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Also Known As: James William Fox, William Fox, William [James] Fox Died:
Born: May 19, 1939 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: London, England, GB Profession: actor, assistant stage manager

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Lanky blond British lead of the 1960s who began as a child actor in the early 50s. Fox's career showed great promise with his role as a boy whose life gets complicated once he acquires "The Magnet" (1951), but he soon gave up acting to finish school. He did not return to acting until a decade later, but quickly enjoyed success in the role of a haughty but ultimately malleable aristocrat strangely corrupted by his butler (Dirk Bogarde) in Joseph Losey's striking drama, "The Servant" (1963). This part, one of Fox's finest, typified many of his subsequent roles: classy yet often duplicitous, prone to weakness, decadence, and bad judgment. Successfully venturing to Hollywood, Fox essayed similar characterizations in "King Rat" (1965), as a POW under the influence of a schemer (George Segal), and in "The Chase" (1966), as Jane Fonda's wealthy but spineless Texas husband. More conventional leading man duties came with "Thoroughly Modern Millie" (1967) and as one of the lovers of "Isadora" (1968) in that biopic of the dancing Duncan. Perhaps Fox's finest work in this period came in the bizarre but galvanizing "Performance" (1970), as a vicious hit man on the lam who hides out at a reclusive rock star's...

Lanky blond British lead of the 1960s who began as a child actor in the early 50s. Fox's career showed great promise with his role as a boy whose life gets complicated once he acquires "The Magnet" (1951), but he soon gave up acting to finish school. He did not return to acting until a decade later, but quickly enjoyed success in the role of a haughty but ultimately malleable aristocrat strangely corrupted by his butler (Dirk Bogarde) in Joseph Losey's striking drama, "The Servant" (1963). This part, one of Fox's finest, typified many of his subsequent roles: classy yet often duplicitous, prone to weakness, decadence, and bad judgment.

Successfully venturing to Hollywood, Fox essayed similar characterizations in "King Rat" (1965), as a POW under the influence of a schemer (George Segal), and in "The Chase" (1966), as Jane Fonda's wealthy but spineless Texas husband. More conventional leading man duties came with "Thoroughly Modern Millie" (1967) and as one of the lovers of "Isadora" (1968) in that biopic of the dancing Duncan. Perhaps Fox's finest work in this period came in the bizarre but galvanizing "Performance" (1970), as a vicious hit man on the lam who hides out at a reclusive rock star's (Mick Jagger) mansion and falls prey to a series of bisexual orgies and weird costume changes.

Fox left acting in 1973 when he joined a Christian missionary group, the Navigators, though he did act in the story of a suicidal woman saved by religion, "No Longer Alone" (1978). Since his return to acting in the early 80s, Fox has been more prolific than ever, alternating offbeat, small-scale efforts ("Pavlova" 1983, "As You Like It" 1992), with mainstream Hollywood fare ("The Russia House" 1990, "Patriot Games" 1992) and prestigious historical epics. With his distinguished middle-aged bearing, Fox has usually incarnated a series of old guard authority figures: David Lean specifically asked for him for "A Passage to India" (1984), and Fox was also effective as a British statesman who misguidedly gives in to his own prejudices and weaknesses while placating the Nazis in the name of peace in "The Remains of the Day" (1993). He is the son of influential talent agent Robin Fox, and brother of actor Edward and theatrical producer Robert.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Double, The (2014)
2.
3.
 Kid, The (2010)
4.
5.
 Sherlock Holmes (2009)
6.
 Mister Lonely (2007)
9.
 Prince & Me, The (2004) The King Of Denmark
10.
 Mystic Masseur, The (2001) Mr Stewart
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1950:
Made film acting debut, billed as 'William Fox' in "The Miniver Story"
1951:
Played most prominent feature role as a child in "The Magnet"
:
Left acting; finished schooling at Ashford Prep and Harrow
:
After studying at the Central School of Speech and Drama, worked for a time as an assistant stage manager with a touring theatrical company
:
Served in the military with the Third Battalion of the Coldstream Guard
:
Worked in advertising
1962:
Returned to feature films after a ten-year absence to act in a small role in "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"
1963:
First adult leading role in film, "The Servant"
1965:
First American film since "The Miniver Story", "King Rat"
1973:
Left acting for a time to join an international Christian missionary sect, the Navigators
1978:
One-shot return to acting, the religious drama, "No Longer Alone"
1981:
Returned to acting regularly; appeared in the film, "Country"
1984:
Played Waldorf on the PBS biographical miniseries, "Nancy Astor"
1992:
Played Angus Meikle on the "Masterpiece Theatre" miniseries, "A Perfect Hero"
2000:
Co-starred in "Up at the Villa"
2000:
Starred in Jonathan Glazer's "Sexy Beast"
2004:
Cast as the King of Denmark in "The Prince and Me"
2005:
Played Mr. Salt in Tim Burton's adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic tale "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" starring Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Ashford Prep School: -
Harrow School: -
Central School of Speech and Drama: London , England -

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Mary Elizabeth Piper. Met in 1972; married in 1973.

Family close complete family listing

grandfather:
Frederick Lonsdale. Playwright. Maternal grandfather.
father:
Robin Fox. Agent. Died of lung cancer in 1971.
mother:
Angela Muriel Fox. Author. Born on June 17, 1912; daughter of Lucy Glitters Worthington and Frederick Lonsdale; mother was married to Dr. Henry Worthington but had three daughters by Lonsdale; Noel Coward wrote his famous song "Don't Put Your Daughter on the Stage, Mrs. Worthington" about her; died on December 1, 1999; had stormy marriage to husband punctuated with separations and infidelities on both sides.
brother:
Edward Fox. Actor. Born in 1937.
brother:
Robert Fox. Theatrical impresario. Younger; produced the musical "Chess" on both the Broadway and London stages; formerly married to Natasha Richardson.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Comeback: An Actor's Direction"

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