you passed the audition for the role of Gestapo
agent Toht from in Raiders
of the Lost Ark.
Why did the part pass to Ronald Lacey?
As I say in my first book we were
both up for the part and Ronny got it. Simple
as that. Although we were both suited to the part
and both very experienced I think the decision
to cast Ronny was the correct one. Mind you, the
director - Steven Spielberg - thought I was so
good that he found me the part of the U-boat Captain.
(He did have a name, this guy, but I'm afraid
I've forgotten it!) By the by, you don't do auditions
when you get to the point in your career when
you've done so much. It's merely a case of reading
the script and meeting the director.
Ronald Lacey was your friend.
What can you say about him?
Ronny was a lovely man, a very good
actor and he never had a bad word to say about
anybody. We were about the same age and appeared
together in lots of TV productions and several
movies, including, alas, his last. I'm not quite
sure actually if 'Last Crusade' was his last movie
but I think it was. He died shortly after. What?
You didn't know he was in 'Last Crusade'? He played
my Himmler. It was a kind gesture from Steven
- we all knew that Ronny was very ill
You had already
worked for George Lucas on The
Empire Strikes Back.
Do you remember how did you end up in getting
Sheard as Admiral Ozzel
I was asked to play it. It fitted
in between two other engagements. 'There's rather
a good death' my agent said. I fitted it in. Nobody
knew what the future would hold but I'm still
doing Sci-Fi conventions all over the world. Of
course I have done lots of other Science Fiction.
In fact of the 800 plus TVs and 46 movies I've
done, I should say at least 10 per cent have either
been Germans or Sci-Fi.
You are often
a guest at Star
Do you like them?
I love them. If you don't enjoy
them don't do them, it's not fair on the attendees.
I don't mean to sound pompous but conventions
also afford me the opportunity to say thank you
to a representation of the lovely people who've
been kind enough to write to me over the years
to say how much they like my work.
How many people come up to you and perform the
Force-squeeze on you?
I've lost count - it's happened
Sheard as the U-boat
Captain in Raiders.
filmed some scenes as the U-boat Captain for Raiders
of the Lost Ark.
Why did they not appear in the finished version
of the film?
You can just see me in the conning
tower of the sub. I did six weeks filming in La
Rochelle in France and then the weather got in
the way. They suddenly had to go and film in Tunisia
and I was already contracted to do a TV series.
The rest of my scenes were never shot. But Steven
said he'd find me something else!
Have you ever imagined that
he would call you for the role of Hitler in the
Well I have played Hitler five times
- six times now, I've just finished playing him
again in 'Hitler of the Andes'. He didn't die
in the Bunker you know, he escaped to South America!
When you were playing Adolf Hitler did you feel
any different? Sometimes when an actor plays a
certain role they really get into the character
did you get this feeling?
I'm an actor, that's my job. I'm
really darn good at my job - or so I'm told! But
it is a job, same as any other, and I don't bring
it home with me! Some actors do, it's true, but
I don't agree that it's necessary to spend three
months driving a taxi in order to play a taxi
driver. It's called acting for heavens sake! But
we all have our methods and every actor to his
James Bradley asks:
Can you share with us something about the location
in which the scene was shot?
It was shot in the grounds of a
most elegant public school on Oxfordshire UK during
the Summer holidays. Not a lot more to add - except
that it was boiling hot and Harrison and Sean
did their close-ups wearing swimming trunks. (You'll
have to read my books!)
Aaron Rotan asks:
I heard that in Last
Crusade, Hitler autographed the grail diary
using the wrong hand. (I think the real Hitler
was left handed?) and that the autograph was misspelled.
Hitler's name is actually spelled "Adolf”.
Was any of this touched on during the making,
or only realized after the fact? Or is it even
Sheard as Adolf Hitler.
I've no idea - really! That 'cut-in'
was filmed weeks, if not months after I'd left
the movie. It was the hand of another! But you
are half correct. Hitler was most certainly left
handed, but - and I've been asked this question
many times - I believe that whoever was my hand
did spell it with an 'f', have another look!
U worked on Raiders
and Last Crusade,
did you get asked to play in the Temple
No I wasn't asked. I was working
on a long running TV series at the time. And to
be honest and twixt the - how many of you are
there? Let's say 19 - twixt the 20 of us, I don't
think it's a very good film so perhaps it's best
that I wasn't free.
had a long career in the film industry. What are
your favorite roles or those you like remember?
It's not over yet!! Again, I'm often
asked this question many times at convention Q&As.
I've enjoyed every part I've played (with one
exception but you'll have to read my books to
find out.) What I do, is put the whole lot into
the ring - location (Greece); part (Sgt. Mann);
script (very good); cast (wonderful, headed by
my great chum, he who did the foreword to my first
superb book, Roger Moore, and the delightful David
Niven); and I come up with a super movie , 'Escape
to Athena'. I was damn good in it, too!
Why do you play especially German roles?
I don't! Ok I do speak the language
and I do, or I can, look German. But I'm a working
actor and I play what interests me and what I'm
What effect does it give you
having taken part in this kind of movies?
I play the parts that I'm offered
and those which interest me. The sub-title to
my first book is 'Memoirs of a Bum Actor'. Bum
as in the American use of the word - journeyman,
strolling player, vagabond. If the script and
the part is good, I'll play (almost) anything.
I even did a soft porn movie which was produced
by a friend of mine. Mind you, I was the one who
didn't take anything off!
is your favorite Indiana Jones film and why?
Number three, because I was in it
and I think I was damn good! Whatever, lot's of
people remember that scene.
Are you going to try to slip onto the Indy
set and bring us another great character?
I think - hope - I've indicated
that. As a journeyman actor, I'll consider anything
that's offered. If there's an interesting part
in IV I'll play it. But talk is cheap, is there
going to be a IV?!!