Peter Ustinov (Peter Ustinov)

Peter   Ustinov

Actor, Motion Picture Director, Educator. He is best remembered for his film roles of vain, selfish, insolent and rude characters. Born of Russian descent, where his grandfather, an officer in the Czar’s Army, was exiled for refusing to convert to the Eastern Orthodox Church (he was Protestant), his mother was Nadia Benois, also of a Russian exile family in London. He began acting at age 17, sold his first screenplay at age 24, and directed his first film at age 25. During World War II, he was the batman (personal assistant) to British actor, Lieutenant Colonel David Niven, with the rank of Private. In 1951, he received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his role of the ‘Emperor Nero’ in the film “Quo Vadis” (1951). Two Oscars, also for Best Supporting Actor, came for his role of ‘Lentulus Batiatus’ in “Spartacus” (1960) and for the role of ‘Arthur Simon Simpson’ in “Topkapi” (1964). In later years, he was remembered for his role (reprised several times, including television) of Belgian detective Hercule Poirot in the Agatha Christie mystery movies, “Death on the Nile” (1978), “Evil Under the Sun” (1982), and “Appointment With Death” (1988). He also produced the voices for such cartoon hits as ‘Prince John’ in Disney’s “Robin Hood” (1973), and as ‘Manny’ the Rat in “The Mouse and His Child” (1977). He did what is considered a remarkable job in playing the role of ‘Markov’ in “The Last Remake of Beau Geste” (1977). He has also won three Emmy Awards, in 1957, 1966, and in 1970, for his work in television. Fluent in French, German, English, Italian, Russian, and Spanish, he was married three times. In 1975, he was awarded the Companion of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), and in 1990, he was knighted Sir Peter Ustinov. In 1992, he became Chancellor of the University of Durham, a position he held until his death in 2004 at his home in Switzerland.

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  • April, 16, 1921
  • England


  • March, 28, 2004
  • Switzerland


  • Bursins Cemetery
  • Switzerland

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