Robin Sachs, the actor, who has died aged 61, appeared as “an Etonian” in the ITV series Brideshead Revisited in 1981 but went on to greater things in America, taking on the role of Ethan Rayne in Joss Whedon’s cult television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, appearing in Babylon 5 and providing voices for SpongeBob SquarePants and for Zaeed Massani in the sci-fi video games Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect
Sachs was best known in the role of Ethan Rayne, and built up a substantial fan base for his portrayal of an apparently benevolent owner of a costume shop who, in reality, is a master of the black arts, a skilled sorcerer, “chaos” magician and arch-enemy of Giles (played by Anthony Head) and the Scooby Gang.
Robin Sachs was born in London on February 5 1951, the son of the actors Leonard Sachs (famous as the chairman of The Good Old Days) and Eleanor Summerfield. After leaving school he studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, then did the rounds of the provincial repertory circuit before graduating to the West End, where he had small parts in Pirandello’s Henry IV, with Rex Harrison; Pinero’s Gay Lord Quex, with Judi Dench, directed by Sir John Gielgud; Pericles, with Derek Jacobi; and The Astronomer’s Garden by Kevin Hood.
He appeared in numerous British television dramas, including Upstairs Downstairs, Rumpole of the Bailey, Quiller and Gentlemen and Players; he was also the secret agent Hugh Roskill in the 1983 television series Chessgame. His first film role was as a vampire twin in Hammer’s Vampire Circus (1972). He played Thomas Culpepper, Catherine Howard’s lover in Henry VIII and his Six Wives (1972), and featured in The Disappearance (1977) alongside Donald Sutherland.
In the early 1990s he moved to Los Angeles after being invited to appear as a guest-star on the television series Jake and the Fatman and to take over the role of Adam Carrington in the miniseries Dynasty Reunion.
Sachs remained in the United States, guest starring in many television series. His later film credits include roles in Spielberg’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) and Soderbergh’s remake of Ocean’s Eleven (2001). He worked on several sci-fi shows, including Star Trek and Torchwood, and in 1999 appeared disguised under layers of heavy make-up as the evil General Sarris in the satirical comedy Galaxy Quest, co-starring Sigourney Weaver . In 2002 he was Peter Brazier, CEO of Nexexcon in Megalodon.
Although Sachs made his last appearance on Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 2000, he remained popular with Buffy fans, making regular appearances at Buffy conventions around the world.
He was twice married, first to the Welsh actress Siân Phillips, and secondly to the American actress Casey Defranco. Both marriages were dissolved.
Robin Sachs, born February 5 1951, died February 1 2013