Vladek Sheybal(bornWładysław Rudolf Z. Sheybal; 12 March 1923 – 16 October 1992) was a Polish character actor and director of both television and stage productions.He was well known for his portrayal of the chess grandmaster Kronsteen in theJames BondfilmFrom Russia with Love(1963), a role for which he had been personally recommended by his friend Sean Connery , and Otto Leipzig inSmiley's People(1982).He became a naturalised British citizen, but remained "fiercely proud of his homeland and its culture."
He appeared in the filmKanał(1957, credited as Władysław Sheybal), directed by Andrzej Wajda , before emigrating to the United Kingdom, where he was typically cast in villainous roles. He also appeared as Holocaust survivor Egon Sobotnik in the television mini-seriesQB VII.
He had a dual role as "the Director" and as Pierre Louys in Ken Russell 'sThe Debussy Film, one of Russell's composer biopics for the BBC. Other Russell films in which he appeared wereBillion Dollar Brain,Women in Love, andThe Boy Friend.
Other films includeCasino Royale,Doppelgänger,The Last Valley,Puppet on a Chain,Innocent Bystanders,The Wind and the Lion,The Lady Vanishes,Fire and SwordandRed Dawn.
Sheybal's other TV credits includeZ-Cars,Danger Man,The Troubleshooters,The Saint,The Baron,The Champions,Callan,Strange Report,UFO(in which he had a recurring role as Dr Jackson),The New Avengers,Supernatural,Lord Mountbatten: The Last Viceroy, andSmiley's People.
In 1977, Sheybal won the Dracula Society 's prestigious Hamilton Deane Award for his performance in the BBC playNight of the Marionettes, in which he played a sinister Austrian innkeeper whose life-size puppets supposedly inspired Mary Shelley 'sFrankenstein. Sheybal's final stage appearance was as Friedrich Nietzsche in the Pierre Bourgeade playThe Eagle and the Serpentat London's Offstage Downstairs Theatre in 1988.
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