Although mention of his name may not turn heads in the States, Brian Blessed's booming, authoritative voice will. A brute actor from Mexborough, Yorkshire, with the stature to back his vocal chords, Blessed's unique ability to inject his characters with a quick wit and cunning guile helped him thrive in both film and television since his small-screen debut in 1962. A lifelong adventurer who spent his childhood days enthralled by the wonders of BBC radio's The Lost World, Blessed was frequently tardy for classes due to his unyielding desire to learn the secrets of the farthest corners of the world. He endeared himself to British audiences with his role as PC "Fancy" Smith in the popular BBC crime series Z Cars, and followed that up a few years later as Porthos in the 1966 U.K. miniseries The Three Musketeers. Blessed progressed into feature films with a role in The Christmas Tree that same year, and though he frequently returned to television for roles in such hits as The Avengers and Doctor Who, impressive performances in The Trojan Women (1971) and Man of La Mancha (1972) showed his diversity and effectiveness on the big screen, as well. In 1976 alone, Blessed appeared in no less than six made-for-TV efforts, and, by the '80s, he began to attract attention overseas. Perhaps the actor's most widely seen performance was that of the heroic Prince Vultan in Mike Hodges' 1980 comic-book, sci-fi adventure Flash Gordon, and a subsequent performance as King Richard IV in the hit 1983 BBC comedy Black Adder reinforced his status in Britain. Blessed next stole the show as Long John Silver in the 1985 miniseries Return to Treasure Island. His Shakespearean skills took center stage for Kenneth Branagh's Henry V (1989), Much Ado About Nothing (1993), and Hamlet (1996), and, in 1999, Blessed directed himself in a U.K. version of King Lear. That same year, he gained even more international exposure when he essayed a small role in Star Wars: Episode 1 -- The Phantom Menace and provided vocal work for Disney's Tarzan. As video-game producers began courting actors to provide vocal work for their interactive adventures, they tapped Blessed to appear in such titles as Kingdom Hearts and Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior. After taking the lead in the 2003 horror film Devil's Harvest, Blessed once again traveled back in time for a role in Oliver Stone's Alexander (2004).