|Star Trek: The Episode Guide
|Born on||11 Jun 1932|
|Died on||08 Jun 2005|
|Last modified||11 Jun 2005|
Ed Bishop was born George Victor Bishop at the Shore Road Hospital in Brooklyn on June 11th, 1932, the son of a banker who had high hopes that Ed would adopt the same career in later life. In 1939, the family moved from Brooklyn to the small town of Peekskill, 42 miles outside New York, where Ed graduated from Peekskill High School in 1950. He then attended Courtland State Teachers' College in Courtland, New York but was dismissed after just six months for "failing to maintain a proper academic standing".
Ed entered National Service in the United States Army in 1952, serving with the Armed Forces Radio Service at St. John's, Newfoundland, working as an announcer and disc jockey presenting hillbilly and western music on Station VOUS. It was here that Ed had his first acting experience, when he joined the local amateur theatrical company, the St. John's Players. Discharged from the Army in 1954, he went to work for Remington Rand Incorporated in Buffalo, New York, and then attended Boston University to study Business Administration in preparation for a career in banking, but he very quickly realised that he had no interest in pursuing this line of work.
In 1956, against his parents' wishes, he enrolled in a two-year course in drama with the Theatre Division at Boston University, graduating in 1959 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in the Theatre. He then won a United States Fulbright Grant to continue his acting studies at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) in England. Changing his name to Ed Bishop for professional purposes, he had intended to return to America after his LAMDA training, but found himself being offered so many roles in television and theatre productions that he decided to stay on in London.
Ed's professional career began on April 14th, 1961 when he appeared in an episode of Granada Television's Drama 61, entitled Edge Of Truth. Three months later he landed a part as an American sailor in Look Homeward, Angel at the Pembroke Theatre, Croydon, and from there he went straight into the West End production of Bye Bye Birdie as an understudy to Peter Marshall. At this time, he made his feature film debut with a minor role in Stanley Kubrick's Lolita (1961), closely followed by another small part in Philip Leacock's The War Lover (1962).
More stage work followed: as an American Indian in Little Mary Sunshine and then reprising his role in Look Homeward, Angel in the West End. He returned to America to make his Broadway debut as an Englishman in David Merrick's prestigious production of The Rehearsal with Coral Browne and Alan Badel, and this was followed six months later by a role in Man And Superman, first in Boston and then back in London in 1964.
In the mid-Sixties, Ed decided to pay more attention to his film career, appearing as an astronaut in The Mouse In The Moon (1963), an army lieutenant in Man In The Middle (1964), a navy lieutenant in The Bedford Incident (1965), a space tracker in You Only Live Twice (1967), and an army intelligence officer investigating covert Chinese activity in Battle Beneath The Earth (1968). In the spring of 1966, he also appeared in a small role as the Aries-1B pilot in Stanley Kubrick's epic 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), shot at the MGM British Studios. As originally filmed this was a much larger part, but in Kubrick's final edit most of Ed's work ended up on the cutting room floor - in the finished picture he is only seen briefly in a scene with William Sylvester, and has no audible dialogue.
Ed was also appearing regularly on television at this time, making guest appearances in The Saint (four times), The Baron, Court Martial and Man In A Suitcase. In the theatre, he attracted considerable attention from critics for his portrayal of John Kennedy in Joan Littlewood's production of MacBird, and went on to co-star with Shirley Knight in And People All Around at the Bristol Old Vic.
Then, in 1967, Ed first came into contact with Gerry and Sylvia Anderson when he was cast as the voice of Captain Blue in Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons. He was heard in all 32 episodes of the popular Supermarionation series, as well as in a series of original Captain Scarlet stories recorded for release on the Century 21 Records label. The Andersons were keen to work with Bishop again and the following year, they cast him in Doppelgänger (1969) as a late replacement for Peter Dyneley in the role of NASA liaison David Poulson.
An appearance in the BBC's Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, a starring role in an episode of Out Of The Unknown and a guest part in Strange Report followed before the call came from the Andersons inviting him to star as Ed Straker in all 26 episodes of UFO. After filming on UFO was completed, Ed appeared in the James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever (1971), guested in The Adventurer and was then employed by Gerry Anderson for a guest role as the deranged Colonel John Hunter in The First Circle, an episode of The Protectors.
In 1972, a short foray to Los Angeles to test the waters on his native soil landed Ed a vocal role in the animated Star Trek series and a major part in the movie Pets (1972), but he soon realised that in America he was regarded as just another American actor, one of thousands all competing for the same roles. He returned to England where he found himself much in demand for guest roles in episodes of series such as Colditz, Orson Welles' Great Mysteries, Warship, Thriller, Oil Strike North, Quiller and The Cedar Tree. He also narrated Jay Williams's The Hawkstone on Jackanory and recorded two vocal roles for Gerry Anderson: as the narrator of The Day After Tomorrow and the voice of one of the puppet characters in Alien Attack, a commercial for Jif Dessert Toppings.
Over the last 25 years, Ed had continued to work extensively in film, television, radio and theatre. He appeared in the feature films Brass Target (1978), SOS Titanic (1979), Saturn 3 (1980), Silver Dream Racer (1980) and The Lords Of Discipline (1983), and was seen on television in instalments of 1990, It Ain't Half Hot Mum, Breakaway, The Professionals (twice), Wilde Alliance, Dick Turpin, The Mad Death, Chocky's Children, The Two Ronnies, French & Saunders and The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. He also appeared as astronaut Jim Lovell in Houston, We've Got A Problem, one of the dramatised reconstructions of real-life events in the BBC's Life At Stake series, and as the motor-mouth TV anchorman Jay Garrick in all six episodes of the cult LWT sitcom Whoops Apocalypse!
Among many other single dramas for BBC Radio 4, Ed starred as Detective Elijah Bailey in an adaptation of Isaac Asimov's The Caves Of Steel, portrayed Philip Marlowe in a series of six adaptations of Raymond Chandler's classic detective novels, and had a recurring role as American tourist Al Clancy in The Archers. His distinctive voice was also heard regularly on commercial television extolling the virtues of products such as Nescafé coffee, Cadbury's Wispa chocolate, Clearasil cleansing lotion and Labatt's lager, while his stage appearances included productions of Deathtrap, Feiffer's America, Waiting For Lefty, Imagine Drowning, Fool For Love and the UK premieres of Arthur Miller's The Archbishop's Ceiling, The Man Who Had All The Luck and Broken Glass.
More recently, he co-starred with Angela Lansbury in the television pilot film The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax, guested in episodes of Highlander and The Demon Headmaster, and appeared as an FBI agent in an episode of the BBC's Waking The Dead. He also co-starred in Big Finish's Doctor Who Unbound audio drama Full Fathom Five, playing the ruthless (and monstrous) General Flint.
Ed Bishop died on the morning of Wednesday, June 8th, 2005, aged 72. He is survived by his third wife Jane Skinner and three daughters - Georgina, Jessica and Serina - by his second wife, Hillary Preen. His son Daniel predeceased him.
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