Veteran British actor, Peter Vaughan, best known in recent years for his role as Maester Aemon on the hit fantasy series, Game Of Thrones, has died aged 93.
His agent confirmed his death but declined to name a cause of death, adding that he died peacefully with his family around him.
A quintessential character actor, Vaughan appeared in 222 onscreen roles in his lifetime and continued acting until the year before his death.
Peter Vaughan, who had a career in theatre, television and film spanning more than 75 years, was best known for his roles in Porridge and Game Of Thrones.
Vaughn’s last screen role would turn out to be one of his most famous: From 2011 to 2015, he appeared as elderly, blind Maester Aemon Targaryen on the HBO series of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy epic, Game Of Thrones. (Vaughan was also partially blind when he took on the role.)
A staunch ally of embattled hero Jon Snow, Maester Aemon was also one of the last remaining members of former ruling family House Targaryen.
Some of his many other notable roles include a widely panned performance opposite Frank Sinatra in 1967’s The Naked Runner, a beloved turn as prison guard “Genial” Harry Grout on the BBC sitcom, Porridge (1974-1979), another frightening turn as town patriarch Tom Hedden in Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs (1971), and as Anthony Hopkins’ father in the Merchant-Ivory production, The Remains Of The Day (1993).
He also played Denethor in the 1981 BBC Radio production of The Lord Of The Rings, and appeared in several films by director Terry Gilliam; he played Winston The Ogre in Time Bandits (1981) and Deputy Minister of Information Mr. Helpmann in Brazil (1985), and was slated to appear in Gilliam’s yet-to-be-completed The Man Who Killed Don Quixote when the project was first conceived in the late ’90s.
Born in 1923 as Peter Olm, Vaughan worked as a stage actor before being drafted into military service in World War II.
He began flirting with screen acting after marrying actress, Billie Whitelaw in 1952, appearing in a series of small roles on British TV series throughout the 1950s.
He made his official film debut in 1959 in a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps in an uncredited role as a police constable, the first in a series of roles that saw Peter Vaughan playing touch guys on both sides of the law.
His first starring role was in the B-thriller, Smokescreen (1964), where he played an insurance investigator who uncovers a murder in Brighton, England.