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Bookmark and Share Actor Olaf Pooley celebrates his 100th birthday

3/13/2014 12:00:00 am - Reported by John Bowman

The actor Olaf Pooley is 100 years old today - making him the second person to have appeared in Doctor Who to become a centenarian.

Born in the Parkstone area of Poole in Dorset to an English father and Danish mother, he studied architecture at the Architectural Association in London and painting at the Chelsea School of Art - and is still an exhibiting painter.

His first full-time job was with Pinewood Film Studios' design department, and he then became a member of the BBC Radio Drama Repertory Company, with his prolific acting career also seeing him appearing in the West End, on film and on TV. He is one of just a handful of actors to have appeared in both the Doctor Who and Star Trek franchises.

Pooley had two roles in Doctor Who, both of them in the 1970 story Inferno, portraying Professor Stahlman and his parallel-Earth counterpart Director Stahlman in the seven-parter.

During his career, he wrote and appeared in the film The Corpse - entitled Crucible of Horror in the USA - which starred Michael Gough, and wrote, directed and appeared in The Johnstown Monster. He also wrote the screenplay for a film version of Bernard Taylor's The Godsend, which was directed by his future second wife Gabrielle Beaumont. Pooley's other writing credits include the 1982 TV film Falcon's Gold, while he was an uncredited writer on the 1985 sci-fi horror movie Lifeforce.

His TV guest appearances since the 1950s included roles in Dixon of Dock Green, Paul Temple, Jason King and MacGyver, as well as playing Lars Torvik in the first episode of The Sandbaggers.

In 1958, Pooley took part in the BBC radio play Ambrose In Paris, and he played Sebastian in a 1956 film production of The Tempest. Pooley had a major career in West End theatre, appearing in notable productions such as Noël Coward's Peace In Our Time as well as The Tempest and Othello, and he counted Sir Alec Guinness among his close friends.

He emigrated to the United States in 1986, where he continued his acting, also becoming a respected artist both there and abroad. In an interview, he said: "It is a privilege to be an artist and I am fortunate in this respect."

An avid reader, he keeps fit by taking a daily walk and doing calisthenics and makes sure that he eats healthily.

Examples of Pooley's artwork can be seen on the InHarmony Yoga website, and he will be displaying his paintings at an "open house" event at the Santa Monica Art Studios at 3026 Airport Avenue, Santa Monica, on Saturday 15th March between midday and 6pm.
With Thanks To Jackie Kaminski, Santa Monica Observer, Tony Clark