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 B...
Accompanied Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh to New York, making his Broadway debut as a messenger in "Anthony and Cleopatra"
Partnered opposite Diana Rigg in Tony Harrison's inspired reworking of Moliere's "The Misanthrope"
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"
Originated the role of Father William Rolfe in Peter Luke's "Hadrian VII", eventually playing it on Broadway; earned Tony nomination
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
Portrayed Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Barnaby Tucker in English stage versions of "Moulin Rouge" and Thornton Wilder's "The Matchmaker"
Directed London stage production of "While the Sun Shines"
Film debut in "The Cruel Sea"
Made cameo appearance in the BBC adaptation of "David Copperfield"
Provided narration for HBO's "Shakespeare: The Annimated Tales" version of "Macbeth"
Appeared in various British repertory productions
Delivered a thoroughly enjoyable turn as the Wing Commander, one of Julie Walters' bizarre menage, in the film "Personal Services"
Toured Indian and Burmese cities in "Love in a Mist"
First role in London, Maxim in "Ivanov"
Acted in the films of two giants, George Cukor's "Travels With My Aunt" and Alfred Hitchcok's "Frenzy"
Had supporting role in the acclaimed British miniseries "Longitude"
Stage debut as Micky in "Paddy, the Next Best Thing"
Last feature film to date, Malcolm McKay's "Cruel Train"
Reprised "Lear" role opposite Scofield in RSC production at NYC's State Theatre
As Q, 007's favorite science expert, displayed the latest gadgetry to Sean Connery in "Never Say Never Again"
Portrayed Philip in Christopher Hampton's "The Philanthropist" on the London stage and later on Broadway; received second Tony nomination
Performed the role of Martin Dysart on Broadway in "Equus", reprising the role he had played at the Old Vic in 1973
Reprised Alceste for Broadway production of "The Misanthrope"
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
Portrayed Sillerton Jackson in Martin Scorsese's "The Age of Innocence", adapted from the Edith Wharton novel
Joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, playing the Fool to Paul Scofield's Lear in "King Lear"
Narrated HBO's "Shakespeare: The Animated Tales" version of "King Richard III"
Appeared as a passenger on board the Titanic in "A Night to Remember"
Played title role in Birmingham Repertory Theatre production of "Hamlet"
Played Acting High Commissioner in Richard Attenborough's "Cry Freedom"
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
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 one of the nicest touches in "Never Say Never Again" (1983) as Q, 007's favorite armaments specialist who complains of insufficient funding and whose factory looks like a second-rate autobody shop. 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).
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
Named Commander of the Order of the British Empire.