January 15, 1905
March 4, 1981
Newbury Park, New Jersey, United States
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Severe and beefy, with a name that suggests a malignant Norse legend, Torin Thatcher made a career out of being the bad guy. After studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he had a stint as a schoolteacher. He first appeared on the West End in the 1920s and, within a decade, had the chance to play the Ghost to Laurence Olivier's Hamlet and Vivien Leigh's Ophelia. By that point, he'd already had his fair share of work in the British film industry; he even had an uncredited bit in "Sabotage," one of Alfred Hitchcock's pre-Hollywood thrillers. World War II interrupted Thatcher's career--he rose to the rank of major in the Royal Artillery--but he then found his way into such postwar classics as Carol Reed's "The Fallen Idol" and David Lean's "Great Expectations." Eventually, he was exported to Hollywood, which dressed him in period clothes and sent him out to sea in such swashbucklers as "The Crimson Pirate," "Blackbeard, the Pirate," and the infamous Marlon Brando remake of "Mutiny on the Bounty." Thatcher went even further back in history: as a Roman senator at the time of Christ in "The Robe," Ulysses in the Homeric "Helen of Troy," and an evil sorcerer in Ray Harryhausen's quirky classic "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad." In his later years, Thatcher's villainy was relegated mainly to TV, but the thespian always made time for the theater; he played opposite Anne Bancroft in the first production of "The Miracle Worker."