THE NEW YORK TIMES, THURSDAY, APRIL 27 1989
George Coulouris, 85, Is Dead;
Actor Relished Villainous Roles
George Coulouris, an actor who portrayed a rogue's gallery of villains in dozens of plays and films, died of heart failure Tuesday in London after a long illness. He was 85 years old.
Among Mr. Coulouris's more than 40 major feature films were "All This and Heaven, Too" (1940), "Citizen Kane" (1941), "For Whom the Bell Tolls" (1943), "Mr. Skeffington" (1944), "Joan of Arc" (1948), "1 Accuse!" (1958), "Arabesque" (1966), "Papillon" (1973) and "Murder on the Orient Express" (1974).
With his huge shoulders, forwardthrust head and shadowed eyes, Mr. Coulouris was a natural choice for sinister roles. Reviewing Lillian Hellman's 1941 Broadway play, "Watch on the Rhine," in The New York Times, Brooks Atkinson praised the actor's "lucid and subtly repelling performance" as Teck de Brancovis, the blackmailing Rumanian.
In his review in The Times of Mr. Coulouris's role as the gangster Jim Mordinoy in the 1944 film "None but the Lonely Heart," Bosley Crowther described him as "the very essence of cultivated wickedness."
'I'm Used to Villains'
Mr. Coulouris liked playing the bad guy. "I'm used to villains," he said in an interview. "I've played so many. I was a traitorous lieutenant in 'Valley Forge,' a fanatical, Fascist-minded clergyman in 'The White Steed' and in 'St. Joan,' a stupid English priest who wanted Joan burned and then went crazy with remorse."
Mr. Coulouris was born in Manchester, England, on Oct. 1, 1903. He ran away from home at the age of 20, intending to become an actor but winding up as a waiter on the liner Majestic,
Eventually he managed to win, acceptance to the Central School of Dramatic Art in London. After graduation, he made his London stage debut in 192 with Charles Laughton in Shakespearean repertory at the Old Vic, and had his first big success in 1926 as Yank in the first British production of Eugene O'Neill's I "The Hairy Ape.
Broadway Debut in Shaw
Mr. Coulouris made his first appearance on Broadway in the Theater Guild's production of George Bernard Shaw's "Apple Cart." In 1936 he met Orson Welles when both had parts in Sidney Kingsley's play, "Ten Million Ghosts," and Mr. Welles invited Mr. Coulouris to join the Mercury Theater.
Mr. Coulouris played Mark Antony in the celebrated Mercury Theater production of "Julius Caesar" in 1937, in which all the characters appeared in modern dress.
When Mr. Welles went to Hollywood, Mr. Coulouris went with him, and acted in "Citizen Kane" as Walter Parks Thatcher.
Mr. Coulouris is survived by his second wife, Elizabeth; a son, George, who lives in London; a daughter, Mary Louise Wallace of Glasgow, and four grandchildren.