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Geoffrey Keen
Geoffrey Ian Keen

(1916-08-21)21 August 1916
Wallingford, England, UK
Died3 November 2005(2005-11-03) (aged 89)
Denville Hall, Northwood, Hillingdon, London, England, UK
Years active1943–1991
Spouse(s)Doris Groves (1960-1989; her death)
Hazel Terry (divorced)
Madeline Howell (divorced)

Geoffrey Keen (21 August 1916 – 3 November 2005) was an English actor who appeared in supporting roles in many films. He is well known for playing British Defence Minister Sir Frederick Gray in the James Bond films.


Early life

Keen was born in Wallingford, Berkshire, England, the son of stage actor Malcolm Keen.[1] He was educated at Bristol Grammar School. He then joined the Little Repertory Theatre in Bristol for whom he made his stage debut in 1932. After a year in repertory he stayed for a year in Cannes before being accepted for a place at the London School of Economics. In a last-minute change of mind, he entered the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where he won the Bancroft Gold Medal after only one year. He had just joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1939 when the war started. Keen enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps, though also managed to appear in an Army instructional film for Carol Reed.[2][3][4]


Keen made his full film debut in 1946 in Riders of the New Forest but soon appeared in better known films for Reed such as Odd Man Out (1947), The Fallen Idol (1948) The Third Man (1949) and Walt Disney's Treasure Island (1950). He quickly became one of the busiest character actors, typically doing five films a year. He also continued to perform on stage, for instance as Iachimo in Peter Hall's 1957 production of Cymbeline, and a sadistic Turkish General in Terence Rattigan's controversial play Ross (1960).[2][3][4]

Keen was cast mainly as establishment figures, including government ministers, senior police officers and military figures, though he also appeared in working class roles in Chance of a Lifetime (1950) and Millions Like Us (1943). He often portrayed balding, cold-hearted, and sarcastic executives or lawyers. On television, he was one of the leads in BBC TV's long-running drama about the oil industry, The Troubleshooters, between 1965 and 1972.[3][4]

On the big screen, he played the role of Minister of Defence Sir Frederick Gray in six James Bond films between 1977 and 1987:

He also appeared in The Spanish Gardener, Doctor Zhivago, Born Free and Cromwell, as well as in numerous TV programmes. He even appeared in a leading role in the Hammer horror film Taste the Blood of Dracula that starred Christopher Lee. In all, Keen had appeared in 100 films before he retired in 1991.[2][3][4]





  1. ^ "Geoffrey Keen Biography – Yahoo! Movies".
  2. ^ a b c Shorter, Eric (10 November 2005). "The Guardian obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d "The Daily Telegraph obituary". 14 November 2005. Retrieved 17 March 2017. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ a b c d "The Independent obituary". 5 December 2005. Retrieved 17 March 2017. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ Death in Ecstasy at IMDb Edit this at Wikidata

External links

This page was last edited on 26 January 2024, at 03:38
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