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Alec McCowen

Alec McCowen

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Also Known As: Alexander Duncan Mccowen Died:
Born: May 26, 1925 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Kent, England, GB Profession: actor, writer, director

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

British stage actor Alec McCowen paid his dues in the provinces throughout the 1940s, finally taking his first London bow in 1950, then traveled to NYC with Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh for his Broadway debut in "Anthony and Cleopatra" (1951) before appearing in his initial film, "The Cruel Sea" (1953). The highlight of two seasons at the Old Vic was his portrayal of Mercutio in Franco Zeffirelli's production of "Romeo and Juliet" (1960-61), and when he moved to the Royal Shakespeare Company, he played the Fool to Paul Scofield's "King Lear" (1962), roles the two would reprise on Broadway in 1964. McCowen sealed his reputation with two enormous hits at the end of the decade, Peter Luke's "Hadrian VII" (1967-69) and Christopher Hampton's "The Philanthropist" (1970-71), bringing both plays to Broadway, earning Tony Award nominations and winning Drama Desk Awards as Best Actor for each. On the heel of these two successes, McCowen found time to act in the films of two directing giants, George Cukor's "Travels with My Aunt" and Alfred Hitchcock's "Frenzy" (both 1972). That same year, he directed a London stage production of "While the Sun Shines" before playing opposite Diana Rigg in Tony Harrison's...

British stage actor Alec McCowen paid his dues in the provinces throughout the 1940s, finally taking his first London bow in 1950, then traveled to NYC with Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh for his Broadway debut in "Anthony and Cleopatra" (1951) before appearing in his initial film, "The Cruel Sea" (1953). The highlight of two seasons at the Old Vic was his portrayal of Mercutio in Franco Zeffirelli's production of "Romeo and Juliet" (1960-61), and when he moved to the Royal Shakespeare Company, he played the Fool to Paul Scofield's "King Lear" (1962), roles the two would reprise on Broadway in 1964. McCowen sealed his reputation with two enormous hits at the end of the decade, Peter Luke's "Hadrian VII" (1967-69) and Christopher Hampton's "The Philanthropist" (1970-71), bringing both plays to Broadway, earning Tony Award nominations and winning Drama Desk Awards as Best Actor for each. On the heel of these two successes, McCowen found time to act in the films of two directing giants, George Cukor's "Travels with My Aunt" and Alfred Hitchcock's "Frenzy" (both 1972). That same year, he directed a London stage production of "While the Sun Shines" before playing opposite Diana Rigg in Tony Harrison's inspired reworking of Moliere's "The Misanthrope" (1973), repeating his performance on Broadway in 1975. 1977 found him back on Broadway as Martin Dysart in "Equus," and the following year, he directed and starred for the first time in his adaptation of "St. Mark's Gospel," a show he also brought to New York in 1978, 1981 and 1990. He delivered a strong performance in Sean Connery's unsanctioned final bow as James Bond, "Never Say Never Again" (1983) as Q, 007's favorite armaments specialist. Among his later films, McCowen appeared in Terry Jones' "Personal Services" (1987), Kenneth Branagh's "Henry V" (1989) and Martin Scorsese's "The Age of Innocence" (1993). His final film role came in Martin Scorsese's "Gangs of New York" (2002). Alec McCowen died in London on February 6, 2017 at the age of 91.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Gangs of New York (2002) Reverend Raleigh
2.
 Cruel Train (1995)
3.
 The Age Of Innocence (1993) Sillerton Jackson
4.
 Maria's Child (1992) Eugene Mccarthy
5.
 Henry V (1989) Ely
6.
 Personal Services (1987) Wing Commander Morton
7.
 Cry Freedom (1987) Acting High Commissioner
8.
 Forever Young (1986) Father Vincent
9.
 Assam Garden, The (1985) Mr Philpott
10.
 Young Visitors, The (1984) J M Barrie
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1972:
Acted in the films of two giants, George Cukor's "Travels With My Aunt" and Alfred Hitchcok's "Frenzy"
:
Appeared in various British repertory productions
1962:
Delivered a nice turn as a psychiatrist in Tony Richardson's "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner", adapted to the screen by Alan Silitoe from his short story
1950:
First role in London, Maxim in "Ivanov"
2000:
Made cameo appearance in the BBC adaptation of "David Copperfield"
:
Played Mercutio in Franco Zeffirelli's production of "Romeo and Juliet" at the Old Vic; during same season, acted the title role in "Richard II", Malvolio in "Twelfth Night" and Oberon in "A Midsummer Night's Dream", all at the Old Vic
1954:
Portrayed Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Barnaby Tucker in English stage versions of "Moulin Rouge" and Thornton Wilder's "The Matchmaker"
1993:
Portrayed Sillerton Jackson in Martin Scorsese's "The Age of Innocence", adapted from the Edith Wharton novel
1964:
Reprised "Lear" role opposite Scofield in RSC production at NYC's State Theatre
1958:
Appeared as a passenger on board the Titanic in "A Night to Remember"
1983:
As Q, 007's favorite science expert, displayed the latest gadgetry to Sean Connery in "Never Say Never Again"
1987:
Delivered a thoroughly enjoyable turn as the Wing Commander, one of Julie Walters' bizarre menage, in the film "Personal Services"
1972:
Directed London stage production of "While the Sun Shines"
:
Originated the role of Father William Rolfe in Peter Luke's "Hadrian VII", eventually playing it on Broadway; earned Tony nomination
1970:
Played title role in Birmingham Repertory Theatre production of "Hamlet"
:
Portrayed Philip in Christopher Hampton's "The Philanthropist" on the London stage and later on Broadway; received second Tony nomination
1945:
Toured Indian and Burmese cities in "Love in a Mist"
1953:
Film debut in "The Cruel Sea"
2000:
Had supporting role in the acclaimed British miniseries "Longitude"
1996:
Narrated HBO's "Shakespeare: The Animated Tales" version of "King Richard III"
1977:
Performed the role of Martin Dysart on Broadway in "Equus", reprising the role he had played at the Old Vic in 1973
1987:
Played Acting High Commissioner in Richard Attenborough's "Cry Freedom"
1975:
Reprised Alceste for Broadway production of "The Misanthrope"
1942:
Stage debut as Micky in "Paddy, the Next Best Thing"
1978:
Starred in one-man-show, "St Mark's Gospel", in both London and NYC; reprised show in 1981 and 1990; adapted the script and directed all incarnations; received third Tony nomination
1951:
Accompanied Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh to New York, making his Broadway debut as a messenger in "Anthony and Cleopatra"
1989:
Interrupted tour of his one-man-show "Shakespeare, Cole and Company" to play the Bishop of Ely in Kenneth Branagh's film version of "Henry V"
1962:
Joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, playing the Fool to Paul Scofield's Lear in "King Lear"
1995:
Last feature film to date, Malcolm McKay's "Cruel Train"
1973:
Partnered opposite Diana Rigg in Tony Harrison's inspired reworking of Moliere's "The Misanthrope"
1993:
Provided narration for HBO's "Shakespeare: The Annimated Tales" version of "Macbeth"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art: -

Notes

Named Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Duncan McCowen.
mother:
Mary McCowen.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Young Gemini"
"Double Bill"
"Personal Mark"

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