Olaf Pooley 1914-2015Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, 15 July 2015 - Reported by Marcus
Olaf Pooley, the man who was the oldest surviving actor to have worked on Doctor Who, has died at the age of 101.

Olaf Pooley was one of a small group of actors to have appeared in both the Doctor Who and Star Trek franchises. He appeared in Doctor Who in 1970, playing both Professor Stahlman and his parallel-Earth counterpart Director Stahlman in the seven-part story Inferno. His appearance in Star Trek came thirty years later when he appeared in the Voyager episode Blink Of An Eye playing Cleric.

Pooley was 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. Until his death he was 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

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."

He celebrated his 100th birthday in 2014 with a special exhibition of his paintings at the Santa Monica Art Studios

Olaf Pooley died on Tuesday.
Additional reporting by John Bowman