Guest Actor Biography
Page 9 of 127


David Bauer

Bishop, The Little Wonders
Ivanoff, The Girl from Auntie

by Pete Stampede

David Bauer's casting as a Russian in "The Girl From Auntie" was doubly ironic, as in real life he was not only American (born in Chicago in 1917), but was forced to leave his homeland due to Senator McCarthy's hysterical witch hunts of the 1950's. Settling in Britain, Bauer became the ideal guest star for Lew Grade's ITC series, with their unashamed bias towards transatlantic sales, although playing corrupt attorneys, Big Businessman and so on, his roles were strictly reflecting British preconceptions of what Americans are like. After all, with his distinctive profile and determined expression, he looked rather like a Bald Eagle. He notched up four episodes of The Saint, "The Element of Doubt" (1962), "Judith" (1963), with a young Julie Christie, "Iris" (1963) and "Island of Chance" (1967), was a crook hiding out in Scotland in The Baron, "The Man Outside" (1966), and a visiting tycoon in Gideon's Way, "The Millionaire's Daughter" (1965), also guest-starring Donald Sutherland. He supplied the post-opening titles narration, slightly different in each episode, for The Champions (1968), unfortunately now as corny as the series itself ("Champions of law, order and justice!"), also appearing in "The Experiment". In The Prisoner, "Living In Harmony" (1968), one of the most unique episodes of an already unique series, he was the Judge who attempts to persuade Number Six to become sheriff of the town of Harmony; at the end, the town is revealed to be the Village, and the Judge is the latest Number Two. The western pastiche was well handled (although scriptwriter Ian Rakoff's original premise was heavily rewritten by David Tomblin); however, in America itself, the episode was banned due to the implied comment on Vietnam, which must have given Bauer an unpleasant feeling of déjà vu. (For the record, Peter Wyngarde, Patrick Cargill, Clifford Evans and Bauer all played Number Two as well as appearing in The Avengers.)

In one of the funniest episodes of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), "A Disturbing Case" (1969), Bauer hid behind a silly German accent as a villainous psychiatrist; he also dubbed Kenneth Cope's voice in the scenes where Hopkirk manipulates a sleep-walking Randall into catching the bad guys. Jason King, "Wanna Buy a Television Series?" (1971) had Bauer as a TV executive whom King (Peter Wyngarde) tries to pitch an action series to, narrating one of his adventures as an example; after Bauer's character constantly interrupts with criticisms and suggestions for making the exploits more believable, the episode ends with Wyngarde flouncing off declaring that he's going to take the series to another network. If this was made today, it might be called ironic or post-modern... at the time, it probably just seemed a bit desperate. Madigan, "The London Beat" (NBC/Universal, 1972) saw Richard Widmark teaming up with phlegmatic bobby George Cole, to take on American crime czar Bauer; at least this American show made in Britain afforded equal-opportunity stereotyping, with endless jibes about Cole's slowness and not carrying a gun countered by American gangsters straight out of the 1920s, all wearing striped suits and saying "check" when handing weapons round. Bauer's surprisingly few films included The Spy Who Came In from the Cold (1965) and Patton (1970). Unbilled, he was a US delegate shouting at his Russian opposite number, over the kidnapped astronauts, in the pre-credits sequence of You Only Live Twice (1967): later that series, he managed to get billing as a Las Vegas undertaker in Diamonds Are Forever (1971). Like fellow "Little Wonders" guest Harry Landis, he did some directing for Unity Theatre, in his case a 1966 revival of Inherit the Wind. He died in 1973.

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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