MAN OF MANY FACES
by Christopher Gullo
Michael Ripper 1913-2000
Michael Ripper was a true staple of Hammer films. You could always count on him to be serving a drink at the local pub, offering advice to those in need, or burying a dead body... Yes, Michael Ripper was truly the man of many faces - sometimes his screen time in a film amounted to no more than a few minutes but he managed to make that time special. With a simple gesture or expression Michael would often steal the attention of the viewer in every scene he was in. What is even more amazing is that he has appeared in more Hammer films than any other actor in the company's roster - a grand total of 35 times!
Who could forget Michael Ripper in such memorable Hammer films such as X-The Unknown, Quatermass II, The Revenge of Frankenstein, Camp on Blood Island, The Man Who Could Cheat Death, The Mummy, Brides of Dracula, The Curse of the Werewolf, The Pirates of Blood River, Captain Clegg, The Phantom of the Opera, Devil-Ship Pirates, The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb, Secret of Blood Island, The Reptile, The Plague of the Zombies, The Mummy's Shroud, The Lost Continent, Dracula Has Risen From The Grave, Moon Zero Two, Taste The Blood of Dracula, and Scars of Dracula. Michael also appeared in Amicus films and various other genre films such as one of my favorites - The Creeping Flesh.
I had the good opportunity to meet Mr. Ripper in person at the Midnight Marquee '99 Monster Rally held in Virginia. I was just as excited to meet him as I was Christopher Lee who was also there to promote his autobiography. Michael was set up at a table inside the convention with various photos from his vast career as well as copies of his new biography written by PCA member Derek Pykett. While a recent illness prevented Michael from talking at length about his incredible career, he was very hospitable and said thank you when I complimented him on all his wonderful performances. I will never forget the thrill of being able to have my picture taken with this great man.
When I heard that Michael Ripper had passed away, I was deeply saddened that one of the greats from Hammer Films had left us. We truly miss you Michael Ripper. Thank you for a wonderful career and know that you will never be forgotten.
COPYRIGHT CHRISTOPHER GULLO - 2000
Recommended reading on Mr. Ripper:
'MICHAEL RIPPER UNMASKED' (1999) by Derek Pykett. Midnight Marquee Press.
Myself and Michael Ripper!
Christopher Lee with Michael at the Cinema Store
Photo of Mr. Lee & Mr. Ripper copyright by Greg Rhodes, 2000