Solomon Joel Cohen was born on 8 May 1913 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
During the Second World War, he served as a lieutenant in an entertainment unit of the South African Army, and subsequently took up acting as a career. He moved to the United Kingdom in December 1946, financed by his service gratuity. Initially, he worked in repertory before making his first film appearance in 1947. His first Hammer role was as Carlo in The Lady Craved Excitement (1950)
He suffered a second and fatal heart attack (his first was 9 years earlier) on stage in Sunderland on April 26 1976 – he died in the ambulance before reaching hospital.