Image of Eric Porter

Eric Porter

A highly respected Shakespearean for five decades until his death of colon cancer in 1995, classical actor Eric Porter's claim to international fame would, ironically, be outside of that realm, with one superb portrayal in one superb miniseries, The Forsyte Saga(1967), in which he won the BAFTA award. The son of Richard John Porter and Phoebe Elizabeth Spall, Porter first attended Wimbledon Technical College before stepping onto the stage as a walk-on in a production of William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" in February 1945 at the Arts Theatre in Cambridge. He continued in repertory until joining the National Service with the RAF during the war years. Early post-war credits would include touring with Sir Donald Wolfit and Sir Barry Jackson in their prestigious companies. Favorite roles in his repertoire would eventually include "Macbeth", "King Lear" and "Uncle Vanya". He won London's Evening Standard Award for "Rosmersholm" in 1959. Joining the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1960, he became a prime, esteemed resident for decades. Porter made his film debut in mid-career with The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) at age 36, but it was the BBC that made him an international favorite as the ever-proper but intensely emotional and unhinged "Soames Forsyte". Taboos were broken on that series with a violent rape scene that had people talking for months. Along with the newly acquired fame came leads in lesser films such as The Lost Continent(1968) and Hands of the Ripper (1971), adding class to both those atmospheric horrors. On the plus side, Porter engaged himself frequently in quality TV miniseries fare includingAnna Karenina (1977), The Jewel in the Crown (1984) and Oliver Twist (1985) (as Fagin), while transferring many classics to TV as well, with "Cyrano de Bergerac", "Man and Superman" and "Macbeth" being but a few.

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Apr 8, 1928 In Shepard's Bush, London, UK
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the series The Red-Headed League
Latest Project:
Movie The Heroes of Telemark: Location report from Norway 2003-10-31
Known For
Poster of Message for Posterity
Poster of The Shetland Experience
Poster of The Belstone Fox
Poster of The Red-Headed League
Series The Red-Headed League Unknown 2024
Movie The Heroes of Telemark: Location report from Norway 2003-10-31
Movie Message for Posterity James Player 1994-10-28
Movie Oliver Twist Fagin 1985-01-01
Series Oliver Twist 1985-10-13
Series The Jewel in the Crown Dimitri Bronowsky 1984-01-09
Series Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years 1981-09-06
Movie The Crucible 1980-01-01
Movie Why Didn't They Ask Evans? Dr. Nicholson 1980-03-30
Movie Hamlet Polonius 1980-05-25
Movie Little Lord Fauntleroy Mr. Havisham 1980-12-01
Movie The Thirty Nine Steps Chief Superintendent Lomas 1978-11-04
Series BBC Television Shakespeare Unknown 1978-12-01
Movie The Shetland Experience Narrator (voice) 1977-01-01
Movie The Winslow Boy Arthur Winslow 1977-01-16
Series Anna Karenina Karenin 1977-09-25
Series The Glittering Prizes Unknown 1976-01-21
Movie Hennessy Tobin 1975-12-31
Movie Callan Hunter 1974-05-23
Movie Hitler: The Last Ten Days Generalfeldmarschall Robert Ritter von Greim 1973-04-19
Movie The Belstone Fox Asher Smith 1973-01-01
Movie The Day of the Jackal Colonel Rodin 1973-05-15
Movie Antony and Cleopatra Enobarbus 1972-03-18
Movie Hands of the Ripper Dr. John Pritchard 1971-10-17
Movie Nicholas and Alexandra Stolypin 1971-11-29
Movie Separate Tables Major Pollock / John Malcolm 1970-03-15
Series Play for Today Unknown 1970-10-15
Movie The Lost Continent Lansen 1968-06-19
Series The Forsyte Saga Soames Forsyte 1967-01-07
Movie The Last Invasion Harold 1966-08-24
Movie Kaleidoscope Harry Dominion 1966-07-01
Movie The Wars of the Roses Henry VII 1965-04-08
Series Play of the Month Unknown 1965-10-19
Movie The Heroes of Telemark Terboven 1965-11-22
Movie The Fall of the Roman Empire Julianus 1964-03-24
Movie Emma 1948-05-23