January 2, 2017


Terence Morgan (1921-2005) b. London, England.

Terence Morgan

Born in Lewisham, Terence Morgan worked as a clerk at Lloyd’s of London before winning a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He served two years in the army before being invalided out. His debut film role as Laertes in Laurence Olivier‘s Hamlet (1948), however, before he could become an established Shakespearean actor, Morgan plunged into film acting, mostly playing a string of charming cads.

In only his third feature Morgan leant support to Gregory Peck and Virginia Mayo in Captain Horatio Hornblower RN (1951), made in England at Teddington Studios. Morgan went on to make 20 British films, most of them for the Rank Organisation. In Gigolo and Gigolette, one of the three Somerset Maugham vignettes in Encore (1953), he is a mercenary cad risking the life of his wife, who has lost her nerve in a nightly high-diving act at a resort hotel. He was the heavy again in Ealing’s Mandy (1952) as the insensitive father of a deaf girl who battles with his wife over her wish to send their daughter to a special school. Morgan, who had now perfected his line in nasty personas, was at it again in Turn the Key Softly (1953) as the crookk who nets his girlfriend a prison sentence for helping him in a burglary.

He was once again behaving badly in Forbidden Cargo (1954) as a smuggler, and in Tread Softly Stranger (1958), he is an embezzler and murderer, who robs a steel mill in order to keep his girlfriend in expensive clothes. On the rare occasions that he was asked to play comedy, Morgan showed a light touch, as in the two films in which he co-starred with Peggy Cummins: Always A Bride (1953), in which he was a treasury investigator who falls in love with the daughter of a swindler, and joins the father in his nefarious schemes; and March Hare (1955), a pleasant Technicolor horse-racing romp filmed in Ireland, where Morgan is an impoverished aristocrat training a horse for the Derby.

Morgan’s prolific period in films ended with two dark thrillers: The Shakedown (1959), in which he plays a blackmailer and pornographer, and Piccadilly Third Stop (1960) Morgan is a petty thief planning a big haul. With parts roles drying up, Morgan landed the plum title role in a swashbuckling ITC television series, The Adventures of Sir Francis Drake, which ran every week from November 1961 to May 1962. Future parts were few and far between. In the pallid Hammer horror movie, The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (1964), he is the resurrected evil younger son of Rameses VIII, now living in Victorian London. Penthouse (1967), was a shabby little shocker, Morgan, as an estate agent, is the victim of thugs who force him to watch as they abuse his girlfriend. In Morgan’s final feature film, The Lifetaker (1975), the tables are turned when he portrays a wealthy businessman and former mercenary who plans ritualistic revenge on his wife and her lover.

After retiring from acting, Morgan ran a small hotel in Hove for many years before becoming a property developer.

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