Sir Peter Ustinov: "It is our responsibilities, not ourselves, that we should take seriously."
We are named after Sir Peter Ustinov. The truth of his quote, above, could be seen in Sir Peter's life. He was known and loved by millions throughout the world as a distinguished actor, comedian, writer and entertainer. Yet he was also a long serving UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador , a volunteer for UNESCO and President of the World Federalist Movement .
Sir Peter was born in London in 1921. He was truly international, with Russian, French, German, Italian and Ethiopian blood (Haile Selasie was a visitor to his parents home) and spoke several languages, including French, German, Russian, Italian, Greek and Turkish.
He began his acting career on the stage in 1938, and his made his first film in 1941. A renaissance man, he soon branched out into writing, directing and producing. In 1961 he won his first Oscar for Spartacus, winning a second supporting actor Oscar for Topkapi in 1965.
On behalf of UNICEF and UNESCO he travelled the world to publicise their work, and lobbied governments to recognise the rights of children. He believed that economic, democratic and political union would lead to greater freedom and reduce war, and was a strong advocate of European union.
He was knighted in 1990 and become Chancellor of Durham University in 1992. The Graduate Society was renamed Ustinov College in his honour in 2003.
It was with great sadness that the College heard the news of his death, on 28th March 2004. He will be greatly missed.
The University held a memorial service to celebrate Sir Peter's life on 10th November 2004 at Durham Cathedral.