Home Cast Members Robert Beatty

Robert Beatty


B: October 19, 1909 in Hamilton, Ontario
D: March 3, 1992 in London, England

Robert Beatty grew up in Canada and got his start with the Hamilton Players’ Guild before moving to England. He grew up on Sanford Avenue and Blake Street in his hometown and went to Adelaide Hoodless and Delta schools. After graduation from the University of Toronto he returned to Hamilton and worked as a cashier for United Gas. It was during this time that be began acting in local productions. In 1936, Beatty enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London England where a fellow student was Barry Morse. For years Beatty carried a silver cigarette case presented to him by the Players’ Guild. Like many aspiring actors, he made his film debut as an extra and stand-in. In most of his postwar work in film, on stage, radio and TV he was almost invariably cast as a rough-hewn American or Canadian. He also played more than his fair share of detectives, most prominently on BBC radio as Phillip O’Dell, the fictional Irish detective, and then on the TV series, Dial 999 in which he played an RCMP officer attached to Scotland Yard. During World War Two, he achieved international fame through his eyewitness radio reports of the nightly bombing of London during the Blitz for the BBC’s Overseas News Service. In 1942, he appeared in two critically acclaimed war propaganda films by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 49th Parallel and One of Our Aircraft Is Missing. In the 1950s he was the commentator for the J. Arthur Rank newsreels that played in movie theatres. Fans usually remember him for playing Dr. Rolf Halvorsen in 2001: A Space Odyssey. He also played US President Ronald Reagan in the 1987 PBS special, Breakthrough at Reykajavik. Beatty was 82 when he died of cancer in London, England.

Also see: Douglas Rain
Also See: Sean Sullivan