On screen he portrayed some of cinema’s most iconic characters, from Sherlock Holmes to Doctor Who and the Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars, and made his name in Hammer horror movies playing Baron Frankenstein and vampire hunter Dr Van Helsing. Yet for all the frights he gave audiences, Peter Cushing was well known as one of life’s gentlemen – devoted to his late wife Helen, a passionate watercolour artist, and in love with his adopted town of Whitstable in Kent – which he made his home from the 1950s until his death in 1994. To mark the 100th anniversary of the actor’s birth on 26 May, a number of special events are taking place in Whitstable and London.
Peter Cushing at 100
Whitstable Museum and Gallery (Kent) | 29 March-13 June 2013
A special exhibition celebrating the life of Whitstable’s favourite resident features a host of artefacts, from film stills and posters to examples of his artwork and even the pair of slippers he famously wore while filming Star Wars. Click here for ticketing details.
Peter Cushing: The Complete Memoirs | Book Launch
Cinema Museum (London) | Sunday 12 May, 7.30pm
Film historian Jonathan Rigby and Peter Cushing’s former assistant Bernard Broughton will be special guests at the launch of Peter Cushing: The Complete Memoirs, which collects together Cushing’s 1980s books – An Autobiography and Past Forgetting – with the 1955 memoir The Peter Cushing Story, and includes extensive unseen material from his private collection. For tickets, click here.
Brides of Dracula | Film Screening
Horsebridge Community Centre (Whitstable, Kent) | Saturday 25 May, 7.30pm
A screening the 1960 Hammer horror film starring Peter Cushing as vampire hunter Van Helsing. Tickets are £5 – Box Office: 01227 281174
Peter Cushing Centenary Weekend
(Whitstable, Kent) | Saturday 25 May-Sunday 26 May
In 2004, on the 10th anniversary of the actor’s death, more than 12,000 people from around the world descended on the coastal town, visiting the local museum and the strolling around the same places that Cushing frequented, including the Tudor Tea Rooms and Cushing’s View, a seaside spot much favoured by the actor. The 100th anniversary will be even more special, with events being held in and around the town, including the Peter Cushing pub (a converted art deco cinema) on Oxford Street.
Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell | Film Screening
BFI Southbank (London) | Wednesday 29 May, 6.30pm
This 1973 Hammer horror was the final instalment in the studio’s Frankenstein franchise starring Peter Cushing. The BFI are screening a new HD restoration of the film, with an introduction from actress Madeline Smith and Joyce Broughton, Cushing’s secretary for 35 years. For more information, click here.
If you hear of any other events coinciding with Peter Cushing’s centenary, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will endeavour to spread the word.
To remind you of how wonderful Peter Cushing was, check out this vintage clip from one of his many guest appearances on the Morcambe & Wise TV show.