Donald Houston

Donald Daniel Houston (November 6, 1923 — October 13, 1991) was an impassive, hardworking Welsh actor whose first two films – The Blue Lagoon (1949) with Jean Simmons, and A Run for Your Money (1949) with Sir Alec Guinness – were highly successful. Later on his career he was cast in many military roles, and also in comedies such as the Doctor and Carry On series.

Houston was born in Tonypandy, and was the elder brother of actor Glyn Houston. He would sometimes indulge his Welsh accent as well as hide it behind an English public school veneer. He had a solid career as a character actor in British film and television, with good parts in several well known films, including Yangtse Incident (1957), 633 Squadron (1964), The Longest Day (1962) (in which he appeared alongside Richard Burton), Where Eagles Dare (1968) (again with Burton), and The Sea Wolves (1981). His forte tended to be authority figures, often military, such as the brilliant but tough David Caulder, the head of Moonbase 3 or as Dr. Francis in Thirteen to Centaurus (from the anthology series Out of the Unknown).

He could also handle comedy well, as he proved with Doctor in the House (1954) and the later Doctor in Distress (1963), both significant successes in Europe. Though preferring to take good parts, he was certainly not above journeyman in films such as Tales That Witness Madness (1973) and Maniac (1963) — indeed, much of his earlier work consists of potboilers.

In 1991, Donald Houston died quietly in Portugal at age 67, well-liked by the British, but not too well-known in America.

Leave a Reply