Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Roddy McDowell

During his lifetime, Roddy McDowell appeared in over 150 movies and was one of the few child stars who made the transition to adult actor.

Roddy McDowall was born Roderick Andrew Anthony Jude McDowall on September 17, 1928 in London, England. The son of Thomas Andrew McDowall, a merchant mariner, and Winsfriede Corcoran, an aspiring actress.

Roddy was enrolled in elocution courses at age five and by ten had appeared in his first film, Yellow Sands (1938), although it was an uncredited role. His first credited role was in Murder in the Family (1938) where he played the younger brother of Jessica Tandy and Glynis Johns.

He appeared in approximately a dozen British films before the family moved to the United States at the beginning of World War II.

Soon after arriving in the United States, young Roddy got the part of Huw, the youngest child in a family of Welsh coal miners in John Ford's How Green Was My Valley (1941) acting alongside Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara and Donald Crips. This film made Roddy McDowall a household name.

As a child actor, he appeared in such films as The Pied Piper (1942), My Friend Flicka (1943), Lassie Come Home (1943), and The White Cliffs of Dover (1944).

In 1946, at age 18, he moved to New York, where he played in a number of long successful Broadway plays including Misalliance (1953), No Time for Sergeants (1955), Compulsion (1957) and Camelot (1960).

In 1960, he won a Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Dramatic) for The Fighting Cock.

Roddy McDowall continued his film career as an adult actor, but usually in character roles. His film credits as an adult include The Longest Day (1962), Cleopatra (1963), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), That Darn Cat (1965), Planet of the Apes (1968), Escape from Planet of the Apes (1971), Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971), Conquest of Planent of the Apes (1972), The Poseidon Adventure (1972), The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972), Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973), The Cat From Outer Space (1978), and Overboard (1987).

His final movie appearance was in 1998 when he provided his voice for the character Mr. Soil in A Bug's Life.

As an adult, Roddy McDowall appeared in numerous television shows including The Twilight Zone, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, The Carol Burnett Show, Fantasy Island, Columbo and Quantum Leap. He also frequently appeared on the Hollywood Squares. His final appearance was on television in Godzilla The Series (1999).

Roddy McDowall won an Emmy for Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role by an Actor or Actress in a Single Program for Sunday Showcase: Our American Heritage: Not Without Honor (1960).

Roddy McDowell had an avid love of photography and published five acclaimed books of his photography.

On October 3, 1998 at the age of 70, Roddy McDowall died of lung cancer.

Final stage appearance was as Ebenezer Scrooge in the New York City production of "A Christmas Carol" in 1997

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