Family & Companions
After fighting in World War II, English actor Bill Travers decided to pursue a career in show business. Travers first appeared on stage in 1947, before making his motion picture debut on the 1950 anthology film "Trio." But Travers's breakthrough role came in 1955's "Wee Geordie," as Olympic hopeful and proud Scotsman Geordie Mac Taggart. Travers and his second wife, Virginia McKenna, co-starred numerous times, most notably as the conservationists who adopt a lion cub in 1966's "Born Free." The project turned Travers and his wife into champions of animal rights; together they made multiple movies around the subject, among them 1969's "Ring of Bright Water," about a man and his Iraqi otter, and 1973's "An Elephant Called Slowly," in which Travers and McKEnna cavort with a trio of adorable pachyderms. In 1976 Travers wrote, directed, and produced the film "Christian the Lion," and soon after became involved in the Zoo Check Campaign. In the 1990s, they launched the Born Free Foundation, dedicated to the protection of wild animals.