Michael Carter (actor)

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Michael Carter
Born (1947-06-29) 29 June 1947 (age 76)
Alma materRoyal Academy of Dramatic Art
Occupation(s)Actor, writer
Years active1971–present
Known for

Michael Carter (born 29 June 1947) is a Scottish actor of film, stage and television, known for portraying Gerald Bringsley in An American Werewolf in London, Bib Fortuna in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, and Von Thurnburg in The Illusionist.

Early life

Michael Carter was born 29 June 1947,[1] and brought up in Dumfries, Scotland, and educated at Dumfries Academy, where he was goalkeeper in the school football team. He trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) in London, graduating in 1969.[2]


Early work

Carter's earliest role was in the Doctor Who serial The Mind of Evil (1971), in which he played a UNIT soldier and a prisoner.[citation needed] He made his film debut in An American Werewolf in London (1981) as London Underground passenger Gerald Bringsley who is killed by the werewolf.

Star Wars

In 1983, Carter portrayed Bib Fortuna in Return of the Jedi (1983) he had come to the attention of casting director Mary Selway, who saw him perform in a musical in the West End theatre section of London in the early 1980s.[3] Director Richard Marquand had also seen and enjoyed Carter's theater work, and wanted to cast him as Fortuna;[4][5] Marquand, who described Carter as a "terrific actor", was drawn to him for the role because he wanted Fortuna to be very tall, and Carter was about six feet tall.[4] Marquand invited Carter to meet at a studio in Elstree Studios to discuss a role he was casting in a film, which Marquand would only identify by its fake working title Blue Harvest.[5] Carter was performing on a television series at the time.[6] Carter's train was late and Marquand was in a meeting when he arrived, and the front desk forgot to inform Marquand that he arrived, so Carter waited for an hour without being called in.[5][7] Marquand happened upon Carter as he was leaving for the day,[5] and the meeting took place.[8] During the 30-minute meeting,[6] Marquand informed him the part was an alien in a science-fiction film,[8][9] also describing it as a children's film,[6] and that Carter could have the role without auditioning if he wanted it, but Marquand could not discuss any details about the character or film because it was a "top secret Hollywood movie".[8] Carter was initially not sure the part interested him, but Marquand persisted,[10] and Carter reluctantly agreed. Only then did Marquand reveal that it was a Star Wars film.[6][8] Carter was sworn to secrecy about the role, but he told his family about the part anyway, and the next day his daughter discussed it publicly with a friend at her school.[9][11]

Carter had never seen the original Star Wars film,[9][12] and had only seen the sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, because he was working at the time in a theater production with Anthony Daniels, who played C-3PO in the film.[12] Carter spent three months undergoing extensive makeup casts and tests for the character at Elstree Studios before shooting began. Molds were made from his hands and head.[13] Several foam appliances were sculpted to conform to Carter's face, and molds were made and cast into foam latex, which were then trimmed and carefully glued to the actor's face.[14] It took about eight-and-a-half hours to apply the makeup to Carter the first time,[6][14][15] though the process was eventually reduced to slightly under an hour.[6][15] Carter had been told a great deal of makeup would be involved with the part, but he said, "I did not know what I was letting myself in for when it came to having to wear so much makeup. It did come as a bit of a shock."[13]

Following his appearance in Return of the Jedi, Carter was offered several alien roles or parts that involved heavy amounts of prosthetics. For example, he was cast in the role of Radu Molasar, a monster and warlord in the Michael Mann film The Keep (1983), as a direct result of his work in Return of the Jedi.[6] Carter has continued to receive letters and autograph requests from Star Wars fans for decades after the film's release,[6][16] and he has made appearances at sci-fi and fantasy conventions.[17][18][19] Carter was offered the opportunity to reprise the role of Bib Fortuna in the prequel The Phantom Menace, but he declined due to the rigors associated with the makeup application.[20]

Other roles

He co-wrote the 1991 film One Man's War starring Anthony Hopkins.

On stage Carter has appeared at the National Theatre, in the West End, and in Broadway theatre.

His appearances on television include Rebus with both John Hannah and Ken Stott, and Taggart. He starred as the polygynist husband of Brenda Fricker and Josette Simon in the 1992 TV mini-series Seekers, and as Tulloch, head of the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service in Thames TV's seven part series Call Red. Carter created the role of Douglas Raeburn in twenty two episodes of BBC Scotland's Two Thousand Acres of Sky.[episode needed]

He has performed voice work in the video games Demon's Souls, and Dark Souls.



