Paul Massie dies at 78

Canadian actor became Florida professor

Paul Massie, whose performance in 1958’s “Orders to Kill” brought him a BAFTA Award for most promising newcomer to film, died June 8 in Nova Scotia, where he had resided since retiring from the U. of South Florida’s Theater Department as professor emeritus in 1996. He was 78 and had been fighting lymphoma.

The Canadian-born Massie had a run of strong roles in the late 1950s.

In “Orders to Kill,” directed by Anthony Asquith, Massie played an American bomber pilot who parachutes into Nazi-occupied France with the mission of killing a traitor in the French Resistance. Eddie Albert and Lillian Gish also starred.

Massie also appeared on the bigscreen in Asquith’s “Libel,” with Dirk Bogarde and Olivia de Havilland, in which Massie played Bogarde’s accuser; “Sapphire,” directed by Basil Dearden; and Hammer horror film “The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll” — in which the actor played both Jekyll and Hyde (and Christopher Lee co-starred).

Popular on Variety

The actor did some work in British TV during the 1960s, including episodes of “The Avengers,” “The Doctors” and “ITV Television Playhouse.” He also starred in the 1973 BBC miniseries “Hawkeye, the Pathfinder.”

Massie was a stage actor as well, performing with Kim Stanley and Leo McKern in Peter Hall’s production of Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” at the Comedy Theater in London in 1958. In 1963 he acted in William Fairchild’s “Breaking Point” at the Golders Green Hippodrome in Golders Green, London.

Born Arthur Masse in St. Catharines, Ontario, he attended theater school in the U.K. but then enlisted, serving in Hong Kong. Back in Britain, he became associated with the J. Arthur Rank studio.

Massie also worked in Canada, appearing in the CBC TV productions of dramas “A Doll’s House” with Genevieve Bujold and Peter Donat and “Spring Song” and onstage at the Stratford Festival.

He relocated to Tampa, Fla., in the 1970s to take a position at the U. of South Florida. He taught a variety of performance-related subjects — including clowning and directing — and worked locally both onstage and as a director.

Even after beginning his teaching career, he would return sporadically for screen gigs, last appearing in the 1991 film “Sam and Me” and the 1995 pic “The Naked Eye.”

More Scene

  • 'Little America' Team on Creating Immigration

    'Little America' Team on Creating the Immigration Anthology Series for Apple TV Plus

    Respect and authenticity were the key words at the screening of the new Apple TV Plus series “Little America” on Thursday in Los Angeles. Produced by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon and inspired by true stories featured in Epic Magazine, “Little America” is an anthology series focused on immigration. For executive producer Sian Heder, [...]

  • 2018 Sundance Film Festival - Egyptian

    Sundance 2020: The Ultimate Party Guide

    Heading to Park City? From intimate dinners and cocktail parties to late night bashes (that end just in time to head to brunch), there’s plenty to keep this year’s film festival attendees out of the cold between screenings. Here is Variety’s ultimate party guide for Sundance 2020:  Thursday, Jan. 23 “Summertime” Premiere Party Lyft Lounge, 8-11 [...]


    Jenna Andrews Hosts Zhavia Ward, Lennon Stella at Jed Foundation Fundraiser

    Jenna Andrews, the Canadian singer-songwriter, record producer and executive, hosted a pre-Grammy event in partnership with The Jed Foundation at Alice and Olivia in West Hollywood on Tuesday.  The non-profit Jed is dedicated to protecting emotional health and preventing suicide. The foundation has partnered with high schools and colleges in order to “strengthen mental health, [...]

  • Coldplay - Chris Martin

    Grammys 2020: The Ultimate Party Guide

    Let the music play, indeed. The Grammys are just days away and dozens of parties are happening every night this week leading up to the big day, Sunday, Jan. 26. And the partying continues with several bashes following the ceremony. (All events listed are by invitation only unless marked otherwise; this list is being updated [...]

  • Jared Harris arrives at the 26th

    No, Jared Harris is Not Playing Doctor Octopus in Marvel's 'Morbius'

    The first-ever trailer for Marvel and Sony’s next Spider-man spinoff “Morbius” left comic book fans reeling with theories. While the plight of the main character, Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) – a scientist dying of a rare blood disease who accidentally turns himself into a vampire – seemed ripped right out of the comics, the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content