Willoughby Goddard - Rotten Tomatoes

Willoughby Goddard

Highest Rated:   88% The Wrong Box (1966)
Lowest Rated:   63% The Canterbury Tales (1971)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Not Available
To say that portraying screen "heavies" came naturally to Willoughby Goddard would be putting it mildly. His vast girth and his weight -- over 300 pounds at times -- and almost equally imposing height put him in a league with such rotund screen figures as Francis L. Sullivan, Sydney Greenstreet, Robert Emhardt, Ronald Long and Robert Middleton. He did occasionally play benevolent parts, and officious government types, but Goddard was most often seen as a villain. And for a certain generation of television viewer, Goddard was permanently etched in the memory for his portrayal of the corpulent, despotic Landburgher Gessler in the late 1950s series William Tell -- across 39 episodes (which were rerun on both sides of the Atlantic for years), his evil Austrian ruler menaced the Swiss patriot William Tell (Conrad Phillips, his family and friends, reveling in his villainy and on-screen gluttony (which was sometimes strikingly portrayed in close-up). But that role was only the tiniest tip of the iceberg in Goddard's nearly five decade career, which encompassed over 100 film and television portrayals, in everything from The Avengers TV series to the feature films The Wrong Box (1966) and Young Sherlock Holmes (1985), and innumerably more theater work. Born Willoughby Rittenham Reese Goddard in Bicester, Ovfordshire in 1926, he made his stage debut in a 1943 revival of Shaw's Saint Joan, and spent the next few seasons in repertory -- his performance in Donald Pleasence's 1952 play Ebb Tide elicited favorable comparisons with Robert Morley. He also did memorable turns as Woolsey in the original production of A Man For All Seasons, and as Mr. Bumble in the Broadway production of Lionel Bart's Oliver! But Goddard's defining role on stage, across several continents and a lot of years, was Sir Toby Belch in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night -- it was a part that he seemed almost to "own" in the minds of many critics for years, and made him a theatrical star. He might also have made a superb Sir John Falstaff, but it was Twelfth Night where Goddard planted his Shakespearean flag. And in between those and other theatrical productions, he busied himself on the big- and small-screens from 1950 until 1987. And even without the William Tell series, he was a ubiquitous figure on British television, turning up as a sadistic gang leader on The Invisible Man, as Mr. Bumble in a 13-part non-musical Oliver Twist serial adaptation (with Max Adrian as Fagin), and Sir Geoffrey Norton in The Man In Room 17 in the mid-1960s -- as well showing up simply as "large man" in Carry On Cruising, or as the president in The Millionairess on theater screens. Ironically, if he had not been quite so busy on the small-screen, and so closely associated with British television, he might well have ended up on the short-list of possible candidates for the role of corpulent villain Auric Goldfinger in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger. Goddard had been retired for 21 years when he passed away in 2008, at age 81.

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
No Score Yet Porterhouse Blue
  • Professor Siblington
1987
No Score Yet God's Outlaw: The Story of William Tyndale
  • Cardinal Wolsey
1986
65% Young Sherlock Holmes
  • School Reverend
1985
No Score Yet Gawain and the Green Knight
  • Knight
1973
63% The Canterbury Tales
  • Placebo
1971
No Score Yet Charge of the Light Brigade
  • Squire
1968
88% The Wrong Box
  • James White Wragg
1966
No Score Yet Double Bunk
  • Prospective Purchaser
1961
No Score Yet The Secret Partner
  • Hotelkeeper
1961
No Score Yet The Millionairess
  • President
1960
No Score Yet The Green Man
  • Statesman
1956

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