Terence Stamp

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Terence Stamp
Terence Stamp.2794.jpg
Stamp in January 2009
Born(1938-07-22) 22 July 1938 (age 76)
Stepney, London, England
Years active1962–present
Spouse(s)Elizabeth O'Rourke
RelativesChris Stamp (brother; deceased)
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Terence Stamp
Terence Stamp.2794.jpg
Stamp in January 2009
Born(1938-07-22) 22 July 1938 (age 76)
Stepney, London, England
Years active1962–present
Spouse(s)Elizabeth O'Rourke
RelativesChris Stamp (brother; deceased)

Terence Henry Stamp (born 22 July 1938)[1][2] is an English actor. Since starting his acting career in 1962, he has appeared in over 60 films. His performance in the title role of Billy Budd, his film debut, earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor and a BAFTA nomination for Best Newcomer.

Stamp's other major roles include butterfly collector Freddie Clegg in The Collector, archvillain General Zod in Superman and Superman II, tough guy Wilson in The Limey, Supreme Chancellor Valorum in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, a transsexual in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, ghost antagonist Ramsley in The Haunted Mansion, Stick in Elektra, Pekwarsky in Wanted, Siegfried in Get Smart, Terrence Bundley in Yes Man, the Covenant Hierarch "Prophet of Truth" in Halo 3, and General Ludwig Beck in Valkyrie.

Stamp has won a Golden Globe, a Mystfest, a Cannes Film Festival Award, a Seattle International Film Festival Award, a Satellite Award, and a Silver Bear.

Early life[edit]

Stamp, the oldest of five children, was born in Stepney, London, England in 1938, the son of Ethel Esther (née Perrott) and Thomas Stamp, who was a tugboat captain.[2][3] His early years were spent in Canal Road, Bow,[4] in the East End,[5] but later in his childhood the family moved to Plaistow, West Ham, in Essex (now London Borough of Newham in London). His father was away for long periods with the Merchant Navy and the young Stamp was mostly brought up by his mother, grandmother and aunts. He grew up idolising actor Gary Cooper after his mother took him to see Beau Geste (1939) when he was three years old. He was also inspired by the 1950s avant-garde method-trained actor James Dean.

After leaving school, Stamp worked in a variety of advertising agencies in London, working his way up to a very respectable wage. In the mid‑1950s, he also worked as an assistant to professional golfer Reg Knight at Wanstead Golf Club in East London. He describes this period of his life very positively in his 1988 autobiography Stamp Album.[6] Deep down, he wanted to be an actor—a realisation that came when Stamp found he no longer had to serve two years' national service after being rejected for once having had treatment for his feet.


Early career and rise to fame[edit]

Stamp in 1973, photographed by Allan Warren

Stamp won a scholarship to train at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, then performed in various provincial repertory theatres,[7] most notably in a national tour of Willis Hall’s play The Long the Short and the Tall alongside another young actor Michael Caine.[8]

Stamp made his film debut in Peter Ustinov's film adaptation of Herman Melville's Billy Budd (1962). His portrayal of the title character brought him not only an Academy Award nomination but also international attention. He then appeared opposite Laurence Olivier in Term of Trial (1962).

Stamp with actress Monica Vitti and director Joseph Losey, circa 1965

Stamp collaborated with some of the cinema's most revered filmmakers. He starred in William Wyler's adaptation of John Fowles' The Collector (1965), opposite Samantha Eggar, and in Modesty Blaise (1966), for director Joseph Losey and producer Joe Janni. Stamp reunited with producer Janni for two more projects: John Schlesinger's adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd (1967) starring Julie Christie, and Ken Loach's first feature film Poor Cow (1967).

He was initially approached to play the role of James Bond when Sean Connery retired from the role,[9] but did not receive a second call from producer Harry Saltzman because, in Stamp's opinion, 'my ideas about [how the role should be portrayed] put the frighteners on Harry. I didn’t get a second call from him'.

Stamp then travelled to Italy to star in Federico Fellini's Toby Dammit, a 50-minute portion of the Edgar Allan Poe film adaptation Histoires extraordinaires (1968, aka Spirits of the Dead). Stamp lived in Italy for several years, during which time his film work included Pier Paolo Pasolini's Teorema (1968) opposite Silvana Mangano, and Una Stagione all'inferno (1970). Stamp was considered for the title role of Alfie (1966), but turned it down in favour of Modesty Blaise (1966).

