Robert Beatty

Robert Rutherford Beatty (19 October 1909 – 3 March 1992) was a Canadian actor who worked in film, television and radio for most of his career and was especially known in the UK.[1][2]

Robert Beatty
Robert Rutherford Beatty

(1909-10-19)19 October 1909
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Died3 March 1992(1992-03-03) (aged 82)
London, England
Years active1939–1989

Early years

Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Beatty was the son of Charles Thompson Beatty and Blanch Sarah Rutherford. He attended Delta Collegiate School and earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Toronto.[3]

He began his acting career in Britain in 1939.


Beatty joined the Players' Guild of Hamilton after graduation from the University of Toronto. He went to London, England, in 1936 and joined the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. It was with the RADA that he made his English stage debut.[4]


Beatty's film credits include: San Demetrio London (1943), Another Shore (1948), Against the Wind (1948), Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. (1951), The Square Ring (1953), The Amorous Prawn(1962), Something of Value (1957), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Where Eagles Dare (1968), The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976), Superman III (1983), Minder on the Orient Express (1985) and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987).[1]

Beatty appeared in two "critically acclaimed war propaganda films" in 1942 – 49th Parallel and One of Our Aircraft Is Missing.[4]


In the 1950s, he was host of the BBC programme Saturday Night Out, a live outside-broadcast magazine programme, in which he was known as "The Man with the Mike".[5] In 1958, he played Detective Inspector Mike Maguire in the police series Dial 999[6] (a co-production between Britain's ABC and the US company Ziv). He also appeared in Doctor Who ("The Tenth Planet" as General Cutler), Blake's 7 ("The Way Back" as Bran Foster), The Gathering Storm, The New Avengers, and Minder.[7] He was in Franco Zeffirelli's TV mini-series Jesus of Nazareth and the American series of Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles.[8][4] He portrayed Ronald Reagan in Breakthrough at Reykjavik (Granada Television UK 1987).[9]


Beatty reported descriptions of the Blitz from London to North America via the BBC during World War II.[10] He played Philip Odell, a fictional Irish detective created by Lester Powell, between 1947 and 1961. The series debuted on BBC radio with the story "Lady in a Fog" in October 1947.[11] The series was made available to overseas broadcasters by the BBC Transcription Services. His other radio credits included Shadow of Sumuru on the BBC Home Programme in 1945–46, Shadow Man on Radio Luxembourg in 1955, Destination – Fire! Stories of a Fire Investigator on the BBC Light Programme (1962-1966), General Sternwood in a BBC version of Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep (1977), Pay Any Price (BBC 1982), The Mystery of the Blue Train (BBC 1985/1986), and as Henry Hickslaughter in Elizabeth Troop's Sony Award winning adaptation of Graham Greene's short story Cheap In August (1993).


Beatty died March 3, 1992, in London[10] and was cremated at Putney Vale Crematorium.[12]



  1. "Robert Beatty | BFI | BFI". Retrieved 3 April 2014.
  2. McFarlane, Brian (16 May 2016). "The Encyclopedia of British Film: Fourth edition". Oxford University Press via Google Books.
  3. Aaker, Everett (2006). Encyclopedia of Early Television Crime Fighters. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-6409-8. Pp. 35–38.
  4. "Robert Beatty". Historica Canada. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  5. "Saturday Night Out". The Radio Times. BBC. 30 December 1955. p. 50. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  6. "Dial 999". Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  7. "Robert Beatty – Movies and Filmography – AllMovie". AllMovie.
  8. "BFI Screenonline: Jesus of Nazareth (1977) Credits".
  9. "Robert Beatty – Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos – AllMovie". AllMovie.
  10. "Robert Beatty". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. 7 March 1992. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  11. "Robert Beatty In ' LADY IN A FOG ' – Light Programme – 10 November 1947 – BBC Genome".
  12. "Robert Beatty (1909–1992) – Find A Grave Memorial".
  13. Release date for The Magic Box, in IMDb.
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