November 2, 2003 by

Guy Rolfe


Categories: Actors, Hollywood

grolfe.jpgGuy Rolfe, a British actor with a penchant for playing villains, died on Oct. 19. Cause of death was not released. He was 91.

After trying his hand at boxing and racecar driving, Rolfe became an actor. In 1936, he began performing on stage and made his first big screen appearance in the Marlene Dietrich film, “Knight Without Armour.” A six-decade career followed with Rolfe acting in more than 40 movies.

Casting directors took advantage of the tall and lean actor’s dark appearance by choosing antagonist roles for him. In “Mr. Sardonicus,” his character’s fate was determined by an audience vote.

Rolfe was best known, however, as the mad puppet manufacturer in the “Puppet Master” sequels, and for his guest appearance on the cult science fiction TV show, “Space: 1999.”

26 Responses to Guy Rolfe

  1. Billy Coyne

    Mr. Rolfe was one of my favorite actors of all times. Every film that he did with Charles Band is, and will always be a classic. “Dolls” and the “Puppet Master” films were classic pieces of cinema of the b-movie world. He will be remembered as one of the greatest character actors to me and to the rest of the fellow actors and actresses that worked with him. May his legacy live on in the films he will be rememberd for.
    BIlly Coyne

  2. Luke Tylim

    My mum’s uncle was Guy Rolfe. Since a couple of years ago when I found out that we’re related, albeit distant, I meant to contact him. Today I was going to make my serious attempt to find some contact details, so I started with the internet. Unfortunately I hit this site and found he has passed away. Another blatant reminder that life is too short to put things off. Sorry, this is supposed to be a tribute page.

  3. Richard Doria

    I am a teacher in Phoenix, AZ. I use the film Ivanhoe for my romantic hero unit. Guy Rolfe was voted best Villain, beating handly George Sanders. I decided to see if there was a way to let Mr. Rolfe know that after fifty years he still affects the audiences. I lucked out and found him, and wrote a couple of letters to him. For about a year I thought, I need to send him another letter before it is too late, as I knew he was in his early 90s. I went through my contact and was saddened to hear that Guy had passed on last October. I had been given Guy’s phone number earlier and was encouraged to call him, but I did not as I hated to bother him and say something bland such as, “I’m a great fan of your work!” I should have made the call. The worst that could have happened was that he’d hang up. Whenever I read Shakespeare, I hear Guy’s voice. He is my Lear, King John, Macbeth, and Claudius. One thing that impressed me greatly was that some of his lines were just goofy, lame, yet he made them work. In Ivanhoe he says, “Who is this Saxon, why does he trouble me so?” That is just a crummy line, but from Rolfe, it was significant. I wish I could have told him so. I should have made the call. AS his relative stated above, don’t wait, it may be too late. He should have been knighted!

  4. jane culver

    If ‘Luke Tylim’ reads this, I am Guy Rolfe’s niece and would like to contact you, as we have probably never heard of each other. Guy was my mother’s brother. My e-mail address is jane 6 It would be good to hear from you.



  6. Nev Kelley

    At the time of writing this, I am watching Guy Rolfe in ‘Home to Danger’ a 1951 British film on Matinee Movies on Satellite, in which he shared the billing with Rona Anderson and Stanley Baker (in a bit part).
    Every time I se Mr Rolfe I am reminded of the time my family had a holiday to London but were staying in Epsom, Surrey at the home of a Mrs. Waller, who it turned out, was Guy Rolfe’s aunt.
    She used to tell us, proudly, that her nephew was appearing in this film or that film or in some stage show and as a small boy, I was very impressed as at the time this was the closest I had ever come to a film star.
    Apart from his villanous roles he could and did portray normal types and heroes – all in all a very good actor.
    I would also have liked to see him during his motor racing days as I could imagine him in a BRM or similar car, tearing around Brooklands or Goodwood, possibly with just a flat cap for protection

  7. Tim Edwards

    I enjoyed Guy’s work, as well! Although he played many wonderful acting roles in is life, the role that I enjoyed the most was Mr. Sardonicus. It is a strong memory in my childhood. I am also a descendant of John Rolfe and Pocahontas, on the Boling side. The Bolings (which was shortened to Bolin) were introduced into the Rolfe family around the 1660s when Jane Rolfe (John and Pocahontas’s granddaughter) married Col. Robert Boling.

  8. Raymond Copley

    In my list of 10 films I would take to a desert island is “The Spider & The Fly” with Guy, Eric Portman, Nadia Gray. Excellent production, story & dialogue and convincing performances. I have watched it numerous times on VCR over the years and always enjoy. Hollywood’s trashmakers could learn much about quality film production from “The Spider…”


    Have just been watching Fools Rush In, a comedy with Sally Anne Howes and Guy Rolfe. I went to the web to find more of the technical details of the film, and was shocked to see of his demise.
    If you can watch this film, do so, when Guy comes into the picture, he takes over the film.
    Another fine actor gone,just like Terence Morgan late last year. We will never see the likes again.

  10. Robyn Downing

    I too went to the web to find out more information on Guy Rolfe and am sad to hear of his death, but not surprised as I realised he would now be into his nineties.
    I have just watched Guy Rolfe playing the lead role of hero in a romantic comedy – the period piece “The Reluctant Widow” with Jean Kent made in 1950. He was urbane and charming but gave the role a dark edge not apparent in the original book by Georgette Heyer.
    A fine actor from a generation of British acting that had true talent.

  11. Cliff Cherry

    As I write this I am watching “Ivanhoe” for the umpteenth time, I also have “Taras Bulba” and “King Of Kings” and have long admired Guy Rolfe as an actor – indeed I can remember Ivanhoe for the first time – I was 12 so I have grown up with his films. I hope he got as much out of his life as he gave to us fans.