His subsequent film credits included The Mind of Mr. Soames (1970), Meetings with Remarkable Men (1979), and The Hit (1984), which won a Mystfest Award for Best Actor, shared with John Hurt and Tim Roth. Also in 1984, he had the opportunity to play the Devil in a cameo in The Company of Wolves. He also appeared in Link (1986), Legal Eagles (1986), The Sicilian (1987) and a gleaming cameo as Sir Larry Wildman in Wall Street (1987). His film Beltenebros (1992) (aka Prince of Shadows), was awarded the Silver Bear at the 42nd Berlin International Film Festival.[10] Stamp began his fourth decade as an actor wearing some of the choicest of Tim Chappel's Academy Award-winning costumes for the comedy The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) which co-starred Guy Pearce and Hugo Weaving.

In 1999, Stamp played a lead role in The Limey to widespread critical acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival. For his performance, Stamp received nominations for Best Male Lead at the 2000 Independent Spirit Awards and for Best British Actor at the London Film Critics' Circle (ALFS) Awards. Also in 1999, Stamp appeared in the blockbuster Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace as Chancellor Finis Valorum (an experience he later described as 'boring'),[11] followed by Bowfinger (1999) and Red Planet (2000). He also appeared in Damian Pettigrew's award-winning documentary, Fellini: I'm a Born Liar (2002), offering insights into the mind and working methods of Italian director Federico Fellini whom Stamp had worked with in the 1960s.

Superman roles[edit]

Terence Stamp (centre) as General Zod

Stamp portrayed the Kryptonian supervillain General Zod in Richard Donner's Superman (1978), in which he appeared in a scene with Marlon Brando. The film was originally supposed to be a 3‑hour epic, with Zod and his evil conspirators returning later in the film to challenge Superman, but Warner Bros elected to split the production into two films over Donner's protest. Stamp went on to reprise his role as General Zod in the second part, now a sequel, Superman II (1980), directed by Richard Lester replacing Donner but using some of his original production footage. In 2003, Stamp returned to the Superman franchise in a new role, by portraying the voice of Clark Kent's biological father Jor-El in the WB/CW television series Smallville. He also provided the scream of Zod (being exorcised from the body of Lex Luthor) in the sixth season premiere episode "Zod". In 2006, he appeared as Zod once again in Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (a retooled version of the 1980 film which predominantly features footage shot by Donner, the film's original director).

Recent years[edit]

In recent years, Stamp has appeared in the films Ma femme est une actrice (aka My Wife Is An Actress, 2001), My Boss's Daughter (2003), Disney's The Haunted Mansion (2003), and the superhero fantasy Elektra (2005). In 2008, he appeared in the film remake of the spy comedy Get Smart; another comedy about the man who says yes to everything Yes Man, opposite Jim Carrey; with Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy and Morgan Freeman in Wanted; and with Tom Cruise in Valkyrie, based on the true story of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg's failed attempt to assassinate Hitler.

Entering in the 2010s, Stamp appeared in The Adjustment Bureau (2011), an American romantic science fiction thriller film loosely based on the Philip K. Dick short story, "Adjustment Team", opposite Matt Damon. In 2012, Stamp appeared in the Peter Serafinowicz-directed music video for the Hot Chip song "Night & Day",[12] portrayed a grumpy husband called Arthur in Paul Andrew Williams' Song for Marion (2012),[13][14][15] opposite Gemma Arterton and a heist comedy The Art of the Steal (2013), with Kurt Russell, Matt Dillon and Jay Baruchel.[16]

Stamp's next future projects include Tim Burton's drama film Big Eyes (2014), with Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz.[17][18][19][20] and George Mendeluk's drama film The Devil's Harvest (2014), opposite Max Irons, Samantha Barks, Barry Pepper, Aneurin Barnard.[21]

Books, music videos and voice acting[edit]

In addition to his acting career, Terence Stamp is an accomplished writer and author. He has published three volumes of his memoirs including Stamp Album (written in tribute to his late mother), a novel entitled The Night, and a cookbook co-written with Elizabeth Buxton to provide alternative recipes for those who are wheat- and dairy-intolerant.

Stamp's recent projects include the video game The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, in which he lends his voice to the villainous cult leader Mankar Camoran; and the films Zombie Island and These Foolish Things. Stamp voiced the Prophet of Truth in Halo 3, replacing Michael Wincott. In 2005, Stamp also narrated the BBC Four documentary Jazz Britannia, which chronicles the evolution of British jazz music.

Stamp read the book Perfect Brilliant Stillness by David Carse for SilkSoundBooks.[22] In his introductory reading, Stamp describes his love for this book by saying, "Greater love hath no man". Stamp appeared in the music video for "At the Bottom of Everything" by Bright Eyes.

