The following memory is from Pleasence admirer Jean MacKay Jackson, who was fortunate enough to have met Donald Pleasence during the 1961 Broadway production of Harold Pinter's THE CARETAKER. This memory originally debuted on the DONALD PLEASENCE MESSAGE BOARD, but I have moved it here, so it can be read and appreciated for all time. Very special thanks to Jean MacKay Jackson for taking time to pay tribute to the "Man with the Hypnotic Eye."
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Donald Pleasence in New York City in the early 1960s. My mother had dragged me, as a young teen, to see Pinter's "The Caretaker," which I found to be off-putting and repugnant. After the show, we lurked around until Mr. Pleasence emerged through a grubby side door of the theater. I told him that I had not understood nor enjoyed the play, but that I thought his performance was stunning. He smiled gently and said he agreed with me on all counts! "But," he said, "A man must eat." (As an adult, I still think that Pinter is, along with Mamet, one of the most overrated playwrights of all time.) Of all the actors I have met while lurking in alleyways outside theaters, the only ones who treated me graciously and seemed to care about my opinion of their performances were Donald Pleasence, Dame Judith Anderson (also now deceased) and Dudley Moore (thankfully still among the living). Donald Pleasence was more than just a great actor. He was a gentleman. We shall not see his like again.