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Glover attended Bristol Grammar School in Bristol, England, where he was in the same class as actors Timothy West and "Darth Vader" actor David Prowse, and also Alleyn's School in Dulwich. Glover trained at the National Youth Theatre and performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company. In the early 1950s, he appeared in several shows at Unity Theatre, London. During the 1960s and 1970s, Glover frequently appeared in British television shows, including The Avengers, Doctor Who, The Saint and Blake's 7.

Julian Glover also appeared in 1967's Quatermass and the Pit, a Hammer Films adaptation of Nigel Kneale's 1950s BBC television original, in which he portrayed Quatermass' nemesis, Colonel Breen, a military man, initially sceptical of the ancient origin of an archaeologically excavated extraterrestrial spacecraft, who is later ironically in thrall to the murderous energy released from the craft. In 1979, he appeared as the villain, Scaroth, in the Doctor Who serial, City of Death, one of the most acclaimed and popular episodes of the series. He later recorded DVD commentaries for recently rediscovered The Crusade episode "The Wheel of Fortune" (from the Lost in Time (Doctor Who) DVD set) and City of Death.

Glover also appeared opposite Roger Moore in the episode of The Saint titled "Invitation to Danger".

He made some of his most notable appearances during the 1980s as the Imperial General Maximilian Veers in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), the ruthless Greek villain Aris Kristatos in the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only (1981), and the deceptive American Nazi Walter Donovan in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). During the 1980s, he played the leading role in the BBC television drama series, By the Sword Divided.

He voiced the giant spider Aragog in the 2002 film version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Glover has been associated with the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf since the 1980s, delivering various forms of staged interpretation. Taking the role of an Anglo-Saxon gleeman or traveller poet he delivers an abridged version of the tale whilst stood around a mead hall hearth. This powerful 11th century Old English text, set in the dark age Germanic world of the Geats, examines Anglo-Saxon concepts of honour and comitatus. The performance is interspersed with Glover rendering selected passages in the original Old English. This adaptation has been shown in documentaries on both the English Language and Anglo-Saxon England. Most recently, it was shown in Michael Wood's documentary 'Beowulf', broadcast during the


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