• 31 July 1920
  •  London, England, UK

Percy Herbert


The massive brooding face and nose of British actor Percy Herbert is familiar to movie goers and TV audiences alike. A seemingly unlikely stage discovery by no one less than the great Dame Sybil Thorndike of British theater, Herbert moved into movie roles by the early 1950s. Initially fitting in as a featured cockney character, he nevertheless moved on to a wide variety of roles, especially as British and American soldier characters, some notable early ones being in The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) and The Guns of Navarone (1961). An interesting coincidence was that his character name was Grogan in both movies - though he was promoted from a private in the first movie to a sergeant in the second. He always seemed at home, lending a believable accent and memorable presence to such as: the menacing baron who joins in the killing of Archbishop Thomas Becket, Richard Burton, in Becket (1964), the hapless Confederate soldier-with a broad southern accent of Mysterious Island (1961), the sensible Scots-American deputy Mac Gregor in TV's short-lived Cimarron Strip (1968) with Stuart Whitman. In the course of over 90 film appearances, Herbert fitted in and lent to genres from fantasy and horror to history and drama with a sort of sturdy and matter-of-fact competence which makes him a most memorable big and small screen presence.