Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Leon Lissek

Actor Leon Lissek as a taxi driver in the 1968 'Avengers' episode 'The Forget-Me-Knot'

Leon Lissek: 

Although born in Australia, Leon Lissek has spent the majority of his long acting career in the UK where his mobile features and expressive eyes have made him a memorable face in a range of supporting roles. Which isn't to say that he is simply a master of the shrug, gape or head-shake, as a series of slightly more substantial acting successes makes clear.     

In the Hammer horror 'Countess Dracula' (1971)
A few major films have featured his talents, such as 'Nicholas & Alexandra' (1971) which featured a Tom Baker as Rasputin, and alongside Albert Finney's Poirot in 'Murder On The Orient Express' (1974, ), as well as 'Sweeney 2' (1978), 'Time Bandits' (1981), 'Personal Services' (1987), and 'The Unbearable Lightness Of Being' (1988). There's also an early role in the revered 'Marat/Sade' (1967). It's in television though, that he has really made the bigger impression.   

In the dock in a 'Crown Court' story from 1973 

With equal aplomb, Leon Lissek has met with television's casting demands for Jewish rabbis, businessmen and revolutionaries, Spanish priests and waiters, Arab sheikhs, French maitre d's, and various Greeks, Russians, Hungarians and Mexicans. You could have spotted him in police and adventure shows ranging from 'Softly Softly', 'Special Branch', 'Z-Cars' and 'Van Der Valk' to 'The Avengers', 'The Protectors', 'The Return Of The Saint' and 'The Professionals'.       

Continental shenanigans in 'Return Of The Saint'
He seems to have returned to Australia for a spell in the mid-'70s, to appear as a regular in 'The Sullivans', and several other Australian programmes. In the UK, lighter fare included low-brow comedies 'Not On Your Nellie' and 'Take A Letter Mr Jones', and kids TV 'Tottering Towers', 'Robert's Robots' and 'The Famous Five.' Better things were around the corner though, with his performance in the big-budget TV drama 'Shogun' as Father Sebastio.    

Waiting for the bathroom in an episode of
the BBC sitcom 'Ever Decreasing Circles'    
The '80s and '90s saw a sprinkling of quality drama - 'Our Friends In The North', 'The Final Cut', 'Cambridge Spies' - and occasional small roles in some popular productions such as 'Ever Decreasing Circles', 'A Fine Romance' and so on, culminating in a stint on 'EastEnders' with the legendary Stella Tanner, as Bruno and Luisa Di Marco, before the cast was dramatically pruned in late 1998.       

Playing Lavoisier in 'Marat/Sade' (1967)

Leon Lissek-imdb

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