When Peter Cushing agreed to star in 'CAPTAIN CLEGG'- his ninth film for Hammer films - he consulted one of his numerous collections of text books relating to the history of the period of the film, 18th century Britain. For Mr Cushing is a perfectionist.
We tried to find out something more of this most successsful actor- the only one to win Britain's 'Best Actor Of The Year Award' three times in succession. But he referred us to his wife. 'She knows me better than anyone", he said.
And that is how we came to be sittting in the tastefully furnished lounge of a delightful regency house in London's Kensington district, which Peter Cushing uses when he is filming.
After a superb lunch, cooked by our charming and elegant hostess- she does all her own coooking- Helen Cushing told us something about her husband.
'Whatever he does, he likes to do well", she began. 'He is modest nad retriring - too modest sometimes' He Always thinks he knows less than anyone else. He is always learning and willing to learn. If he takes a ride in a London taxi, he will have learned a great deal about it ,it's driver, and the route on which he has been driven, before he returns! He has an enquiring mind."
'I think his greatset attribute is is the fact that he has the courage not to try and impress. He is fundamentally honest and truthful. We don't go to cocktail parties but spend most of our leisure time reading and listening to music. Of course , my husband spends a good deal of time painting, especially when we are at home in Whitstable.
"In our married life, I have never known him swear or behave other than a gentleman, and he can't bear gossip. He is exceptionally neat and tidy. It makes him soundlike a paragon, doesn't it, But I really can't think of any fault. He does occasionally lose his temper, of course, but it is usually if it's someone who can't fight back'
We asked Mrs Cushing what sort of roles does her husbandlike to play. '"He doesn't mind what what he plays as long as it's good", she haid. 'He would rather do good work for nothing than bad work for a high price. He has played a good many heavy roles lately and I think producers have forgotten how excellent his in sophisticated comedy. He had wonderful press notices when he appeared with Anne Todd in 'Tovarich' for BBC television"
We tried to get Mrs Cushing to talk about her own career- she was an actresss before she married. But she refused to talk about beyond saying she was never dedicated to the art like her husband. She was quite happy to give up her promising career to dedicate herself to him. They have never been parted, no matter where Mr Cushing has been working.
"I love travelling", says Mrs Cushing. 'I did a great deal before I was married. But Peter is the original Ancient Briton, he much prefers to stay at home!" When he is working , Helen Cushing is perfectely content to get on with the housework, sewing, and cooking, or working in a neat and pretty garden in Whitstable.
The feeling that struck us that had we had asked Peter Cushing the secret of his success, he would have replied - My Wife! For Helen Cushing is the woamn who is content to stay in the background, a tower of strength and comfort to her husband, happy in the knowlledge that with her support and encouragement Peter Cushing has become one of Britain's best known and best liked actors.
Source: Woman's Angle Magazine 1961