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Benjamin Huntington Wright
5 May 1915
London, England, UK
|Died||2 July 1989 (aged 74)|
Burbank, California, U.S.
(m. 1936; div. 1946)
Muriel Louise Roberts
(m. 1951; his death 1989)
Ben Wright was born in London to an American father and an English mother. At the age of 16, he entered the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Upon graduating, he acted in several West End stage productions. When World War II broke out, he enlisted and served in the Kings Royal Rifle Corps. He came to the U.S. in 1946 to attend a cousin's wedding and settled in Hollywood.
Wright worked extensively in American radio, supplying crisp, erudite diction as the radio incarnation of Sherlock Holmes:302 (1949–1950) and Inspector Peter Black on Pursuit (1951–1952).:277–78 However, he considered himself a dialectician, playing Indian servant Tulku on The Green Lama,:139 Chinese bellhop Hey Boy on the radio version of Have Gun Will Travel,:146 various dialect roles on the U.K. radio program Nightbeat, and the anthology series, Escape,:110 on which his roles ranged from the Cockney protagonist of The Man Who Worked Miracles to the famed Arabian hero of The Voyages of Sinbad. His other radio credits included Gunsmoke, Crime Classics, and Suspense.
Film and television
He achieved worldwide attention when he was seen as the Nazi Herr Zeller in The Sound of Music (1965), and he had small roles in Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), My Fair Lady (1964), and Billy Wilder's The Fortune Cookie (1966). On television, he was a guest star on such series as My Three Sons, Hogan's Heroes (as various Nazi officers), Combat!, Get Smart, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, The Wild Wild West, The Twilight Zone, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, It Takes a Thief, Mission: Impossible, as Mr. Rudolpho on the final episode of the 1964 series The Addams Family, and The Rockford Files. Wright made three guest appearances on Perry Mason, starring Raymond Burr. He played Walter Lumis in the 1958 episode "The Case of the Terrified Typist", in the 1960 episode, "The Case of the Bashful Burro", he played assay agent and murderer Crawford Wright, who speaks with a Welsh-sounding accent and he played Clarence Keller in the 1961 episode "The Case of the Guilty Clients".
Wright played Governor José María de Echeandía in the 1960 episode "Forbidden Wedding" of the syndicated anthology series Death Valley Days, hosted by Stanley Andrews. In the story line, Echeandia objects to the wedding of a young woman who once spurned his affections.
Wright made a guest appearance on the television series The Monkees, in the episode "The Success Story". In 1971 Wright appeared as the desk clerk on "The Men From Shiloh" (rebranded name of the TV western The Virginian) in the episode titled "The Town Killer."
Wright also worked as a voice actor. He was often heard on The Outer Limits as various alien voices, and he also appeared on camera. Other voice work included the narrator in Cleopatra (1963) with Elizabeth Taylor, the BBC announcer in the film version of The Diary of Anne Frank (1959) and featured animation roles in several Disney films: One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961) as songwriter Roger Radcliffe, The Jungle Book (1967) as Mowgli's wolf father, Rama, and The Little Mermaid (1989) as Grimsby. The last was his final role.
- Well Done, Henry (1936) – (uncredited)
- The Avenging Hand (1936) – Lift boy (uncredited)
- Sahara (1943) – (uncredited)
- The Exile (1947) – Milbanke
- Kiss the Blood Off My Hands (1948) – Cockney Tout (uncredited)
- The Fighting O'Flynn (1949) – Lieutenant (uncredited)
- Sword in the Desert (1949) – Radio Man (uncredited)
- Botany Bay (1952) – Deck Officer Green
- The Desert Rats (1953) – Mick
- Man in the Attic (1953) – Detective in Theatre Box (uncredited)
- Hell and High Water (1954) – BBC Announcer (uncredited)
- Prince Valiant (1954) – Seneschal (uncredited)
- Prince of Players (1955) – Horatio in 'Hamlet' (uncredited)
- The Racers (1955) – Dr. Seger (uncredited)
- A Man Called Peter (1955) – Mr. Findlay (uncredited)
- Jump Into Hell (1955) – Capt. Pluen (uncredited)
- Moonfleet (1955) – Officer (uncredited)
- Desert Sands (1955) – Commandant Captain (uncredited)
- 23 Paces to Baker Street (1956) – Simmons – Hotel Porter (uncredited)
- D-Day the Sixth of June (1956) – Gen. Millensbeck (uncredited)
- Johnny Concho (1956) – Benson
- The Power and the Prize (1956) – Mr. Chutwell
- Pharaoh's Curse (1957) – Walter Andrews
- Until They Sail (1957) – Defense Attorney (uncredited)
- Kiss Them for Me (1957) – Peters – RAF Pilot (uncredited)
- Witness for the Prosecution (1957) – Barrister Reading Charges (uncredited)
- Villa!! (1958) – Francisco Madero
- These Thousand Hills (1959) – Frenchy (uncredited)
- The Wreck of the Mary Deare (1959) – Mike
- Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959) – Paisley (uncredited)
- The Lost World (1960) – BBC Field Reporter Ted Bottomley (uncredited)
- One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961) – Roger Radcliff (voice)
- Operation Bottleneck (1961) – Manders the Englishman
- Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) – Herr Halbestadt, Haywood's butler
- Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) – Graves (uncredited)
- Cleopatra (1963) – Narrator (voice, uncredited)
- A Gathering of Eagles (1963) – Leighton. S.A.C. Observer
- The Prize (1963) – British Reporter (uncredited)
- My Fair Lady (1964) – Footman at Ball (uncredited)
- The Sound of Music (1965) – Herr Zeller
- My Blood Runs Cold (1965) – Lansbury
- Munster Go Home (1966) – Hennesy
- The Fortune Cookie (1966) – Specialist #4
- The Sand Pebbles (1966) – Englishman (uncredited)
- The Jungle Book (1967) – Rama, the Wolf (voice)
- Topaz (1969) – French Officer (uncredited)
- Raid on Rommel (1971) – Admiral
- Chandar, the Black Leopard of Ceylon (1972) – Narrator
- Terror in the Wax Museum (1973) – First Constable
- Arnold (1973) – Jonesy
- The Little Mermaid (1989) – Grimsby (voice) (final film role)
- "Ben Wright". Turner Classic Movies.
- Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924–1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-7864-4513-4.
- "Forbidden Wedding on Death Valley Days". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
- "Ben Wright, 74; Veteran Radio, Movie and TV Character Actor". The Los Angeles Times. 3 July 1989. Archived from the original on 26 January 2018. Retrieved 26 January 2018.