Donald Houston

Donald Daniel Houston (6 November 1923 – 13 October 1991) was a Welsh actor whose first two films—The Blue Lagoon (1949) with Jean Simmons,[1] and A Run for Your Money (1949) with Alec Guinness—were highly successful. Later in his career he was cast in military roles and in comedies such as the Doctor and Carry On series.

Donald Houston
Donald Daniel Houston

(1923-11-06)6 November 1923
Died13 October 1991(1991-10-13) (aged 67)
Years active1949–1983
Brenda Hogan
(m. 1949; his death 1991)
FamilyGlyn Houston (brother)

Early life

Houston was born in Clydach Vale, near Tonypandy, Glamorgan and was the elder brother of actor Glyn Houston and a sister, Jean.[2] His father Alexander Houston, was a professional football player from Scotland, and his mother Elsie M Jones, ran a milk round.[3] After leaving school he worked at a local colliery[3] before making his first foray into acting in 1940, when he performed on stage with the Pilgrim Players.[4] He served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.

Acting career

Houston had a successful career as a character actor in British film and television, with prominent parts in several well-known films, including Yangtse Incident (1957), The Longest Day (1962, in which he appeared alongside Richard Burton), 633 Squadron (1964), Where Eagles Dare (1968, again with Burton) and The Sea Wolves (1981).[5] He would sometimes indulge his Welsh accent, and at other times conceal it behind an English public school voice. His forte tended to be authority figures, often military, such as the brilliant but tough David Caulder, the head of Moonbase 3, or Dr Francis in "Thirteen to Centaurus" (from the anthology series Out of the Unknown).

He could also handle comedy, as he proved with Doctor in the House (1954) and the later Doctor in Distress (1963), both significant successes in Europe, and Carry On Jack (1963). Though preferring quality parts, he was not above journeyman work in films such as Maniac (1963) and Tales That Witness Madness (1973).

On 13 October 1991, Donald Houston died in Coimbra, Portugal at the age of 67.[3]

Selected filmography


  1. Thomson, David (24 January 2010). "Jean Simmons obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  2. "Donald Houston biography". IMDB. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  3. "Film actor Donald Houston's Rhondda blue plaque honour". BBC News. 28 January 2010. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  4. "Donald Houston Biography". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  5. Pettigrew, Terence (1982). British Film Character Actors: Great Names and memorable Moments. Neton Abbot: David & Charles. pp. 95–98. ISBN 0 7153 8270 5.
  6. "Donald Houston". BFI. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
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