Last Updated: September 11, 2023
Richest CelebritiesActors
Net Worth:
$10 Million
May 26, 1913 - Aug 11, 1994 (81 years old)
6 ft (1.829 m)
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What Was Peter Cushing's Net Worth?

Peter Cushing OBE was a British actor who had a net worth of $10 million at the time of his death in 1994. Peter Cushing starred in the title role on the 1968 BBC1 series "Sherlock Holmes," and he had more than 130 acting credits to his name, including the films "Hamlet" (1948), "The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957), "Dracula" (1958), "The Hound of the Baskervilles" (1959), "The Ghoul" (1975), "Star Wars" (1977), and "Top Secret!" (1984), the miniseries "Pride and Prejudice" (1952), "Epitaph for a Spy" (1953), and "The Spread of the Eagle" (1963), and the TV movies "Richard of Bordeaux" (1955), "The Great Houdini" (1976), "A Tale of Two Cities" (1980), and "The Masks of Death" (1984). Peter also appeared in a 1941 Broadway production of Charles Rann Kennedy's "The Seventh Trumpet," and he published the books "Peter Cushing: An Autobiography"(1986) and "Past Forgetting: Memoirs of the Hammer Years" (1988). Cushing was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1989, and he passed away from prostate cancer on August 11, 1994, at the age of 81.

Early Life

Peter Cushing was born Peter Wilton Cushing on May 26, 1913, in Kenley, Surrey, England. Peter was the son of Nellie Marie King and quantity surveyor George Edward Cushing, and he had a brother named David. Cushing's paternal grandfather, paternal aunt, and step-uncle were stage actors. After the end of World War I, the family moved from Dulwich to Purley. As an infant, Peter developed pneumonia twice and "double pneumonia" once. He became interested in acting after seeing a production of "Peter Pan," and he enjoyed dressing up and playing make believe as a child. Cushing earned money during his youth by putting on puppet shows for his family. He attended boarding school at the Shoreham Grammar School, but he left after one semester due to homesickness. Peter then played rugby and cricket at the Purley County Grammar School, and his brother often did his homework for him. D.J. Davies, who produced the school's plays, encouraged Cushing to get involved with the productions, and Peter was cast as the lead in numerous plays.

Though Cushing wanted to pursue an acting career after high school, his father got him a job in the Coulsdon and Purley Urban District Council's surveyor's office, where he worked in the drawing department as a surveyor's assistant. He didn't enjoy the job, but he stayed there for three years. During this time, Davies was still allowing Peter to appear in school plays, and Cushing also starred in amateur productions. He later applied for a scholarship at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and after being rejected at his audition, he wrote more than 20 letters to the school. Theatre manager Bill Fraser agreed to meet with him in 1935 to ask him in person to stop sending letters, and during the meeting, he gave Peter a walk-on part in that night's production of the J.B. Priestley play "Cornelius." Cushing had no lines, but after making his professional stage debut in the production, he was finally awarded a scholarship.


In the late '30s, Peter's father gave him a one-way ticket to Los Angeles, and Cushing moved there with just £50. After meeting Columbia Pictures employee Larry Goodkind, Peter was hired as a stand-in for Louis Hayward on 1939's "The Man in the Iron Mask" for scenes that featured both of the roles Hayward was playing. His role as a stand-in featured no screen time, but he was also cast as the king's messenger. Cushing then appeared in the films "Laddie" (1940), "A Chump at Oxford" (1940), and "Vigil in the Night" (1940), and he played Osric in 1948's "Hamlet," which won an Academy Award for Best Picture. During World War II, Peter returned to England, and in 1942, he starred in a production of Noël Coward's "Private Lives" that toured hospitals and military stations in the British Isles. In the '50s, he appeared in the films "Moulin Rouge" (1952), "The Black Knight" (1954), "The End of the Affair" (1955), "Alexander the Great" (1956), "John Paul Jones" (1959), and "The Mummy" (1959), played Dracula in "Doctor Van Helsing" (1957) and Sherlock Holmes in "The Hound of the Baskervilles" (1959), and had his first lead movie role as Victor Frankenstein in "The Curse of Frankenstein" (1957). Cushing reprised the role of Sherlock Holmes in a 1968 eponymous BBC1 series and the 1984 TV movie "The Masks of Death." From 1951 to 1957, he starred in 13 episodes of BBC Sunday-Night Theatre.

