Winchester College, College St, Winchester SO23 9NA
Zodiac, The Astrological Emporium, Notting Hill Gate, London W11 3JS
Peter Cecil Bull, DSC (21 March 1912 – 20 May 1984), was a British character actor who appeared in supporting roles in such film classics as The African Queen, Tom Jones, and Dr. Strangelove. According to Scotty Bowers, Peter had a collection of teddy bears. And before sex, they first have to clear the bed filled with those beautiful teddy bears. The actor was bisexual but, he also never publicly spoke about his sexuality.
Bull was the fourth and youngest son of William Bull, later Sir William Bull, 1st Baronet, Member of Parliament for Hammersmith. Bull was educated at Winchester College. His first professional stage appearance was in If I Were You at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 1933. He was a friend of Alec Guinness, whom he first met at HMS Raleigh during training in the Second World War, and later HMS King Alfred; he served as an officer in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, later commanding Landing Craft (Flak) 16 in the Mediterranean. He achieved the rank of Lieutenant-Commander and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Returning to acting after the war, he both narrated and had a small on-screen role in Scrooge (1951); and portrayed the captain of the ship that Katharine Hepburn's and Humphrey Bogart's characters set out to destroy, whom they persuade to marry them just before they are to be executed, in The African Queen (1951). Bull was the first actor to portray Pozzo in the English-language version of Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot when it opened on 3 August 1955. Bull's performance as the Soviet Ambassador, Alexi de Sadesky, in Dr Strangelove (1964) is probably the best known of his many film and TV appearances. He was cast as Thwackum, one of Blifil's two tutors, in the 1963 film Tom Jones. (The other tutor, Square, of contrasting build and character, was played by John Moffatt.)
In the 1970s, he ran a small shop just off Notting Hill Gate (at the end of Kensington Church Street, just behind Notting Hill Gate tube station), selling zodiac-related items. Bull wrote a book on the subject of teddy bears, Bear With Me, and a book on his adventures on the Greek islands of Corfu and Paxos (where he owned a house), It isn't all Greek to me, illustrated by Oscar winner Roger Furse. He was also the author of a non-fiction book about his experiences during the Second World War as commander of a Tank Landing Craft (LCT), To Sea in a Sieve.
On 20 May 1984, at 72 years of age, Peter Bull died of a heart attack in London.
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