Charles Fernley Fawcett was a fascinating character whose real life escapades were just as fantastic as the plots of any of the films he appeared in. He worked as an actor from the start of the 50's until the mid-70's, appearing predominantly in Italian films, but also turning up in all sorts of international productions.
He was born on December 2nd 1915 in Waleska, Georgia, USA, a descendent of former US presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. His mother died when he was 6 and, along with his brother and 2 sisters, he went to live with an aunt in Greenville, South Carolina, where he attended Greenville high school and became a star athlete.
Following the break up of an affair with his best friend's mother at the age of 15, Charles travelled to Asia, working his way as a ship's crewman. Returning to the US by 1937 he worked as a wrestler and jazz musician (reportedly getting tips from Louis Armstrong), before travelling by ship to France, where he worked as an artist's model and continued wrestling.
At the outbreak of World War II, following a very brief stint in the Polish army, he joined the French ambulance corps, then became part of the Free French, helping to rescue over 2,000 Jews from Vichy France. This included posing as the husband of various Jewish women who had been former prisoners in concentration camps, helping them to flee France with an American visa. He fled France on a few hours notice after being alerted that the gestapo were coming to arrest him and went on to fly for the British RAF and fight for the French Foreign Legion. This barely scratches the surface of his wartime exploits, which resulted in him being awarded the French Croix de Guerre and the American Eisenhower medal.
From 1949 he began an acting career in films, theatre and radio, initially in a handful of French productions. From 1952 he made his home in Rome and worked predominantly in Italian productions, becoming a prominent figure on the Roman social scene (he was allegedly a lover of Hedy Lamarr during this period). From the late 50's he appeared in films shot in many international locations including the USA, Mexico, Sweden, Britain, Spain, Germany, Greece, Egypt, Brazil and Morocco (in the interview he claims 31 countries). He continued acting until the late 70's. He was frequently cast in the roles of Americans or British in foreign settings.
Concurrent to his acting career he continued to aid the smuggling of refugees from war and disaster zones, helping Hungarians escape following Russian invasion in 1956 and refugees flee the Belgian Congo in 1959, he fought in several wars and co-founded the International Medical corps. Following a spell living in Houston, Texas, in 1979 he was in Afghanistan training soldiers who were fighting the Soviet Union and was responsible for producing films which secured vital American aid.
He was married twice. His first wife, with whom he had a daughter, died in 1956. He married his second wife, April Ducksbury, in 1991, following a 30-year engagement, and moved to live with her in London, where he remained for the rest of his life, concentrating on composing music in his later years.
He died on February 3rd 2008 in London, aged 92. His ashes were scattered in the Seine.
His life has been well documented, the biographical details come from multiple websites and obituaries and are corroborated by a 2-hour-plus interview with Charles found on You Tube.
While the majority of his known roles were small credited supporting parts, he also has a fair number of uncredited bit parts. I have found several previously undocumented appearances and his Wikipedia page claims he appeared in over 100 films (in the interview he says around 90), so I am certain there must be more roles to be found.
- Hans le marin (credited) .... Ship's captain
- Casimir (credited) .... Mr. Brown
- Le grand rendez-vous (poster credit) .... Ambassador (role unconfirmed)
- Souvenirs perdus (uncredited) .... The American
- Adventures of Captain Fabian (credited) .... Defence attorney
- Clandestino a Trieste (credited as Charles Fowcett) .... President of the tribunal
- Ils étaient cinq (credited) .... American Military Police officer
- Tre storie proibite (uncredited) .... Mottaroni
- When in Rome (credited) .... Mr. Cates
- Fermi tutti... arrivo io! (credited) .... Mr. Brown
- Frine, cortigiana d'Oriente (uncredited) .... King Arconte
- I sette dell'orsa maggiore (uncredited) .... Role?
- La cieca di Sorrento (credited as Carlo Fazzetti) .... Marchese Giuliano di Rionero
- Le infedeli (credited as Charles Fawcet) .... Harry Rodgers
- Stazione Termini (uncredited) .... Man sending a telegram
- Appassionatamente (credited) .... Count D'Alberti
- Il paese dei campanelli (poster credit) .... The Admiral
- Mizar (credited) .... Major Crobb
- Pietà per chi cade (uncredited) .... Oliver
- Un americano a Roma (credited as Charles Fawcet) .... Mr. Brooks
- Addio, Napoli! (credited) .... Charles Burton
- Andrea Chenier (credited) .... Man on the hunt
- Il falco d'oro (credited) .... Ubaldo della Torre
- Paris precinct (TV series, season 1, episode 12: A Woman Scorned) (credited?) .... Cafe owner
- Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion (TV series, season 2, episode 11: Cuffy's Good Deed) (credited) .... The Doctor
- Incatenata dal destino (poster credit) .... John Carrington (role unconfirmed)
- War and Peace (uncredited) .... Russian captain
- Boy on a Dolphin (uncredited) .... William B. Baldwin
- Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion (TV series, season 2, episode 21: Dr. Legionaire) (credited) .... Shargue
- I vampiri (credited) .... Mr. Robert
- La ragazza del palio (credited) .... Game show host
- El último rebelde (poster credit) .... Captain Harry Love (role unconfirmed)
- La violetera (credited) .... The American
- Lonelyhearts (credited) .... Smitty
- The Rough Riders (TV series, season 1, episode 7: Blood Feud) (credited) .... Hays Maddox
- Face of Fire (credited) .... Barber shop customer
- La duchessa di Santa Lucia (poster credit) .... Archibald's father (role unconfirmed)
- Mantelli e spade insanguinate (poster credit) .... Duke of Clermont (role unconfirmed)
- Poveri milionari (uncredited) .... Actor in film at the drive-in
- Il mattatore (uncredited) .... Man Elena hitches a ride from
- Salambò (credited) .... Annone
- Come September (uncredited) .... Warren
- L'ammutinamento (uncredited) .... Captain of the British ship
- Copacabana Palace (credited as Charly Fawcett) .... Mr. Morton
- It happened in Athens (credited) .... Ambassador Cyrus T. Gaylord
- Maciste all'inferno (credited) .... Doctor
- The 300 Spartans (credited) .... Megistias
- Captain Sindbad (credited) .... Not found
- Giacobbe ed Esau (poster credit) .... Role?
