannia Hospital General Wetherby
The Missionary Lord Fermleigh


  1. ^ The Times obituary 3 March 1984
  2. ^ "Roland Culver". BFI. Archived from the original on 16 July 2012.
  3. ^ "Roland Culver movies, photos, movie reviews, filmography, and biography". AllMovie.
  4. ^ a b c Flint, Peter B. (3 March 1984). "Roland Culver Is Dead at 83; a Character Actor 55 Years". The New York Times.
  5. ^ "Five Finger Exercise – Broadway Play – Original – IBDB".
  6. ^ "ROLAND CULVER IS DEAD AT 83 - A CHARACTER ACTOR 55 YEARS". The New York Times. 3 March 1984.
  7. ^ a b "BFI Screenonline: Culver, Roland (1900–1984) Biography".
  8. ^ "Obituary: Daphne Rye". The Independent. 14 December 1992.
  9. ^ "A RIVER BREEZE. By Roland Culver. (Phtenix.) THE savagery with". The Spectator Archive.