1 July 1912, Casterton, Victoria, Australia
Sidney Murray Matheson
Urbane, grey-eyed, silver-haired Australian-born character actor, notable for his smooth manner and clipped upper-class English diction. A grazier's son, Matheson first worked as a clerk in a bank in Geelong, Victoria. However, his overriding ambition to become an actor caused him to abscond to Melbourne, where he eventually joined the Little ...
Urbane, grey-eyed, silver-haired Australian-born character actor, notable for his smooth manner and clipped upper-class English diction. A grazier's son, Matheson first worked as a clerk in a bank in Geelong, Victoria. However, his overriding ambition to become an actor caused him to abscond to Melbourne, where he eventually joined the Little Theatre and spent two years being trained by the celebrated actress Ada Reeve. He made his theatrical debut at His Majesty's Theatre in Melbourne in 1934 and then spent a year with touring companies, afterwards making the inevitable move to England. Matheson's first appearance on the London stage was in the 1937 revue "And On We Go", followed by performances in "Oscar Wilde" and "Candida". In the course of many years, he became a prolific interpreter of roles in plays by Noël Coward. In 1940, Matheson's acting career was put on hold by wartime service as an intelligence officer in the RAF, attached to the British Embassy in Moscow.His screen career took off after a post-war move to Canada. Initially cast in radio and TV productions, Matheson was signed by Paramount to play a convict clergyman in the 18th century seafaring drama Botany Bay (1952). In between the numerous TV assignments which followed, Matheson had featured billing in several other Hollywood pictures, including King of the Khyber Rifles (1953), Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955) and Signpost to Murder (1964). However, he became most familiar to 1960's and 70's TV audiences as a regular guest star, equally versed in playing civilised, benevolent authority figures or crooks of the 'polite, yet deadly' variety. His most cherished performances may well include the evil KAOS mastermind Cedric Devonshire of Get Smart (1965); the alien Dr. Reynard, heading an indoctrination facility for The Invaders (1967); a discarded clown, one of "Five Characters in Search of an Exit" from The Twilight Zone (1959); and the antiquarian Felix Mulholland, owner of Mulholland's Rare Books & Prints and purveyor of information to Banacek (1972) (a recurring role for which he had signed a six-months contract).Matheson also remained true to his roots in legitimate theatre, occasionally appearing in modern plays at the Pasadena Playhouse and other West Coast venues. He died in April 1985 at the age of seventy-two in Los Angeles.
Murray Matheson's FILMOGRAPHY
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Murray Matheson'S roles