Coulouris as Thatcher in Citizen Kane (1941)
George Alexander Coulouris
1 October 1903
|Died||25 April 1989 (aged 85)|
|Elizabeth Donaldson (1977-1989) (his death)|
Louise Franklin (1930-1976) (her death) 2 children
Mary Louise Coulouris
George Coulouris (1 October 1903 - 25 April 1989) was an English film and stage actor.
Coulouris was born in Manchester, Lancashire, England, the son of Abigail (née Redfern) and Nicholas Coulouris, a merchant of Greek origin. He was brought up both in Manchester and nearby Urmston and was educated at Manchester Grammar School. He attended London's Central School of Speech and Drama, in the company of fellow students Laurence Olivier and Peggy Ashcroft.
A major impact on his life was Orson Welles, whom he met in 1936 when they both had roles in the Broadway production of Sidney Kingsley's Ten Million Ghosts. Welles invited Coulouris to become a charter member of his Mercury Theatre, and in 1937 Coulouris performed the role of Mark Antony in the company's debut production, Caesar, an innovative modern-dress production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.
In 1938, he appeared in the Mercury stage productions of The Shoemaker's Holiday and Heartbreak House, and became part of the repertory company that presented CBS Radio's The Mercury Theatre on the Air and its sponsored continuation, The Campbell Playhouse (1938-40). Also for CBS, in 1944 he starred in the radio series Suspense, in the episode "Portrait without a Face".
In Citizen Kane (1941), Coulouris played Walter Parks Thatcher, a financier similar to J. P. Morgan. Coulouris and Welles each received a 1941 National Board of Review Award for their performances.
During the 1930s and 1940s, Coulouris remained a regular figure on the stage and screen, starring in his own Broadway production of Richard III in 1943. His films in this period included For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), Between Two Worlds (1944), Mr. Skeffington (1944) and Watch on the Rhine (1943), in which he repeated the role he originated in the Broadway production. He also performed as Robert de Baudricourt in Joan of Arc (1948), starring Ingrid Bergman. While most of his performances are strong ones, usually as a heavy or villain, occasionally he could turn his serious characterizations into humorous ones. Thatcher in Citizen Kane is fussy and pompous at times. A better (if briefer) example was in Mr. Skeffington as Dr. Byles, planning to go on a well-deserved, long-delayed holiday only to find it delayed again by a selfish, impossible Fanny Skeffington (Bette Davis).[clarification needed]
Coulouris returned to Britain after 1950, living first in Putney and later in Hampstead. He appeared in more films, theatre and television productions. His stage work was the most well regarded and included the title role in King Lear at the Glasgow Citizens' Theatre (1952); the lead (Dr. Stockmann) in An Enemy of the People (1959) at the Arts Theatre, Cambridge; Peter Flynn in Seán O'Casey's The Plough and the Stars at the Mermaid Theatre (1962); a part in August Strindberg's The Dance of Death; and Big Daddy in Tennessee Williams's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1970).
Later film roles included parts in The Heart of the Matter (1953), Doctor in the House (1954), Papillon (1973), Mahler and Murder on the Orient Express (both 1974). He had rare leading roles in the British horror movies The Man Without a Body (1957) and The Woman Eater (1958).
He played in over 80 films, but radio roles were also numerous, and his television roles included parts in Danger Man and The Prisoner ("Checkmate", 1967). Other appearances included the recurring role of science writer Harcourt Brown in the ABC serials, Pathfinders to Mars and Pathfinders to Venus, which were sequels to earlier serials; Target Luna and Pathfinders in Space. He appeared as Arbitan in the Doctor Who serial The Keys of Marinus (1964).
George Coulouris's Broadway credits are listed at the Internet Broadway Database.