John Abbott (actor, born 1905)

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John Abbott
BornJohn Kefford
(1905-06-05)5 June 1905
London, England, UK
Died24 May 1996(1996-05-24) (aged 90)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Natural causes
Years active1936–1984
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For other people named John Abbott, see John Abbott (disambiguation).
John Abbott
BornJohn Kefford
(1905-06-05)5 June 1905
London, England, UK
Died24 May 1996(1996-05-24) (aged 90)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Natural causes
Years active1936–1984

John Kefford (5 June 1905 – 24 May 1996) was an English character actor professionally known as John Abbott. His memorable roles include the invalid Frederick Fairlie in the 1948 film The Woman in White and the pacifist Ayelborne in the Star Trek episode "Errand of Mercy". He also played Sesmar on an episode of Lost in Space, "The Dream Monster" (1966).


Abbott performed with some of Britain's most famous actors and was well known as a Shakespearean actor. He never auditioned for a part[citation needed], but was always asked to play a role.

In the early days of World War II, Abbott worked at the British Embassy in Moscow. When the time came to leave, he had to go by way of the United States. While in the U.S., he was offered a part in Hollywood in 1941[1] and ended up living there for the rest of his life.

He continued to find work, although he was blacklisted during the Red Scare of the 1950s. Eventually, a producer, wanting to hire him, was able to get his listing removed.[2]

In his final years, Abbott taught acting students for free and inspired some of Hollywood's most famous young actors of that time.


Abbott died from natural causes on 24 May 1996 at the age of 90.

Selected filmography[edit]

1936Conquest of the AirJean-François Pilâtre de Rozier
1937Mademoiselle DocteurArmandUncredited
Return of the Scarlet PimpernelFlower SellerUncredited
The Importance of Being ErnestJohn Worthing
Under Secret OrdersArmand
1938This Man Is NewsHood with Foreign AccentUncredited
Richard of BordeauxSimon Burley
1939The TempestProspero
The Saint in LondonCount Stepehn Duni
The Great CommandmentStarving BeggerUncredited
1940Ten Days in ParisAndré
1941The Shanghai GesturePoppy's EscortUncredited
1942Joan of ParisEnglish Spy
This Above AllJoeUncredited
Mrs. MiniverFred
Ruber RacketeersDumbo
Got Hep to LoveProfessor Radowsky
1943The Gorilla ManDr. Ferris
London Blackout MurdersJack Rawlings
They Got Me CoveredGregory Vanescu
Hangmen Also Die!Hostage
Mission to MoscowGrinkoUncredited
Dangerous BlondesRoland X. SmithUncredited
The Cross of LorraineBakedUncredited
Jane EyreMasonUncredited
1944Once Upon a TimeReporterUncredited
The Mask of DimitriosMr. Pappas
Summer StormLunin- Public Prosecutor
Abroad with Two YanksSalesman
U-Boat PrisonerAlfonse Lamont
Secrets of Scotland YardMortimer Cope
Cry of the WerewolfPeter Althius
End of the RoadChris Martin
The Falcon in HollywoodMartin S. Dwyer
1945The Power of the WhistlerKaspar Andropolous
Honeymoon AheadWelles
The Vampire's GhostWebb Fallon
A Thousand and One NightsAli
Crime Doctor's WarningJimmy Gordon
Pursuit to AlgiersJodri
Saratoga TrunkRoscoe Bean
1946The Notorious Lone WolfLal Bara
The Bandit of Sherwood ForestWill Scarlet
One More TomorrowJoseph Baronova
Anna and the King of SiamPhya PhromUncredited
DeceptionBertram Gribble
1947Time Out of MindMax Leiberman
The WebCharles Murdock
Adventure IslandHuish
If Winter ComesMr. Twyning
1948The Woman in WhiteFrederick Fairlie
1949Addio Mimí!Orchestra Conductor
Madame BovaryMayor Tuvache
1951Navy BoundPappa Cerrano
Thunder on the HillAbel Harmer
1952The Merry WidowMarshovian Ambassador
Thunder in the EastNitra Puta
1953Rogue's MarchHerbert Bielensen
SombreroDon Daniel
Cavalcade of AmericaCol. BartonSeason 2, Episode 2
The Steel LadyMustafa el Melik
1955Front Row CenterDr. Franz GregoroviousSeason 1, Episode 10
1955–1956CrusaderGustave/Igor Borovin2 Episodes
Science Fiction TheatreJohn Bowers2 Episodes
1956Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside TheatreBarrettSeason 1, Episode 35
Telephone TimeSchliemann's Russian assistantSeason 1, Episode 9
Studio 57Season 2, Episode 36
The Adventures of Hiram HollidayThiefSeason 1, Episode 2
1957Public Pigeon No. OneDipso Dave Rutherford
Omar KhayyamYusufUncredited
1955–58Matinee TheatreJasper Purdy5 Episodes
Studio OneTraversSeason 10, Episode 44
The Further Adventures of Ellery QueenSeason 1, Episode 6
1959The Ann Southern ShowCarterSeason 1, Episode 14
Peter GunnBlakenshipSeason 1, Episode 28
Goodyear TheatreStefanSeason 3, Episode 1
Have Gun - Will TravelWinston AinsleeSeason 3, Episode 5
1956–1959General Electric TheaterNathan/Professor Meyerdal2 Episodes
1956–1960GunsmokeEddie/Professor Lute Bone2 Episodes
1960TightropeGideonSeason 1, Episode 19
The Many Loves of Dobie GillisProfessor DobkinSeason 1, Episode 20
The RiflemanDr. HennikenSeason 2, Episode 26
Shirley Temple's StorybookUncle Venner
1961The IslandersHarwood Gones
The DuPont Show with June AllysonProfessor Brent
Hong KongAlec Borg
ThrillerKriss Milo
Adventures in ParadiseMurdock
Great Ghost TalesMr. Arcularis
Ichabod and MeJeremy Lockhart
BonanzaZachariah Wickham
1964Flipper"Professor" MarvelloSeason 1, Episode 9
1966The MunstersDr. Victor Frankenstein IVSeason 2, Episode 26
Lost in SpaceSesmarSeason 2, Episode 14
1967Star TrekAyelborneSeason 1, Episode 26
BewitchedLeonardo da VinciSeason 4, Episode 17
1975The Black BirdDuQuai
1976Sherlock Holmes in New YorkHeller
Holmes & Yo-YoMontecito
1978Outside ChanceCoroner
1982Slapstick of Another KindDr. Frankenstein
1983Cracking UpSurgeon


  1. ^ A Who's Who of British Film Actors, by Scott Palmer, The Scarecrow Press, 1981
  2. ^ Abbott had no idea why he was blacklisted until around 1990 while in the company of this writer[who?], when he was watching a documentary on Dalton Trumbo, discovered that the author had used Abbott's name as an alias.

External links[edit]