Spent childhood in Belton, Suffolk, where his father worked as a school headmaster
Moved with family to London
After failing to land a spot with the Norwich City Football Club, worked as a clerk in Ipswich and later a traveling salesman
Began appearing in amateur theatricals
London stage debut as a chorus boy in the musical "The Five O'Clock Girl" at London Hippodrome
Toured India and Asia as a member of the performing troupe, The Quaints, acting in "Journey's End", "Mr. Cinders" and "Hamlet" among other plays
First character part onstage, Lord Babberly in "Charley's Aunt"
Acted in Noel Coward's "Cavalcade" in London
Film acting debut in "The Midshipmaid", opposite Jessie Matthews
Reteamed with Coward for "Words and Music"
Signed contract with Gaumont-British
Portrayed Lord Dudley in the historical drama "Tudor Rose/Nine Days a Queen", opposite teen actress Nova Pilbeam
Breakthrough stage role as George in "Of Mice and Men"
Had role as student Peter Colley going off to war in the drama "Goodbye, Mr. Chips", starring Robert Donat; first US film
Served in WWII as a member of the Royal Engineers; eventually discharged on medical grounds because of an ulcer
Acted in and co-directed (with Bernard Miles) "Men in Shadow", written by second wife Mary Hayley Bell
Appeared in "In Which We Serve", co-directed by Noel Coward and David Lean
Co-starred in "Waterloo Road"
Reteamed with Lean to play Pip in "Great Expectations"
Under contract with the Rank Organization
Directed and starred in the stage play "Angel", also written by Bell
Starred in the suspense thriller "The October Man"; first onscreen appearance with duaghter Juliet
Had title role in the biopic "Scott of the Antarctic"
Producing debut, "The History of Mr. Polly"; also starred
Reprised role of Lord Babberly in revival of "Charley's Aunt"
Co-starred as Charles Laughton's son-in-law in "Hobson's Choice", directed by Lean
American TV debut in production of "The Letter", directed by William Wyler
Played a cab driver in "Around the World in 80 Days"
Formed John Mills Productions Ltd
Appeared with daughter Hayley in "Tiger Bay"
Offered one of his best performances as a British officer bent on restoring order to a regiment in "Tunes of Glory", co-starring Alec Guinness
Made Broadway debut in title role of "Ross", based on the life of T E Lawrence; received a Tony Award nomination
Feature directorial debut, "Sky West and Crooked/Gypsy Girl", starring daughter Hayley and co-written by wife Mary Hayley Bell
Acted with daughter Hayley in Roy Boulting's "The Family Way"
Starred in the CBS series "Dundee and the Culhane"
Earned Best Supporting Actor Oscar playing the village idiot in "Ryan's Daughter", directed by David Lean
Made guest appearance on "Nanny and the Professor", starring daughter Juliet
Essayed role of General Kitchener in "Young Winston"
Portrayed Faye Dunaway's father in the drama "Oklahoma Crude"
Co-starred with Lilli Palmer and Barry Morse in the NBC series "The Zoo Gang"
Headlined London revival of Terrence Rattigan's "Separate Tables"
Acted in the remake of "The 39 Steps"
Starred in the four-part British TV series "Quartermass"; episodes were re-edited and released theatrically under the title "The Quartermass Conclusion"
Portrayed the viceroy in Richard Attenborough's "Gandhi"
Had featured role as Henry Rossiter, advisor to Emma Harte (Jenny Seagrove and Deborah Kerr) in the syndicated miniseries "A Woman of Substance"
Reprised role of Henry Rossiter in the syndicated sequel "Hold That Dream"
Starred in the stage production "The Petition"
Last Broadway role, co-starring in revival of "Pygmalion"
Supported Madonna in the comedy "Who's That Girl"
Acted in the NBC miniseries version of "Around the World in 80 Days"
Co-starred in the multi-part adaptation of "A Tale of Two Cities" (PBS)
Co-starred in the British TV-movie "Ending Up"; aired in USA on PBS (filmed in 1989)
Portrayed Old Chuffey in the British miniseries "Charles Dickens' 'Martin Chuzzlewit'" (aired on PBS in 1995 in the USA)
Made cameo appearance as Old Norway in Kenneth Branagh's full-length feture version of "Hamlet"
Appeared as the Chairman in the comedy "Bean"
Played Gus the Theatre Cat in the direct-to-video release "Cats", adapted from the successful Andrew Lloyd Webber stage musical; production also aired on PBS stations in USA