Stamp appeared as the featured 'castaway' on BBC Radio's long-running Desert Island Discs in June 1987, and made a second appearance in March 2006 with a different selection of music.[23]

On 7 July 2007, Stamp gave a speech on climate change at the British leg of Live Earth in Wembley Stadium before introducing Madonna.[24][25]

Personal life[edit]

In the 1960s, Stamp shared a house with actor Michael Caine before and during their rise to fame.[26] In his autobiography, What's it All About, Caine states that he "still wakes up sweating in the night as he sees Terence agreeing to accept my advice to take the role in Alfie".

Stamp received extensive media coverage of his romances in the 1960s with film star Julie Christie and supermodel Jean Shrimpton. His romance with Christie during London's "swinging '60s" was thought to be referenced in the Kinks' 1967 song "Waterloo Sunset", with the lines about "Terry and Julie". He and Shrimpton were one of the most-photographed couples of Mod London. It was after Shrimpton ended her relationship with Stamp that he moved to India, spending time in Pune at the ashram of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, meditating and studying his teachings, and dropping out from society for several years.[27][28][29]

Stamp's brother Chris became a rock music impresario credited with helping to bring The Who to prominence during the 1960s and co-founding Track Records.

In 1984, English band The Smiths released their third single, "What Difference Does It Make?". The single cover was a photograph taken on the set of the film The Collector (but not depicted in the actual film). Originally, Stamp refused permission for the still to be used, and some pressings featured lead singer Morrissey in a re-enacted scene. In the re-enactment Morrissey is holding a glass of milk, as opposed to a chloroform pad in the original. Eventually, however, Stamp changed his mind, and the original cover was reinstated.

On New Year's Eve 2002, at age 64, Stamp married for the first time. His 29-year-old bride was Elizabeth O'Rourke, whom Stamp first met in the mid-1990s at a pharmacy in Bondi, New South Wales. A Eurasian of Australian and Singapore (Indian Singaporean) parentage, O'Rourke was brought up in Singapore before moving to Australia in her early twenties to study pharmacology. The couple divorced on the grounds of his "unreasonable behaviour" in April 2008.[30]


1962Billy BuddBilly Budd – Merchant seamanGolden Globe Award for New Star of the Year - Actor
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer
Term of TrialMitchell
1965The CollectorFreddie CleggBest Actor Award (Cannes Film Festival)
1966Modesty BlaiseWillie Garvin
1967Poor CowDave Fuller
Far from the Madding CrowdSgt. Francis 'Frank' Troy
Histoires extraordinaires (Spirits of the Dead)Toby Dammit
TeoremaThe Visitor
1970The Mind of Mr. SoamesJohn Soames
1971A Season in HellArthur Rimbaud
1975The Divine NymphDany di Bagnasco
1977Black OutEdgar Poe
1978The Thief of BaghdadWazir JaudurTV
SupermanGeneral Zod
1979Meetings with Remarkable MenPrince Lubovedsky
1980Superman IIGeneral Zod
1981Jules Verne's Mystery on Monster IslandTaskinar/Skinner
1982Morte in VaticanoPadre Andreani, later Pope Giovanni Clemente I
1984The HitWillie ParkerMystfest for Best Actor (Shared with John Hurt and Tim Roth)
The Company of WolvesThe Devil(uncredited)
1986The Cold War KillersDavid AudleyTV
Legal EaglesVictor Taft
LinkDr. Steven Phillip
1987The SicilianPrince Borsa
Wall StreetSir Larry Wildman
1988Young GunsJohn Tunstall
Alien NationWilliam Harcourt
1990Genuine RiskPaul Hellwart
1991BeltenebrosDarmanSilver Bear for Best Actor at the 42nd Berlin International Film Festival[10]
1993The Real McCoyJack Schmidt
1994The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the DesertBernadetteSeattle International Film Festival Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1996Limited EditionEdward Lamb(Tiré à Part)
1997Love Walked InFred Moore
The HungerHostTV
1999The LimeyWilsonSatellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead
Nominated—Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom MenaceSupreme Chancellor Finis Valorum
BowfingerTerry Stricter
Kiss the SkyKozen
2000Red PlanetDr. Bud Chantilas
2001RevelationMagnus Martel
My Wife Is an ActressJohn
2001–2002Static ShockDennis/Professor MenaceTV series
2002Full FrontalMan on Plane/Himself
Fellini: I'm a Born LiarHimself/Toby Dammit
2003–2011SmallvilleJor-ElTV series, (Voice role only)
2003My Boss's DaughterJack Taylor
The KissPhilip Naudet
The Haunted MansionRamsley
2004Dead FishSamuel Fish
These Foolish ThingsBaker
2006The Elder Scrolls IV: OblivionMankar CamoranComputer Game
Voice Only
September DawnBrigham Young
2007Halo 3Prophet of TruthComputer Game
Voice Only
Flowers and WeedsStoryteller
Get SmartSiegfried
Yes ManTerrence Bundley
ValkyrieLudwig Beck
2010Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 MovieCaptain Severus
2011The Adjustment BureauThompson
2012"Night & Day"HimselfMusic video for Hot Chip
Song for MarionArthurNominated—BIFA Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a British Independent Film
2013The Art of the StealSamuel Winter
2014Big EyesJohn Canaday
The Devil's HarvestIvanPost-production


Stamp found success with his first film Billy Budd (1962), for which he won a Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actor and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and a BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer. Stamp won recognition for the film The Collector (1965); which is commemorated in Cannes Film Festival.

