ON SEEING these rare and unpublished photographs for the first time, it isn't obvious who the man in the pics actually could be. A neat and trim moustache, the absence of a hair piece and several pounds of body weight along with clothing that wasn't the usual attire familiar to the thousands of cinema goers, who had watched him on the big screen and tv over the past three decades. 1971 was a year that changed Peter Cushing's life forever. The loss of his wife, Helen in February after many years of fighting her illness, set Cushing on a path of work, that would have psychically and emotionally exhausted many others.
THE GRIEF AND LOSS effected everything in Cushing's life, except as he saw, his one distraction away from the loneliness and pain. Work. These unpublished stills were taken in December 1971, as part of a Radio Times magazine feature, promoting a BBC radio programme Peter had recorded earlier on July 27th -29th July 1971 at his home in Whitstable. The programme 'Nature Spectacular' focused on the wildlife and birds of which Peter was very familiar and loved around his beach front home. I am sure you have seen the many watercolour's and sketches that Peter produced over the years, here on PCASUK. He was a lover of nature. The photo session produced quite a few unique captures of Peter, that we will be sharing over the next three weeks. . .
THIS LOOK INTO Peter's home study, gives us a peep into the things that surrounded his day, the photo portrate of his late wife, the paperwork, the delicate bird figures he made and his desk, which I am very proud to be sat at, while writing this. Just a few weeks before these photographs were taken, Cushing had began his journey, in 'keeping busy' in March until April, he returned in his first film just weeks after Helen passed, Hammer films 'Twins of Evil', September he filmed his award winning performance as Arthur Grimsdyke in Amicus films, 'Tales from the Crypt' at Shepperton studios, work on Hammer's Dracula AD 1972' as Van Helsing with Christopher Lee as the Count, kept him busy from September 27th until November 5th along with several radio appearances from September 30th until early November. He brought the year to an end, with shooting Hammer films, 'Fear In The Night' with Ralph Bates and Judy Geeson' .... hence the little moustache, of his character headmaster, Michael Carmichael. Cushing was allergic to spirit gum that would hold on a false tash, so he grew his facial hair when roles required it! A busy time, indeed.