  12. cynthia gordon


  13. Janet Griffith

    I thought Guy Rolfe was gorgious – I saw him in The Reluctant Widow over and over again. He had such a special presence. No one else like him.

  14. Tyrone L. Peters

    I am a 65 year old Black American male and have been a fan of Guy’s since I saw the movie Ivanhoe as a ten year old child.I thought then and still due regard him as one of the greatest actors that I have ever seen. And have always wished that I could have known him personally. I sencerely regret his passing.

  15. Colin Hoult

    I was lucky enough to act in a short film with Guy called ‘King Iron Shot’. He was one of the most interesting and funny people I have ever met. I just discovered that he has passed away after telling my partner stories about him. I was a smoker at that time and I remember him telling me I should stop because it takes years off your life. (He’d given up when he was about 70). He said that he was nearly ninety then and if he hadn’t smoked he would have been 110. He made me laugh at little jokes like that all day. A great man!

  16. richard boeker

    I remember a “One Step Beyond” with Guy Rolfe. One day I’ll see it again. I have Spider and the Fly and enjoy it often, and indeed I too am sadden by his passing.

  17. Iain Smith

    My mothertold me that I was related to Guy Rolfe
    through her huband, Benton John Waller.
    They separated after some 4 years of marriage about 1939. I have often wondered if he had any
    further family.
    Reading the tributes on Guy by four people.
    Luke Tylim, related. Jane Culver his niece, Nev
    kelly who had a holiday with Mrs Waller,and cynthia Gordon also related,Iwonder if any of the above have any Knowledge of Benton john Waller and Beatrice emma his wife, the lived and died in Canterbury 1984 and 1986.
    Please contact Anne at E mail as above

  18. David Hearnden

    Just wanted to let any one know is interested that Guy was my mother’s older brother,making me his nephew and Jane Culver’s brother.If it is any help to you I can be contacted at have spent more time with him as he had so many funny stories to tell.

  19. Jillian & Erica Belton

    Guy Rolfe was our uncle by marriage to our Mother’s Sister, named Paula Phillips. We were surprised that his marriage to her had not been mentioned in his obituary. We have their wedding photographs, and also a photograph of him as a policeman, which was also not mentioned. Paula and Guy were married before the Second World War and they parted when she emigrated to New Zealand, although he remained in touch with our family. We have very fond memories of him visiting us when he was appearing in Birmingham and giving us £5 each to buy comics, a princely sum.

  20. Irene O'Connell

    I remember Guy Rolfe in “Prelude to Fame” with Jeremy Spencer and Katherine Harrison. No-one had a voice like Guy Rolfe!
    I only happened to notice in the Obituary column of the Daily Telegraph that he had died and when I asked why there was not an article about him, they said they could not put everyone in due to time and space. I was very disappointed as he was my idol.

  21. Pamela Deane (nee Rolfe)

    My father, Edwin James Rolfe, was the brother of Thomas Rolfe, Guy’s father. Guy, my cousin, was always at our house in Chelsea and my mother, Susan Rolfe, used to encourage Guy to become an actor and told him that he’d see his name in lights one day in Piccadilly. Three months after my mother passed away his name was in lights and his mother, Edith, said to Guy, ‘I know Guy that you wished Aunt Susan was here to see your name.’ I offered a velvet shawl of my mother’s to Guy for him to remember her by. He said, ‘I don’t need anything to remember her, I loved her and always will.’ It was my mother that suggested his stage name of Guy as it went well with his surname. When I was a young girl and first met Guy, I used to call him ‘cousin Guy’ as we had been living in Canada and I hadn’t met any of my cousins, so therefore, I thought I should be polite and call him ‘cousin Guy’ which used to annoy him and in the end he said, ‘Stop calling me ‘cousin Guy’, it’s just Guy. His sister, Queen and her very young son after she divorced went to live with her parents. My husband Wally and myself used to visit them. When we immigrated to Australia we visited other members of the Rolfe family, my father’s other brother and Guy and Queen’s father’s brother, who had a sugar cane farm near Mackay in north-east Queensland. I lost touch with Guy and had believed he’d died much earlier from TB. My daughter found his tribute on the internet just recently and I was surprised to hear he’d survived and went on to live for many more years. He was living in Spain the last that I knew of him because of his poor health. I am now 88 but have many fond memories of him. I regret that when coming to Australia I didn’t keep up correspondence with Tom and Edie, his parents. If anyone wants to contact me, please do so.
    Pamela Deane

  22. Kerry Cooper (Rolfe)

    My Family settled in Inverell N.S.w. He had a Sugar Cane Farm at Bauple Qld. My Dad looks like the Actor Guy Rolfe so much. Could be Relative.

  23. MissValentina

    I have admired Mr. Rolfe since my early childhood. I was only 6 yrs old when my mother allowed us to watch Mr. Sardonicist on TV. Although it was a thriller type movie, my siblings and I were more intrigued than afraid. I followed Mr. Rolfe’s film career and have enjoyed his wonderful acting talents throughout his illustrious career. I too was saddened to hear of his death but was grateful to know that he had a very long and successful career doing what he seemed to enjoy. And I agree with many of the comments here.. he had such a profound presence, and very unique speaking voice that brought deep meaning to his speaking lines. Mr. Rolfe is sorely missed not only for his work but as I can also see his family ties. Mr. Rolfe continues to live through such beautiful and fond memories of each stage of his life upon the earth.. He left a legacy and touched many of us in many different ways. God bless you all.

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