For The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994), Stamp won a Seattle International Film Festival for Best Actor and was nominated for the Best Actor in a Leading Role, an Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. For The Limey (1999), he won a Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead and Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor.

Stamp was nominated by a British Independent Film Award for Best Actor in Song for Marion (2012).


Golden Globe

Cannes Film Festival


Seattle International Film Festival

Satellite Award

Silver Bear


Academy Award

British Independent Film Awards

Golden Globe


Australian Film Institute Award

Independent Spirit Award

Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 15 February 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Terence Stamp Biography (1938?-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  3. ^ "Terence Stamp Biography – Yahoo! Movies". Movies.yahoo.com. Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  4. ^ Internet Movie Database
  5. ^ Boucher, Caroline (10 March 2002). "Mr Intolerant". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 25 May 2010. 
  6. ^ Stamp, 1987
  7. ^ "Terence Stamp Biography". Escargot Books. 2011. Retrieved 26 November 2011. 
  8. ^ "Terence Stamp reads audio books". Silk Sound Books. 2011. Retrieved 26 November 2011. 
  9. ^ Foster, Alistair (9 May 2013). "Terence Stamp: I blew the chance to play James Bond". Evening Standard. Retrieved 18 May 13.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  10. ^ a b "Berlinale: 1992 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 27 March 2011. 
  11. ^ "Terence Stamp Says Working On 'Phantom Menace' Was "Boring," But He Had A Crush On Natalie Portman". Indiewire. 30 January 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  12. ^ "Night and Day – Directed by Peter Serafinowicz". Retrieved 21 May 2012. 
  13. ^ "Terence Stamp confirmed for Song for Marion". FreeBMD (London: Baz Bamigboye). 6 July 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  14. ^ "Actor Terence Stamp's professional and spiritual journey led him to an 'Unfinished Song'". The Desert Sun. Bruce Fessier. Retrieved 13 January 2013. 
  15. ^ "'Unfinished Song' review: Vanessa Redgrave, Terence Stamp are first-rate". Newsday. John Anderson. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  16. ^ "Terence Stamp confirmed for the comedy The Black Marks". The Hollywood Reporter (Borys Kit). Retrieved 19 January 2012. 
  17. ^ "Terence Stamp joins Burton's Big Eyes". Screen Daily. Wendy Mitchell. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  18. ^ "Terence Stamp Joins Tim Burton's 'Big Eyes'". The Hollywood Reporter (Philiana Ng). 28 June 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  19. ^ "Terence Stamp Joins Tim Burton's 'Big Eyes' Plus Watch 40-Minute 'Scene By Scene' With The Actor". The Playlist. Ben Brock. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  20. ^ "Casting Couch: Terence Stamp to Work With Tim Burton, Rosemarie Dewitt is Joining ‘Kill the Messenger,’ and More". Film School Rejects. Nathan Adams. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  21. ^ "Aneurin Barnard Joins ‘The Devil’s Harvest’; Animated ‘Book Of Life’ Sets Channing Tatum, Zoe Saldana & More". Deadline. Nancy Tartaglione. Retrieved 17 October 2013. 
  22. ^ http://www.silksoundbooks.com/authors/david-carse/perfect-brilliant-stillness.html
  23. ^ "Desert Island Discs - Terence Stamp". BBC. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  24. ^ [1] The Spectator blog July 2007
  25. ^ Video of speech on YouTube
  26. ^ "Terence Stamp's London roots". East London History. 2011. Retrieved 26 November 2011. 
  27. ^ Davies, Barbara (25 July 2006). "The Intriguing Story of Dr. Who's Sidekick". The Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 12 December 2009. 
  28. ^ The Examiner, Volumes 17-19- Page 32. The Examiner. Retrieved 12 December 2009. 
  29. ^ "Religion: God Sir at Esalen East". TIME. 16 January 1978. Retrieved 12 December 2009. 
  30. ^ "Actor Stamp and Wife Get Divorce". BBC News. 29 April 2008. Retrieved 29 April 2008. 
  31. ^ Stamp, T. (1987) Stamp Album, Bloomsbury Publishing, London.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Actors portraying General Zod
for Superman and Superman II
Succeeded by
Callum Blue
for Smallville