Star Wars memorabilia which belonged to Grand Moff Tarkin actor Peter Cushing including a rare script and the slippers he had to wear on set are going to auction
- Script is from Star Wars, Episode IV – A New Hope, which was released in 1977
- Also in the archive are contracts, photographs, props and personal letters
A rare Star Wars script that belonged to Peter Cushing has been discovered in a loft as part of a remarkable archive of the late actor’s move memorabilia.
The collection – valued at tens of thousands of pounds – spans the British star’s 60-year silver screen career.
It includes scripts, contracts, photographs, props and personal letters he exchanged with other movie stars – including Sir Alec Guinness, who appeared alongside him in Star Wars.
A pair of slippers Cushing had to wear out of view of the camera while filming scenes for Star Wars because the leather boots supplied to him were too tight for his size 12 feet, are also in the sale. They are tipped to sell for £20,000.
The forthcoming auction is attracting worldwide interest, mainly due to the ‘uber-rare’ Star Wars items in it.
The most desirable item is likely to be part of Mr Cushing’s original script for the 1977 blockbuster movie Start Wars, Episode IV – A New Hope., where the actor played the Death Star supremo Grand Moff Tarkin.
It is virtually unheard of for original Star Wars scripts given to cast members to come on the open market so the nine pages now available are set to be highly fought over.
A rare Star Wars script that belonged to Peter Cushing has been discovered in a loft as part of a remarkable archive of the late actor’s move memorabilia. The actor played the Death Star supremo Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars, Episode IV – A New Hope in 1977
The most desirable item is likely to be part of Mr Cushing’s original script for the 1977 blockbuster movie Start Wars, Episode IV – A New Hope
Cushing and his beloved wife Helen are seen with his models. She died in 1971
Cushing scribbled near-ineligible notes and drawings on the back of some of the pages which do not appear to relate to Star Wars.
There is also a fascinating letter sent to him by the film’s producer, Gary Kurtz, on behalf of George Lucas.
The letter is on notepaper featuring a very early Star Wars logo with a figure wielding a light sabre.
It is dated December 1977, six months after the film was released to a huge reception.
In it Kurtz thanks Cushing for his ‘outstanding contribution’ towards the movie before revealing they are giving him a $6,000 bonus (£25,000 today) for his ‘dedication and hard work’ in helping to make it a success.
At the time of filming, Cushing and Sir Alec Guinness were the most experienced and most famous members of the cast and were paid much more than Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill who were much less well known.
The letter is expected to sell for £5,000.
Production notes from 20th Century Fox about filming locations for Star Wars and explaining its reasons for choosing Tunisia is estimated at £300.
The collection – valued at tens of thousands of pounds – spans the British star’s 60-year silver screen career. Above: A picture of Cushing in Paris that features in the archive
It is virtually unheard of for original Star Wars scripts given to cast members to come on the open market so the nine pages now available are set to be highly fought over. Above: A page from a scene featuring C-3PO and Uncle Owen in A New Hope
A scene featuring Han Solo and Jabba the Hutt in A New Hope. It is virtually unheard of for original Star Wars scripts given to cast members to come on the open market so the nine pages now available are set to be highly fought over
The pages for sale from Cushing’s very rare Star Wars script
Of the numerous letters from fellow actors, one that stands out is a thank you note from Sir Alec Guinness dated May 16, 1973.
Responding to a letter Cushing had sent to him praising him for his latest film ‘Hitler: The Last Ten Days’, Guinness wrote: ‘I was very touched that you should have written about my Hitler. It gave me comfort and relaxation in what has been an extremely fraught week.’
The Bridge on the River Kwai star then invited Cushing to see him appear in the Alan Bennett play Habeas Corpus he was appearing in at the time.
Guinness wrote: ‘Should you ever feel up to the frivolity of Habeas Corpus do let me know and I will arrange tickets for you and you could come round for a drink afterwards.’
A typed letter on early Star Wars headed paper, dated December 1977 from producer Gary Kurtz, thanking Cushing for his ‘outstanding contribution to the production of Star Wars’ and giving a $6,000 bonus ‘for your dedication, perseverance, creativity and hard work’
Peter Cushing’s tan suede slip-on slippers and a Star Wars action figure depicting him
Peter Cushing with his miniatures in the 1940s. He had a lifelong love of models and amassed more than 5,000 individual ones
A signed photograph of Peter Cushing in later life with a cat on his lap
This picture of Peter Cushing running through water at the beach is also in the archive
A photograph of a young Peter wearing plus fours. Cushing died in 1994, aged 81, from prostate cancer
These pictures also feature in the archive. Bottom right: Cushing with his wife Helen
Publicity shots of Cushing at the seaside from 1966. The star was already a household name
Photographs of Peter Cushing’s miniatures from the 1940s. The star had a great love for the models
As well as Star Wars, Cushing also famously appeared as Sherlock Holmes and in the Hammer House of Horror films, in particular as Baron Frankenstein and Dracula’s nemesis, Dr Van Helsing.
His contract for the 1969 film ‘Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed’ is also in the sale.
It reveals that he was paid £8,000 for six weeks work plus £20 a week travelling expenses. The document is valued at £200.
There are hundreds of black and white photos of Cushing in character as well as more informal images of him relaxing at is home in Whitsable, Kent, with his family.
He was a talented artist and the auction also contains several watercolour paintings by him of local landscapes, in particular one titled ‘View of the Golf Links, Whitstable, from my studio window (before housing development hid it)’.
One of the most poignant items is a pocket notebook on which he scribbled some deep and meaningful thoughts after the death of his beloved wife Helen in 1971.
A clearly devastated Cushing wrote: ‘My darling Helen, I know we will be together again – life begins at death and then it is eternal. There are so many things I wish I had said and done.’
After Helen’s death Cushing went on to live with his friend and assistant of 35 years, Joyce Broughton, and her family.
Cushing died in 1994, aged 81, from prostate cancer and left the archive with Ms Broughton.
She has since passed away and now her children – who knew Cushing as ‘Uncle Peter’ – are selling the 400-lot archive at Canterbury Auction Galleries.
Ms Broughton’s daughter, Alex, said: ‘Our “Uncle” Peter was a significant figure in all our lives.
‘My late mother’s estate contained a large collection of Peter’s paintings and film memorabilia and correspondence – some of which we did not know existed.
‘We think this is a great and rare opportunity for Peter’s large domestic and international fan base to gain some unique insight into his wider career and personal life.’
This document about Star Wars filming locations in Tunisia is also in the archive
‘Stars in my Eyes’ – a five page typed essay by Peter Cushing from 1993
Dave Parker, managing director of Canterbury Auction Galleries, said: ‘Peter Cushing was the most wonderful and most fantastic actor and that comes across in this archive.
‘He was a method actor and whatever role he was playing, he made it his.
‘The Star Wars items are really interesting and uber rare.
‘Where have you ever seen a Star Wars script from one of the main characters come up before?
‘We have no idea how much it will make but we have had worldwide interest in it.
‘The vendors are selling it now because it has been sitting in their loft in boxes for years and they think it should go to someone who is going to cherish it.’
The sale takes place on October 1.
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