His father was from Germany, born in Palestine; his mother was from France. Both were of Russian ancestry and so Sir Peter grew up in an international family. He spoke English, German, French, Russian, Italian and Spanish fluently and a little bit of Modern Greek and Turkish.
He got married three times and had three daughters and one son.
For him his creativity as an author was most important. He wrote nine film scripts, more than eleven novels and tale books and over twenty plays. “Beethoven’s Tenth” and “Romanoff and Juliet” were his most famous plays and the film script of “hot millions” was nominated for an Oscar.
At the age of 16 he left school and started training to become an actor. After World War II he became famous with the role of the mad emperor Nero in “Quo Vadis” in 1951 and four years later he played in “We’re no Angels”, which became a cult movie.
For the roles of slave trader “Lentulus Batiatus” in “Spartacus” from 1961 and the one of “Arthur Simpson” in “Topkapi” in 1964 he won two Oscars.
Sir Peter’s personally most important film was “Billy Budd”: He wrote the script, starred it as a character, he was director and producer.
In 1973 Sir Peter lent his voice to the lion Prince John in the Disney film “Robin Hood” in both the English and German version and dubbed himself in the films “Evil under the Sun” and “Luther”, his last project. His popularity grew extremely because of his role of Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. He played that character six times. Having been a lover of classical music he directed many operas and played the main role in the play “Beethoven’s tenth”.
Ustinov wasn’t only an artist; he was a caring human being, who was employed with Unicef and later with his own foundation.
Since 1968 he had been a Unicef ambassador and travelled to developing countries, made documentary films about the projects there, gave press conferences, wrote books and much more. He made the misery of children more aware to the public than other personalities.
In 1999 he founded the Peter Ustinov foundation with the aims to help people who couldn’t help themselves and to fight against prejudices.
Edited by TigerTatziKatzi on 6 Dec 2006, 20:56
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