A consummate character player, Tom Bell has had roles on stage, film and TV that have varied from lively English folk to sinister Adolph Eichmann in "Holocaust" (NBC, 1978) to the petty thief whose murder brings down "The Krays" (1990). He dropped out of school when he was 15 to pursue acting and, with the exception of a stint in the armed forces, has had few spells of unemployment. Bell's stage roles read similar to contemporaries such as Sir Ian McKellen and John Wood, including "Bent," "Travesties" and the classics.
Bell made his film debut in Joseph Losey's "The Concrete Jungle/The Criminal" (1960) but his first film impact came with Bryan Forbes' "The L-Shaped Room" (1962). Bell starred as an out-of-work writer who romances a pregnant Leslie Caron. His other film credits include "Payroll/I Promised to Pay" (1961), as a cat burglar in "He Who Rides a Tiger" (1966), "Lock Up Your Daughters" (1969) and "Straight on Till Morning" (1974). Bell subsequently appeared as Emily Lloyd's sleazy lover in "Wish You Were Here" (1987), as a petty thief in "The Krays" (1990), opposite Sir John Gielgud in "Prospero's Books' (1991) and as the head of a family that offers shelter to a troubled young woman in the period drama "Feast of July" (1995).
Bell has been active in British TV from the 1960s, appearing in series and specials, and was seen worldwide as Adolph Eichmann in the miniseries "Holocaust." He appeared in two adaptations of D. H. Lawrence novels shown on PBS in the US: "Sons and Lovers" (1983) and "The Rainbow" (1989). Fans of "Prime Suspect" (PBS, 1992) will recognize Bell as Sergeant Bill Otley, the cop who first rebels against, but later comes to respect Jane Tennison (Helen Mirren). He reprised the role in the second sequel, "Prime Suspect 3" (PBS, 1994).
Cast (Feature Film)
Cinematography (Feature Film)
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Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Film acting debut in Joseph Losey's "The Concrete Jungle/The Criminal"
Breakthrough film performance, Toby in "The L-Shaped Room"
Acted in the comedy "Lock Up Your Daughters!"
Appeared alongside Janet Suzman and Ian McKellen in a British TV production of "Hedda Gabler"
Was featured in "Royal Flash"
US TV debut as Adolph Eichmann in the NBC miniseries "Holocaust"
Co-starred in the British TV productions "Sons and Lovers" and "Reilly, Ace of Spies" (both aired on PBS)
Had supporting role as a bookie who runs a local cinema in "Wish You Were Here"
Created role of Sergeant Bill Otley in "Prime Suspect"; aired in USA on PBS in 1992
Offered a strong turn as a particularly vicious criminal in "The Krays", directed by Peter Medak
Collaborated again with director Peter Medak on "Let Him Have It", a based-on-fact story of a miscarriage of justice in England
Reprised role of Sgt. Otley in "Prime Suspect 3"
Was the patriarch of farming family that takes in a homeless young woman in "Feast of July"
Cast as the father of a servant girl (Rachel Weisz) in "Swept From the Sea"
Was part of the ensemble cast of the TV movie "Tube Tales", an anthology of stories involving the London Underground
Co-starred in the black comedy "The Last Minute" (filmed in 1999)