Austin Stoker is a Trinidad-born actor who starred in a number of 'blaxploitation' films during the 1970's. He played the role of Bruce McDonald in Battle for the Planet of the Apes, but was apparently a last-minute replacement for another actor who had been due to play the part. Stoker met producer Arthur P. Jacobs & director J. Lee Thompson on 31 December 1972. "Mr. Thompson said they were pleased with my reading, but they were also taking into consideration my resemblance, they claimed, to Hari Rhodes [who had played MacDonald in 'Conquest of the Planet of the Apes'], both in features and voice quality. And that's how I became MacDonald." He was on set on 2 January 1973. "I thought to myself, I've always known acting is a volatile profession, but this is ridiculous. However, I'd studied hard and worked hard and knew I was as well prepared as I'd ever be. Fortunately we started with physical sequences and didn't get into the dramatics until some time later." Stoker recalled one of Paul Williams' practical jokes during the filming of the Council scenes: "Thompson... called action... Our three orangs up on the ledge sprang to their feet and instantly broke into a Supremes number - with 'Virgil' as Diana Ross. No one expected it, everyone fell about. I didn't think Mr. Thompson had it in him to laugh that hard."
Austin Stoker also voiced the character of Jeff Allen on the Return to the Planet of the Apes animated television series in 1975, making him the only actor to appear in the film series and the animated series, but probably his most famous role was in John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13 (1976).
- at the
- 'Simian Scrolls #7' at Hunter's Planet of the Apes Archive
- 'Battle for the Planet of the Apes' promotional material