|Born||10 August 1918
London, England, United Kingdom
|Died||28 February 2010 (aged 91)
|Spouse(s)||Joy Benson (?–2010) (his death)|
Martin Benson (10 August 1918 – 28 February 2010) was an English-born actor, who appeared in films, theatre and television. He appeared in both British and Hollywood productions. He is remembered for his role as the Kralaholme in the original London production of The King and I a role he recreated in the Oscar winning film version.
Appearing in films for over six decades, Benson played mostly supporting characters or villains. His films include The Blind Goddess (1948), Wheel of Fate (1953), Interpol (1957), The Strange World of Planet X (1958), Once More, with Feeling! (1959), Exodus (1960), Five Golden Hours (1961), A Shot in the Dark (1964), Pope Joan (1972), The Sea Wolves (1980) and Angela's Ashes (1999). He also had an uncredited role in MGM's hit historical film, Ivanhoe, and in 1963 he acted in another historic film, as Ramos in Cleopatra (which also starred Elizabeth Taylor).
A versatile actor, Benson played dramatic roles, such as Ali in Killers of Kilimanjaro (1959) and comedic roles, such as Maurice the extortionist in A Shot in the Dark.
In 1964 he appeared in what is arguably his most memorable role, as Mr. Solo, the gangster who refused to take part in the title villain's plan and is later shot by his henchman Oddjob in the James Bond film, Goldfinger.
He also appeared in many roles on television. In 1957 he made a guest appearance on The Jack Benny Show. In the same year he played the recurring character the Duke de Medici in the children's adventure series "Sword of Freedom". In 1981 he appeared in the television production of 'The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy', albeit unrecognisable under the heavy make-up and costume of Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz, leader of the Vogon fleet sent to destroy Earth. His last appearance was in the TV series, Casualty in 2005.