Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Who Are Those Guys ~ Anton Diffring


Anton Diffring was born Alfred Pollack in Koblenz, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany on October 20, 1916. His father, Solomon Pollack, was a Jewish shop-owner who managed to avoid internment and survived Nazi rule in Germany. His mother, Bertha Diffring, was Christian. He studied acting in Berlin and Vienna, but there is conjecture about when he left Germany prior to the outbreak of World War II. The audio commentary for the Doctor Who series Silver Nemesis mentions that he left in 1936 to escape persecution due to his homosexuality. Other accounts point to him leaving in 1939 and settling in Canada, where he was interned in 1940, which is unlikely as he appears in the Ealing Studios film Convoy (released in July 1940, as the officer of U-37, in an uncredited role). His sister Jacqueline Diffring moved to England and became a sculptor.

While in England, he quickly became fluent in English and for a time worked in the War Office as an interpreter. Although he made two fleeting uncredited appearances in films in 1940, it was not until 1950 that his acting career began to take off.

With numerous World War II film and television productions being produced in England from the 1950s, Diffring's "Germanic" physical type of blond hair, pale blue eyes and chiselled features saw him regularly cast in roles as Nazi military officers

Diffring starred in several horror films, such as “The Man Who Could Cheat Death” (1959) and “Circus of Horrors” (1960) and played the lead in the television pilot ‘Tales of Frankenstein’ (1958). He also appeared in international films, such as “Fahrenheit 451” (1966), directed by François Truffaut. He appeared in the 1964 West German comedy “A Mission for Mr. Dodd” having previously starred in the West End play “Out of Bounds” on which it is based. His final performance was once more as a Nazi for the BBC in the 1988 Doctor Who serial ‘Silver Nemesis’.

Diffring died on May 19, 1989, from cancer at his home in Châteauneuf-Grasse, in the South of France, at the age of 72.

DIFFRING, Anton (Alfred Pollack) [10/20/1916, Koblenz, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany – 5/19/1989, Châteauneuf-Grasse, Alpes-Maritimes, France (cancer, AIDS)] – theater, film, TV actor, brother of the sculptor Jacqueline Diffring [1920-2020].

Montana Trap – 1975 (Lieutenant Slade)

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