Sir Stanley Baker KBE (February 8, 1927 – June 28, 1976) was a Welsh actor and film producer..
Baker was born in Ferndale, Rhondda Valley, Wales, United Kingdom. He was an actor and film producer who came to prominence in the 1950s; although he made his film debut in 1943 as a teenager in the film “Undercover”, his first role as an adult was in “All Over the Moon” (1949).
At first Baker was usually cast as a villain — tough, gritty and fiery. These were qualities that he played admirably. In private life, he was a close friend and drinking companion of another Welsh actor, Richard Burton. However he was not always a villain and did have a few more endearing roles, especially after Laurence Olivier selected him to play Henry Tudor in his 1955 movie “Richard III”. Perhaps one of Baker’s most memorable roles was as Lieutenant John Chard VC in “Zulu” alongside newcomer Michael Caine. He was also impressive opposite Patrick McGoohan in “Hell Drivers”, as a lorry driver who wouldn’t toe the line.
He formed his own production company in the 1960s and produced films that included “Robbery” (1967) and “The Italian Job” (1969). Along with his production and film career Stanley Baker also appeared on the small screen including the dramas “The Changeling” (1974), “Robinson Crusoe” (1974), and also in a BBC adaptation of “How Green Was My Valley” (1975).
Stanley Baker came from rugged Welsh mining stock in the Rhondda Valley, but moved to London with his parents in the mid-1930s. In 1976 he was granted a knighthood, although he never lived to officially receive the honour. His busy life was cut short that same year, when he died from lung cancer in Màlaga, Spain, aged forty-nine.