Year Title Role Notes
1981 An American Werewolf in London Gerald Bringsley
1982 The Draughtsman's Contract Mr Clarke Credited as Mike Carter
1983 Return of the Jedi Bib Fortuna
The Keep Radu Molasar
1985 Out of the Darkness Julian Reid
2003 Young Adam Prosecutor
2006 The Illusionist Von Thurnburg
Attack Force Admiral Morgan
2010 Centurion General Antoninus


Year Title Role Notes
1971 Doctor Who Prisoner/UNIT Soldier Episodes: The Mind of Evil, Uncredited
1982 Nobody's Hero Dodge 5 episodes
Saturday Night Thriller Ringer Episode: Grass
1983 Heather Ann Geoffrey TV movie
Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime Rodriguez Episode: The Ambassador's Boots
1984 A Christmas Carol Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come TV movie
1986–2005 Taggart Jack Stobo/Sandy Russell 2 episodes
1991 One Man's War TV movie
Writer Only
1992 Civvies Arnie 4 episodes
1993 The Chief Thomas Setter Episode: The Trust of Justice
The Bill Ronnie Gurman Episode: Soft Touch
1994 How High the Moon Miniseries
1995 The Tales of Para Handy Rankin Episode: Para Handy's Piper
1996 Call Red Philip Tulloch
1999 C15: The New Professionals Superintendent Episode: Hostage
2000–07 Rebus Rev John Carson/Joe Toal 2 episodes
2001–03 Two Thousand Acres of Sky Douglas Raeburn 13 episodes
2003 Seven Wonders of the Industrial World John Scott Russell Episode: The Great Ship
2004 Red Cap Maj. Gen. Guy Walpole Episode: Betrayed
Rosemary & Thyme Professor Reeves Episode: Swords into Ploughshares
2005 Casualty Michael de Fraine 4 episodes
2006 Spooks Sir Maurice Clark Series 5 episode 10, Also known as MI-5
2012 Hunted Vincent Cage Episode: Kismet
2017 The Halcyon Wilfred Reynolds
2022 House of the Dragon Jaehaerys I Targaryen Episode: The Heirs of the Dragon

Video games

Year Title Role
2009 Demon's Souls Biorr of the Twin Fangs
Blacksmith Boldwin
Blacksmith Ed
2011 Dark Souls Hawkeye Gough


Inline citations

  1. ^ "Michael Carter". BFI. Retrieved 10 August 2021.
  2. ^ "Student and Graduate Profiles: Michael Carter" rada.ac.uk. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  3. ^ Carter & Townley 2016, 0:30–0:44 Townley: "Let's go back to the early 80s real quick: you're doing a musical in the West End, and casting directly Mary Selway sees you in it." Carter: "That's right, yeah." Townley: "What, what happened, what happened next?" Carter: "I got a call from an agent to go and see a director about a film called Blue Harvest."
  4. ^ a b Rinzler 2013, p. 100
  5. ^ a b c d Waddell 2014, p. 44
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Chernoff 1996, p. 22
  7. ^ Carter & Townley 2016, 0:45–0:56 Carter: "I almost didn't see him because the train was late, and then when I got into the film studio and said I was there to see Richard Marquand, they didn't phone upstairs, so they didn't know I was here."
  8. ^ a b c d Waddell 2014, p. 45
  9. ^ a b c Derrick, Paul (26 October 2015). "The force is strong with sci-fi exhibition in Bury St Edmunds". Bury Free Press. Archived from the original on 1 October 2019.
  10. ^ Carter & Townley 2016, 1:02–1:18 Carter: "I went in, saw Richard; he said, 'We're doing this science-fiction film in about four months, would you be interested in playing the part of an alien? You speak a very funny language.' I said, 'Ehh, I don't know if I am, really,' but he kind of worked on me."
  11. ^ Waddell 2014, pp. 45–46
  12. ^ a b Waddell 2014, pp. 46–47
  13. ^ a b Waddell 2014, p. 46
  14. ^ a b Rinzler 2013, p. 137
  15. ^ a b Jennings, Dan (13 June 2016). "Much to Learn You Still Have: 7 Things You Might Not Know About Twi'leks". StarWars.com. Archived from the original on 6 October 2019.
  16. ^ Waddell 2014, p. 47
  17. ^ "Actors from Star Wars, Dr Who, Mission Impossible and Batman appearing at sci-fi event at The Collection in Lincoln". Sleaford Standard. 17 September 2015. Archived from the original on 1 October 2019.
  18. ^ "Y la Fuerza los acompaña...". El Norte. 4 July 1999. p. 4.
  19. ^ Lane, Matthew (9 October 2018). "Celebrities, games and more at this year's Conapalooza". Kingsport Times-News.
  20. ^ Alders, Mark (30 October 2015). "Star Wars in the UK: Star Wars Night with the CBSO". StarWars.com. Archived from the original on 8 October 2019.


External links