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Bishop is best known for his television roles working for producer Gerry Anderson, most notably his performance as Commander Ed Straker in the science fiction series, UFO, which was produced in 1969 and broadcast during 1970-1971. Bishop also provided the voice of Captain Blue for Anderson's Supermarionation puppet series, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. Both series have become cult favorites. In UFO, he dyed his dark hair blond for the role of Straker, though he eventually started wearing a blond wig instead. Bishop kept one of the wigs he wore in UFO as a souvenir and was also given the Certina wristwatch he wore on the show, and before his death, said that he planned to pass it on to his eldest grandson. Bishop was the only cast member of UFO to appear in every episode of that series.
After graduating in Theatre Arts from Boston University, he won a Fulbright Scholarship to study for two years at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, from which he graduated in 1959 and almost immediately found work in the British theatre and film industries. He adopted the first name Edward at this time for professional reasons. His first Broadway stage performance was in David Merrick's production of The Rehearsal in 1962, though he returned to Britain in 1964.
Bishop made his film acting debut in a small role in Stanley Kubrick's 1962 adaptation of Lolita (as an ambulance driver), and he had small roles in the James Bond films You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever. Some of his other better known films include Saturn 3, Twilight's Last Gleaming, Whoops Apocalypse (he also appeared in the TV series version), and 2001: A Space Odyssey (where he played the Captain of the Aries 1B space-station-to-moon shuttle, in a role which first featured dialogue: the dialogue was later cut from his scenes). In 1963 he played an American astronaut going to the moon in the movie The Mouse on the Moon (see: Grand Fenwick). Bishop also provided vocal work for the animated version of Star Trek and for Full Fathom Five, a Doctor Who audio drama produced by Big Finish Productions.
Bishop continued to act on film, TV and radio, usually in British and European productions, and was a frequent guest at science fiction conventions. He was also politically active, participating in the March 2004 British protest against the Iraq war.
Ed Bishop was married three times:
- Jane Thwaites, 1955; (marriage dissolved)
- Hillary Preen 1962; (three daughters; and one son deceased); (marriage dissolved 1996)
- Jane Skinner, 2001
Ed Bishop Facts
|Birth Name||George Victor Bishop|
|Birthday||June 11, 1932|
|Birthplace||Brooklyn, New York, USA|
|Date of death||June 8, 2005 (age 72)|
|2001: A Space Odyssey|
|Diamonds Are Forever|
|Journey to the Far Side of the Sun|
|Master of the Game|