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Ian Bannen Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (14)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 29 June 1928Airdrie, Lanarkshire, Scotland, UK
Date of Death 3 November 1999Knockies Straight, Loch Ness, Scotland, UK  (road accident)
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Scottish character actor and occasional leading man who enlivened scores of fine films in Britain and America. His father was a lawyer in a small town in Lanarkshire. Bannen served in the army and attended Ratcliffe College, Leicestershire. His first acting role came in a 1947 Dublin production of "Armlet of Jade". He became a successful figure on the London stage, making a name for himself in the plays of both William Shakespeare and Eugene O'Neill. He was an original member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and appeared on Broadway as well. His film debut occurred in the mid-1950s, and he quickly rose to prominence, primarily in a wide range of supporting roles. His performance as "Crow" in The Flight of the Phoenix (1965) won him an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor. Thirty years and scores of films later, Bannen was given the Lifetime Achievement Award of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Long after his leading man days had passed, he won new acclaim for his role as the touchingly crafty villager in Waking Ned Devine (1998). The following year he died in an automobile accident. He was survived by his wife of 23 years.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Spouse (1)

Marilyn Salisbury (1976 - 3 November 1999) (his death)

Trivia (14)

He was awarded the 1981 London Critics Circle Awards (Drama Theatre Awards) for Best Supporting Actor of 1980 for his performance in "Translations".
Turned down the lead roles in Van der Valk (1972) and Hawaii Five-O (1968).
Considered giving up acting to become a monk.
Friend of Richard Harris and Peter O'Toole.
Director John Schlesinger cast him as a replacement for Alan Bates in the part of well-off homosexual doctor Daniel Hirsh in his controversial film Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971), after Bates was deemed unavailable to shoot. According to screenwriter Penelope Gilliatt, Bannen never felt comfortable with the part; she speculated that he was flustered by the fact that he would have to kiss male actor Murray Head, who played his lover whom also carried on an affair with Glenda Jackson. The anxiety adversely affected his performance during the early filming. Schlesinger had to fire him and replace him with Peter Finch, who won an Oscar nomination for the role. Many observers believe that Finch lost the Oscar to Gene Hackman because of the gay kiss. Bannen said near the end of his life, after being hailed for his comeback in Waking Ned Devine (1998), that this was his one big regret, for throwing away the plum role seriously set back his career and it never recovered.
He died in a car accident in 1999 while a passenger in a car driven by his wife, Marilyn. Coincidentally, Bannen originally met his wife back in 1976 when she parked her old van in his reserved parking space and was unable to get it started.
Cast in in The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977) but was replaced by Nigel Davenport.
Cast as Miller in Force 10 from Navarone (1978) but left the production because of a clash with the producer, and was replaced by Edward Fox.
He was considered for Dr. Hans Fallada, Dr. Bukovsky, Dr. Armstrong and Sir Percy Heseltine in Lifeforce (1985). The roles eventually went to Frank Finlay, Michael Gothard, Patrick Stewart and Aubrey Morris respectively.
He appeared in two Best Picture Academy Award winners: Gandhi (1982) and Braveheart (1995). Bernard Horsfall also appeared in both films.
He lived with his mother in her later years and did not marry until after she had died.
In the 1950s, he proposed marriage to Maggie Smith, but insisted that she would have to convert to Roman Catholicism before the wedding. She declined both suggestions.
Was offered the role of Dr Finlay in the original BBC series but turned it down. He did appear in a 1963 episode playing the part of a miner.
Made his stage in 1947.

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