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Francis Matthews, who starred in such British horror films as The Revenge of Frankenstein and provided the voice of the indestructible Captain Scarlet in a memorable 1960s science-fiction puppet series, has died. He was 86.
Matthews died Saturday after a short illness, according to several British media reports.
A native of York, England, Matthews also starred as the title character in the 1969–71 BBC series Paul Temple, in which he played the famed gentleman novelist who solves crimes with the aid of his wife, Steve (Ros Drinkwater).
In the Hammer Films sequel Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), Matthews portrayed Peter Cushing‘s blackmailing assistant and was Boris Karloff‘s son in Corridors of Blood (1958), also starring Christopher Lee.
Other horror films on his résumé included The Hellfire Club (1961) with Cushing and two more Lee starrers that were released in 1966 — Dracula: Prince of Darkness and Rasputin the Mad Monk.
For Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, Matthews used a playful impression of Cary Grant to voice the title character who leads Spectrum, an international intelligence agency on Earth, in its fight against extraterrestrial terrorists.
As was said in the opening credits: “This man will be our hero, for fate will make him indestructible — Captain Scarlet.”
The ITC series was Gerry Anderson‘s follow-up puppet series to his more famous Thunderbirds.
Matthews also had regular roles on the British TV series Don’t Forget to Write!, A Roof Over My Head, Middlemen and Trinity Tales.
Matthews made his film debut opposite Ava Gardner in George Cukor‘s Bhowani Junction (1956). He also appeared with Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise in The Intelligence Men (1965) and That Riviera Touch (1966).
In 1962, he met actress Angela Browne on the set of the BBC’s Dark Island, and they married a year later. She died in 2001.
Survivors include his brother, actor Paul Shelley; sister Maura; and sons Paul, Dominic and Damien.
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