January 2, 2017


Edward Judd (1932-2009) b. Shanghai, China.

Edward Judd

Edward Judd was a distinguished and perceptive British character actor. He was born to an English father and Russian mother in Shanghai on October 4, 1932. As a child, he wanted to be an actor and when the family moved to Britain he enrolled as a student at Bolton’s Theatre Club in Kensington, West London. From 15 he took part in amateur shows, made his film debut in the convict drama The Small Voice (1948), and went on to appear in repertory theatre. He swiftly followed it with minor roles in The Guinea Pig (1948), Once a Jolly Swagman (1948), The Good Die Young (1954), Carry on Sergeant (1958), I Was Monty’s Double (1958) and Sink the Bismarck! (1960).

His greatest success came early in his career when he was cast in the leading role in The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961). Directed by Val Guest, with a script by Wolf Mankowitz, the film features Judd as a hard-drinking Fleet Street journalist who accidentally discovers that government nuclear tests have knocked the world off its axis and sent it careering towards the sun. The film was a worldwide success and catapulted Judd to international stardom in a series of science fiction films. He followed this with another leading role in the fanciful and dated WWII naval drama, Mystery Submarine (1963).

In Disney’s science-fiction hokum, First Men in the Moon (1964), based on an HG Wells’ story and boasting impressive Ray Harryhausen special effects, Judd joined Victorian inventor Lionel Jeffries in a trip to the moon in an ornate rocket complete with brocade curtains and carpets. Science-fiction escapades continued in the low-budget but atmospheric, Invasion (1965), in which Judd played a hospital doctor seeking to protect an extraterrestrial. He went on to commandingly co-star with Peter Cushing in Terence Fisher’s Island of Terror (1966), a sci-fi horror cheapie featuring absurd bone marrow sucking monsters which was notable for its macabre humour.

Later, as film stardom dwindled, he became a character actor on television, guest starring in series such as The Professionals, The New Avengers, Van Der Valk and Casualty. He was famously the presenter of the "Think Once, Think Twice, Think Bike" road safety campaign, and during the eighties and nineties, he was much in demand as a voice-over artist for radio and TV commercials. Sadly, towards the end of his life he fell into obscurity.

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