For four decades Philip Stone, who has died aged 79, was a familiar face in British films, television, and theatre, appearing in everything from Shakespeare to the Carry On films. His television career stretched from the first episode of The Avengers to Yes, Minister and A Touch of Frost, and on the big screen he worked with such illustrious names as Steven Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick.

Kubrick took a liking to Stone when he saw him in the David Storey play, The Contractor, and cast him in three films, beginning with A Clockwork Orange (1971), in which he played Malcolm McDowell's father. It was followed by the period drama, Barry Lyndon (1975), and, most memorably, the horror classic The Shining (1980).

With that lofty bald pate, Stone could play distinguished, comic, or downright spooky, a quality Kubrick fully exploited in The Shining. Stone was Grady, Jack Nicholson's character's predecessor as winter caretaker of the isolated Overlook Hotel.

Grady has murdered his wife and daughters before the film begins, but mysteriously reappears in the supposedly

deserted hotel, serving drinks at a party, encouraging the increasingly deranged Nicholson to take action to ''correct'' his wife and ''naughty'' son, prompting his murderous rampage with an axe.

What is most chilling about their lengthy dialogue is Grady's composure, with Stone's underplaying an effective counterpoint to Nicholson's tour-de-force, five-star nutcase.

He was born in Kirkstall, Leeds, in 1924. His father was a headmaster, though the family took a keen interest in music and drama and had an amateur concert party act called the Musical Stones (not to be confused with the other, later musical group that also bore the name Stones).

Stone worked as an office junior at an engineering company and attended Leeds College of Music and Drama part-time. Theatrical ambitions were put on hold while serving in the RAF during the Second World War and he made his West End debut in 1947. But again his ambitions were thwarted when he contracted tuberculosis.

He was incapacitated for several years and when he recovered, minus half a lung, it looked like his acting career was over. He was advised against returning to the theatre and accepted a post at the engineering company where he had been employed before.

However, Stone found himself drawn into amateur theatre in Leeds, where he met his wife, Margaret Pickard, and a ''hypnotic'' young actor called Peter O'Toole. After an absence of a decade, Stone returned to the professional stage in 1958, reluctantly abandoning his toupee at the suggestion of one of his directors.

With a distinctive new look, and a forehead that seemed to go on forever, he found regular work not just in theatre, but also in television, appearing in The Avengers in 1961. He had a tiny role in the James Bond film Thunderball (1965), but it was the cold-blooded spymaster in The Rat Catchers (1966-67), a series designed to present a much grittier picture of spying, who made him instantly recognisable.

Throughout his career Stone juggled theatre, television, and film, appearing in Carry On Loving (1970), Carry On at Your Convenience (1971), O Lucky Man! (1973), Flash Gordon (1980), and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984).

He appeared at the Royal Court and National Theatre, wrote and performed two one-man shows, and won glowing reviews for his performance in a 1973 production of An Inspector Calls at London's Mermaid Theatre, despite clashing with writer JB

Priestley. He thought Stone's bald head a distraction and wanted him to wear a toupee. Stone considered it a ''theatrical appendage'' and refused.

Priestley subsequently congratulated him on his performance, and privately told the director: ''Stubborn bugger that Stone - good actor, but a stubborn bugger.''

His wife died in 1984. They are survived by two children.

Philip Stone, actor; born April 14, 1924, died June 15, 2003.