Family & Companions
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.
Cast (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Made film acting debut, billed as 'William Fox' in "The Miniver Story"
Played most prominent feature role as a child in "The Magnet"
Returned to feature films after a ten-year absence to act in a small role in "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"
First adult leading role in film, "The Servant"
First American film since "The Miniver Story", "King Rat"
Left acting for a time to join an international Christian missionary sect, the Navigators
One-shot return to acting, the religious drama, "No Longer Alone"
Returned to acting regularly; appeared in the film, "Country"
Played Waldorf on the PBS biographical miniseries, "Nancy Astor"
Played Angus Meikle on the "Masterpiece Theatre" miniseries, "A Perfect Hero"
Starred in Jonathan Glazer's "Sexy Beast"
Co-starred in "Up at the Villa"
Cast as the King of Denmark in "The Prince and Me"
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