January 2, 2017


Tom Bell (1933-2006) b. Liverpool, England.

Tom Bell

Liverpudlian character actor Tom Bell began his film career in 1960 but never fulfilled his early promise – in latter years becoming typecast with sordid and seedy roles. Thomas Bell was educated at Euston Road Primary School in Morecambe and went on to train at the Bradford Civic Theatre.

Bell spent some time in repertory theatre before launching his film career with a trio of effective low-budget crime thrillers; The Criminal (1960), Payroll (1961) and A Prize of Arms (1962), Bell’s breakthrough success came with the role of Toby in Bryan Forbes‘ The L-Shaped Room (1962). Some lead roles followed but subsequent thriller He Who Rides a Tiger (1966) ran into post-production troubles and The Long Day’s Dying (1968) was perhaps too avant-garde for the war film genre.

Bell drifted into television, where he became a fixture in the 1970s and 80s. In 1978 he had come to worldwide attention as Adolf Eichmann in the Emmy award-winning mini-series Holocaust. He earned a 1979 Bafta TV nomination for his role as armed robber Frank Ross in Out, and was again Bafta nominated for his role as sexist officer Detective Sergeant Bill Otley who clashed with Helen Mirren‘s character in Prime Suspect. His portrayal of Uncle Philip in the 1987 TV adaptation of Angela Carter’s The Magic Toyshop was strikingly sinister and gave the film a genuine hint of menace.

He continued to grace the silver screen and provided memorable appearances in films including Wish You Were Here? (1987), Jack "the Hat" McVitie in Peter Medak’s film The Krays (1990) and a strong supporting performance in the powerful Let Him Have It (1991).

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