Biography

A highly respected Shakespearean for five decades until his death of colon cancer in 1995, classical actor Eric Porter's claim to international fame would, ironically, be outside of that realm, with one superb portrayal in one superb miniseries, The Forsyte Saga(1967), in which he won the BAFTA award. The son of Richard John Porter and Phoebe Elizabeth Spall, Porter first attended Wimbledon Technical College before stepping onto the stage as a walk-on in a production of William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" in February 1945 at the Arts Theatre in Cambridge. He continued in repertory until joining the National Service with the RAF during the war years. Early post-war credits would include touring with Sir Donald Wolfit and Sir Barry Jackson in their prestigious companies. Favorite roles in his repertoire would eventually include "Macbeth", "King Lear" and "Uncle Vanya". He won London's Evening Standard Award for "Rosmersholm" in 1959. Joining the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1960, he became a prime, esteemed resident for decades. Porter made his film debut in mid-career with The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) at age 36, but it was the BBC that made him an international favorite as the ever-proper but intensely emotional and unhinged "Soames Forsyte". Taboos were broken on that series with a violent rape scene that had people talking for months. Along with the newly acquired fame came leads in lesser films such as The Lost Continent(1968) and Hands of the Ripper (1971), adding class to both those atmospheric horrors. On the plus side, Porter engaged himself frequently in quality TV miniseries fare includingAnna Karenina (1977), The Jewel in the Crown (1984) and Oliver Twist (1985) (as Fagin), while transferring many classics to TV as well, with "Cyrano de Bergerac", "Man and Superman" and "Macbeth" being but a few.

A highly respected Shakespearean for five decades until his death of colon cancer in 1995, classical actor Eric Porter's claim to international fame would, ironically, be outside of that realm, with one superb portrayal in one superb miniseries, The Forsyte Saga(1967), in which he won the BAFTA award. The son of Richard John Porter and Phoebe Elizabeth Spall, Porter first attended Wimbledon Technical College before stepping onto the stage as a walk-on in a production of William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" in February 1945 at the Arts Theatre in Cambridge. He continued in repertory until joining the National Service with the RAF during the war years. Early post-war credits would include touring with Sir Donald Wolfit and Sir Barry Jackson in their prestigious companies. Favorite roles in his repertoire would eventually include "Macbeth", "King Lear" and "Uncle Vanya". He won London's Evening Standard Award for "Rosmersholm" in 1959. Joining the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1960, he became a prime, esteemed resident for decades. Porter made his film debut in mid-career with The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) at age 36, but it was the BBC that made him an international favorite as the ever-proper but intensely emotional and unhinged "Soames Forsyte". Taboos were broken on that series with a violent rape scene that had people talking for months. Along with the newly acquired fame came leads in lesser films such as The Lost Continent(1968) and Hands of the Ripper (1971), adding class to both those atmospheric horrors. On the plus side, Porter engaged himself frequently in quality TV miniseries fare includingAnna Karenina (1977), The Jewel in the Crown (1984) and Oliver Twist (1985) (as Fagin), while transferring many classics to TV as well, with "Cyrano de Bergerac", "Man and Superman" and "Macbeth" being but a few.

Personal Info

Known For Acting

Gender Male

Known Credits 35

Birthday 1928-04-08

Day of Death 1995-05-15

Place of Birth Shepard's Bush, London, UK

Official Site -

Also Known As

  • -

Acting TV ShowsMovies

1994 Message for Posterity as James Player
1985 Oliver Twist (12 episodes) as Fagin
1985 The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Final Problem as Professor Moriarty
1984 Sherlock Holmes (2 episodes) as Professor Moriarty
1984 The Jewel in the Crown (14 episodes) as Dimitri Bronowsky
1981 Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years (8 episodes)
1981 The Sin Bin as Stanley Wilkinson
1981 Churchill and the Generals as Gen. Sir Alan Brooke
1980 Little Lord Fauntleroy as Mr. Havisham
1980 Hamlet as Polonius
1980 Why Didn't They Ask Evans? as Dr. Nicholson
1980 The Crucible
1978 BBC Television Shakespeare (1 episode)
1978 The Thirty Nine Steps as Chief Superintendent Lomas
1977 Anna Karenina (10 episodes) as Karenin
1977 The Winslow Boy as Arthur Winslow
1977 The Shetland Experience
1975 Hennessy as Tobin
1974 Callan as Hunter
1973 The Day of the Jackal as Colonel Rodin
1973 Hitler: The Last Ten Days as Generalfeldmarschall Robert Ritter von Greim
1973 The Belstone Fox as Asher Smith
1972 Antony and Cleopatra as Enobarbus
1971 Nicholas and Alexandra as Stolypin
1971 Hands of the Ripper as Dr. John Pritchard
1970 Play for Today (1 episode)
1970 Separate Tables as Major Pollock / John Malcolm
1968 The Lost Continent as Lansen
1967 The Forsyte Saga (26 episodes) as Soames Forsyte
1966 Kaleidoscope as Harry Dominion
1965 The Heroes of Telemark as Terboven
1965 Play of the Month (4 episodes)
1964 The Fall of the Roman Empire as Julianus

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