'Oooh, he's a bad devil', as my late grandmother would say. The broad, leering, insinuating face of Derren Nesbitt was once an invariable cipher for cunning and villainy on the screen. He's had a long, if patchy career in the movies, with his most famous role being the strangely stylised Nazi Major von Hapen in 'Where Eagles Dare' (1968). Part of that patchiness is down to a notorious real-life attack on his wife in 1972. The papers widely reported the details of the assault which included a vicious thrashing with a leather strap.
Not surprisingly, film work dropped off after that. Pre-'72 highlights include 'A Night To Remember' (1958), a fight scene in 'Room At The Top' (1959), the tense, heist-gone-wrong, B-movie 'The Man In The Back Seat' (1961), 'The Blue Max' (1966), the Sinatra spy-thriller 'The Naked Runner' (1967), 'Monte Carlo Or Bust' (1969) and 'Burke & Hare (1972). After the court case, he spent some time in Australia, but also appeared in a string of smutty low-budget movies, including Dick Emery's 'Ooh You Are Awful' (1972), and his self-penned confessions-style effort 'The Amorous Milkman' (1975), possibly one of the dreariest sex comedies ever made, which is saying something. He was later partly rehabilitated by the alternative Comic Strip crowd, and appears in 'Eat The Rich' (1987), while maverick of mediocrity Michael Winner had him in 'Bullseye!' (1990) with Michael Caine and Roger Moore.
|'Burke & Hare' (1972)|
On TV, it was a similar story, with appearances in old favourites like 'Danger Man', 'Doctor Who', 'The Saint', Man In A Suitcase', 'The Prisoner' and 'UFO' followed by a long period in the wilderness. By the early '80s there was a bit more on offer for him, including 'The Comic Strip Presents' and villain roles in a few detective series.
|As Number Two in 'The Prisoner'|
|As a SHADO astronaut in 'UFO'|
He's still around, in Sussex it seems, catch up with his story here.
Derren Nesbitt - imdb