Flash Gordon is a 1980's action film starring Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Topol, Max von Sydow, Timothy Dalton, Brian Blessed, and Ornella Muti. The film is notable for its soundtrack composed, performed and produced by the rock band Queen, with the orchestral sections by Howard Blake.
Over the last 35 years, the film has become somewhat of a cult classic. So let's take a look at the cast now and then, and see what they have been up to since the film's release. Don't forget to sound off in the comments section below.
Sam J. Jones - Flash Gordon
Samuel Gerald "Sam J." Jones was born in Chicago, Illinois, on August 12, 1954. Before he began his movie career, Jones appeared as a nude centerfold for Playgirl magazine, under the name Andrew Cooper III.
Jones made his debut film appearance in the 1979 romantic comedy film, 10. By appearing in the film, Jones achieved some notoriety, and because of this, he was eventually chosen above Kurt Russell and Arnold Schwarzenegger to play the role of Flash Gordon in the 1980 film. Unfortunately for fans of the film, Jones and the producers had a disagreement, which resulted in the planned trilogy being scrapped.
Following the success of the movie, Jones has appeared in many films and TV series, including The A-Team (1983–1987), Baywatch (1989–2001), Diagnosis Murder (1993–2002) and Stargate SG-1 (1997–2007). But fans may recognize him more for his cameos in hit comedy Ted (2012) and its 2015 sequel.
Melody Anderson - Dale Arden
Melody Anderson was born on December 3, 1955 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Before her breakthrough role as Flash Gordon's girlfriend, Dale Arden, she starred in a handful of TV series' including Logan's Run (1977–1978) and Battlestar Galactica (1978–1979).
After the film was released, she went on to star in over 30 other movies and TV series'. She retired from acting after starring in a 1995 episode of the TV series Burke's Law (1994–1995) entitled "Who Killed the World's Greatest Chef?". She now works as a social worker and public speaker, specializing in the impact of addiction on families.
Max von Sydow - Emperor Ming the Merciless
Carl Adolf "Max" von Sydow was born on April 10, 1929 in Lund, Sweden. He began his acting career in the 1949 dram Only a Mother.
In 1973 he starred as Father Merrin in The Exorcist, reprising his role in the sequel Exorcist II: The Heretic four years later in 1977.
Major successes came later in life, especially in the 1987 drama Pelle the Conqueror and 2011 adventure Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. Both of these roles earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, respectively.
His recent work has seen him appear in Shutter Island (2010), Robin Hood (2010) and the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015).
Mariangela Melato - General Kala
Mariangela Melato was born on September 19, 1941 in Milan, Lombardy, Italy. She had starred in over thirty movies and TV series before her role in Flash Gordon.
In the 1970's she was a major star, receiving high praise and Italian Golden Globe success in Mimì metallurgico ferito nell'onore (1972), Attenti al buffone (1975) and Todo modo (1976).
Later in her career, she returned back to her native country, where she went on to star in numerous comedies and dramas including Summer Night (1986). Over time, she gradually appeared in fewer films, as she opted to perform in more roles in the theater, such as the lead in The Miracle Worker.
On January 11, 2013, at the age of 71, Melato died from pancreatic cancer in Rome, Lazio, Italy.
Peter Wyngarde - General Klytus
Peter Paul Wyngarde was born in Marseille, Southern France. The actor is best known for starring in many TV series, in fact he has only starred in six other films other than Flash Gordon, they are: Alexander the Great (1956), The Siege of Sidney Street (1960), The Innocents (1961), Night of the Eagle (1962), Himmel, Scheich und Wolkenbruch (1979) and Tank Malling (1989).
His character in Flash Garden, General Klytus, wears a mask throughout the film, which may have been a good part for the actor at the time.
In 1975, not only was he was arrested, but he was also convicted and fined £75 for an act of "gross indecency" in the toilets of Gloucester Bus Station. Prior to this, he was also arrested and cautioned for similar activities in the toilets at Kennedy Gardens in Birmingham the previous year. Although this undeniably affected his image, Wyngarde's homosexuality was already well known in acting circles, where he was known by the nickname of "Petunia Winegum." The fallout from these crimes resulted in the actor losing his celebrity status, and as a result, he worked in Austria, acting and directing at the English Theatre in Vienna, and also in South Africa and Germany. He managed to land the role of General Klytus, but although his face was hidden behind a mask for the part, his distinctive voice is clearly recognizable.
Chaim Topol - Dr. Hans Zarkov
Chaim Topol (often billed simply as Topol), was born on September 9, 1935 in Tel Aviv, Palestine, Israel. He is arguably best known for his Oscar-nominated performance (Best Actor in a Leading Role) in Fiddler on the Roof (1971). The multi-award winning actor had also starred in Sallah Shabati (1964), and Follow Me! (1972) before appearing in Flash Gordon.
In 1981, he starred alongside Roger Moore in the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only. 1998 saw his last film credits, starring in both Left Luggage and the short film Time Elevator.
Currently, Topol serves as chairman of the board of the Jordan River Village. This camp was set up to serve children from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and the Middle East with serious and life-threatening diseases at no cost to their families.
Brian Blessed - Prince Vultan
British actor Brian Blessed was born on October 9, 1936 in Mexborough, Yorkshire, England, UK.
Blessed had starred in over fifty films and TV series before appearing in Flash Gordon. His TV credits include the mini-series The Three Musketeers (1966-1967), The Further Adventures of the Musketeers (1967), The Avengers (1961–1969) and I, Claudius (1976).
In 1991 he starred in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and in 1999 he provided the Boss Nass in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace.
On 19 January 2015, Blessed was performing in a production of King Lear with the Guildford Shakespeare Company when he suddenly collapsed. He promptly received medical attention from a doctor who was fortunate to be in the audience at the time. Amazingly, only 20 minutes later, Blessed returned to the stage and completed the play.
Ornella Muti - Princess Aura
Francesca Romana Rivelli was born on March 9, 1955 in Rome, Lazio, Italy. The actress has worked primarily in Italian films, starring in around 25 films, before starring in Flash Gordon. In fact, this role was her debut acting role in an English-spoken film.
Muti has over 100 acting credits to her name, with her next role being the 2015 short fantasy film Checkmate, which is currently in post-production.
In 2015, she found herself in trouble when she was sentenced to eight months in prison or pay a fine of 30,000 euros. The charge against her related to her apparently faking a medical certificate and skipping a play in which she was performing in 2010. Instead she decided to have dinner with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and several celebrities at a charity event held in St Petersburg, Russia.
Timothy Dalton - Prince Barin
Timothy Peter Dalton was born on March 21, 1946. From 1971–1986 he was married to actress Vanessa Redgrave (Mission: Impossible 1996 and Julia 1977, for which she won a best supporting actress Oscar).
He was already a well-known actor before the film, having appeared in Wuthering Heights (1970), The Executioner (1975) and Agatha (1979).
Dalton's most famous roles saw him being cast as James Bond in The Living Daylights (1987) and Licence to Kill (1989). At the time, Dalton was contracted for three Bond films, but due to legal issues and his contract expiring, he announcement in 1994 that he would not be returning to play James Bond.
Arguably, his most famous post-Flash/Bond roles were in the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost comedy Hot Fuzz (2007) and 2010's Toy Story 3, where he voiced the character of Mr. Pricklepants.