A prolific presence in films and on television for nearly five decades, British actor Peter Cushing, OBE, became an international icon as the star of countless horror films, including "Curse of Frankenstein" (1956), "Horror of Dracula" (1958), "The Hound of the Baskervilles" (1959), "The Mummy" (1959), "The Vampire Lovers" (1970) and "Horror Express" (1973). Frequently cast opposite his longtime friend, Sir Christopher Lee, Cushing gave definitive portrayals of monster maker Victor Frankenstein and vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing for England's Hammer Films throughout the 1960s and 1970s while appearing in numerous other horror films for international companies. The worldwide success of Hammer minted Cushing as a horror star, not unlike Boris Karloff or Vincent Price, though in real life, he was a gentlemanly figure who adored his wife and spent his off-screen hours bird watching. After nearly two decades onscreen, he enjoyed a genuine blockbuster in "Star Wars" (1977), which cast him as the reptilian Grand Moff Tarkin. Illness curtailed his career in the early 1980s, and he would enjoy one final collaboration with Lee as co-narrators of a documentary on Hammer Films before his death in 1994. A fan favorite for his magnetic and always-believable screen presence, his roles for Hammer became the stuff of horror movie legend.