- Io Semiramide (credited) .... High priest
- Zorro e i tre moschettieri (credited as Charles Fawcet) .... Priest
- I raggi mortali del Dr. Mabuse (credited as Charly Fawcett) .... Commander Addams
- L'intrigo (credited) .... Martin Thompson
- La Battaglia di Forte Apache (credited) .... General Taylor
- Panic Button (credited) .... Gino
- Durchs wilde Kurdistan (credited) .... Sheik Kadir Bey
- Im Reich des silbernen Löwen (credited) .... Sheik Kadir Bey
- La capanna dello zio Tom (credited as Charley Fawcett) .... Mr. Shelby
- Savage Pampas (credited) .... Private El Gato
- La casa de las mil muñecas (uncredited) .... Monsieur Luke
- Muori lentamente... te la godi di più (credited) .... General Stikker
- Per 50.000 maledetti dollari (credited as Charles Faweet) .... Professor Peers
- It Takes a Thief (TV series) - season 3, episode 9: "The King of Thieves" (uncredited) .... Journalist
- La muchacha del Nilo (credited) .... Marco Alfieri
- Kalimán, el hombre increíble (credited) .... Professor Morgan
- Per le antiche scale (credited) .... Doctor Sfamini
- La fine dell'innocenza (credited as Charles Fawcet) .... Michael
- Un second souffle (credited as Charlie Fawcett) .... Dental patient
- The Sleepwalkers (1959) unreleased (and maybe uncompleted) feature film
- Video interview with Bernice Krantz (1996)
There are still a number of titles I have not yet been able to find in which Charles may appear, so if you have images of him in any of these you know what to do.
- La ville et ses chansons (1949) 16 minute short film, CITWF.com
- L'inconnue de Montréal (1950) IMDb
- Ha da venì... don Calogero (1952) ANICA as Don Andrea
- La p... respectueuse (1952) IMDb
- Orient Express (1952) TV series, season 1, episode 13: "The 13th Spy", IMDb as Mr. Thompson
- Egypt by Three (1953) IMDb as American doctor
- L'incantevole nemica (1953) ANICA
- Le due orfanelle (1954) IMDb
- Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion (1955) TV series, season 1, episode 11: "The Golden Loop", IMDb as Denner
- Conrad Nagel Theatre (1955) TV series, season 1, episode 19: "The Other Don Juan", IMDb as The Tourist
- Mai ti scorderò (1956) ANICA as Neri
- Band of Angels (1957) seen in a You Tube tribute, however IMDb credits William Fawcett rather than Charles, so his credit here could be incorrect
- El aventuero (1957) may be the unknown film where he appears opposite Dennis O'Keefe
- Civitas Dei (1958) IMDb
- Le canaglie (1960) ANICA
- Heaven on Earth (1960) IMDb as Henry Brent
- Caccia ai violenti (1968) IMDb
- Cowboy in Africa (1968) TV series, season 1, episode 23: "Work of Art", IMDb as Duncan
- Unknown version of The Three Musketeers, as Athos - from interview (possibly Les mousquetaires du roi (1951)?)
Images and credit shots are also needed for the following "poster credit" titles
- Le grand rendez-vous (1950)
- Il paese dei campanelli (1954)
- Incatenata dal destino (1956)
- El último rebelde (1958)
- La duchessa di Santa Lucia (1959)
- Mantelli e spade insanguinate (1959)
- Giacobbe ed Esau (1963)
As always seems to be the case there are also a few titles where Charles is credited on the internet, but where I have been unable to find him.
- Ai margini della metropoli (1953) IMDb with no role. Not found.
- Barabba (1961) IMDb as Old man warning Rachel. I've looked closely at this one and I can't see that Charles could be any of the characters who could fit this description.
- The Massacre of Glencoe (1972) Does not appear. Credited on IMDb as playing John MacDonald, but he is not credited and it is another actor playing this role.