Peter appeared in more than 25 films in the '60s, including "The Brides of Dracula" (1960), "Sword of Sherwood Forest" (1960), "The Hellfire Club" (1961), "The Evil of Frankenstein" (1964), "Dr. Terror's House of Horrors" (1965), "Dr. Who and the Daleks" (1965), "Frankenstein Created Woman" (1967), "Some May Live" (1967), "Corruption" (1968), and "Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed" (1969). He guest-starred on "The Avengers" (1967), "Orson Welles' Great Mysteries" (1973), "Space: 1999" (1976), "The New Avengers" (1976), "Hammer House of Horror" (1980), and "Tales of the Unexpected" (1983), and he portrayed Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the 1976 ABC movie "The Great Houdini." In the '70s, he starred in films such as "Scream and Scream Again" (1970), "The House That Dripped Blood" (1971), "I, Monster" (1971), "Tales from the Crypt" (1972), "Fear in the Night" (1972), "The Creeping Flesh" (1973), "From Beyond the Grave" (1974), "Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell" (1974), "The Ghoul" (1975), and "At the Earth's Core" (1976), and he played Grand Moff Tarkin in the 1977 hit "Star Wars." In the '80s, he appeared in "Mystery on Monster Island" (1981), "Black Jack" (1981), "House of the Long Shadows" (1983), " Top Secret!" (1984), and "Sword of the Valiant" (1984), and his final film was 1986's "Biggles: Adventures in Time."

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Personal Life

Peter married his "Private Lives" co-star Violet Helene Beck on April 10, 1943, and they remained married until her death from emphysema in January 1971. Cushing told the "Radio Times" in 1972, "Since Helen passed on I can't find anything; the heart, quite simply, has gone out of everything. Time is interminable, the loneliness is almost unbearable and the only thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that my dear Helen and I will be reunited again some day. To join Helen is my only ambition. You have my permission to publish that … really, you know, dear boy, it's all just killing time. Please say that." Peter had been cast as Stephanie Beacham's father in "Dracula A.D. 1972," but the effects of his wife's untimely death aged him so much that the script was rewritten to make him Beacham's grandfather instead. Cushing was a vegetarian, and he became a patron of the Vegetarian Society in 1987. He suffered from nyctophobia, the fear of the night, and he eventually overcame it by taking walks after midnight. Peter collected model soldiers and owned more than 5,000 of them, many of which he hand-painted himself.

Death and Legacy

Peter was diagnosed with prostate cancer in May 1982, and at one point, the cancer caused his left eye to swell to almost three times its normal size. While in the hospital, doctors thought that he might lose the eye and estimated that he had between a year and 18 months to live, but he went on to live for 12 more years without any chemotherapy or surgeries.

In August 1994, Cushing entered Canterbury's Pilgrims Hospice, and on August 11th, he died there at the age of 81. His funeral was only for family and friends, but hundreds of mourners came to Canterbury and paid their respects. A memorial service was held in January 1995 at The Actor's Church in Covent Garden, and actors Christopher Lee, James Bree, and Ron Moody spoke at the service.

In 2008, the Royal Mail issued a set of stamps in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Hammer Studios' release of "Dracula," and Peter was one of the actors featured on the stamps. In 2013, he was honored on the Royal Mail's "Great Britons" commemorative stamps.

Awards and Nominations

In 1956, Cushing won a BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor, and in 1978, he earned a Saturn Award nomination (from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films) for Best Supporting Actor for "Star Wars." He received an International Fantasy Film Award for Best Actor at the 1984 Fantasporto festival for "his contributions to the fantastic film genre," and he was inducted into the "Fangoria" Horror Hall of Fame in 1994. Peter also won two Best Actor awards at the Sitges – Catalonian International Film Festival, for "The Ghoul" in 1976 and "House of the Long Shadows" in 1983.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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