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Jack Gwillim Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (14)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 15 December 1909Canterbury, Kent, England, UK
Date of Death 2 July 2001Los Angeles, California, USA
Birth NameJack William Frederick Gwillim

Mini Bio (1)

Although he did not turn to the stage until middle age after two decades in the Royal Navy, Jack Gwillim was a notable actor on both sides of the Atlantic. During the 1950s he was a member of the Royal Shakespeare company in Stratford, England, for three years during Sir Anthony Quayle's stint as artistic director, and a member of the Old Vic Company for a further three years. His extensive theatre credits included many leading roles in the West End including "Sacred Flame" with Gladys Cooper and Wendy Hiller, "The Right Honourable Gentleman" with Quayle, "The Dark is Light Enough" with Dame Edith Evans, "Castle In Sweden" with Diane Cilento, "Portrait Of Murder", "A Kind Of Folly" with Dame Flora Robson, "You Never Can Tell" and "Merchant Of Venice" with Sir Ralph Richardson. In 1969 he emigrated to the United States, working in top regional theaters, off-Broadway and Broadway. His Broadway credits include the role of Col. Pickering in Rex Harrison revival of "My Fair Lady", and Ingrid Bergman's husband in "The Constant Wife" directed by Sir John Gielgud. Other Broadway shows included "Ari", "MacBeth" with Christopher Plummer and 'Glenda Jackson (I)', "Romeo and Juliet", "Lost in the Stars" with Brock Peters, "The Iceman Cometh" with James Earl Jones and with the Old Vic "MacBeth", "Romeo and Juliet" with Claire Bloom, "Richard II" and "Troilus and Cressida." He did numerous tours in the U.S including "Laurette" with Judy Holliday.

On stage he has worked with such actors as Sir Ralph Richardson, Sir Anthony Quayle, Dame Judith Anderson, Judi Dench, Sir Michael Redgrave and Richard Burton. He is also known for war films such as Pursuit of the Graf Spee (1956) with Peter Finch, The One That Got Away (1957), North West Frontier (1959) with Lauren Bacall and Sink the Bismarck! (1960). His work in epics includes Solomon and Sheba (1959) with Yul Brynner, Cromwell (1970) with Richard Harris, Oscar-winning films Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Patton (1970) and A Man for All Seasons (1966). His work in cult favorites includes Jason and the Argonauts (1963) and Clash of the Titans (1981) with Sir Laurence Olivier. His work in "Hammer" films includes Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960) with Peter Cushing, Circus of Horrors (1960) and The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (1964). He also co-starred in the Disney hit In Search of the Castaways (1962) with Maurice Chevalier and Hayley Mills.

His voice work can be heard on Caedmon Records in "Anthony & Cleopatra", "King John", "Macbeth", "Richard II", "Titus Andronicus", "Troilus and Cressida", "Hamlet", "A Midsummer Night's Dream", and "Henry IV" parts I and II and "Henry V".

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Spouse (2)

Olivia Selby (1969 - 2 July 2001) (his death) (1 child)
Peggy Ballard (1943 - 1958) (her death) (2 children)

Trivia (14)

Served as a Commander in the Royal Navy for twenty years before he became an actor.
Served in World War II.
Father, with Olivia Selby, of Jaxon Duff Gwillim.
Father, with Peggy Bollard, of Sarah-Jane Gwillim and David Gwillim.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, he was a serving officer in Hong Kong and China. In 1946 he was invalided out of the service with arthritis while a commander, the youngest of that rank at the time of his promotion.
An all-round track and field athlete, he played rugby for the Navy and, while stationed in the Mediterranean, became undefeated heavyweight boxing champion of both the Army and Navy.
His last stage performance came in 1995 in the play "On Borrowed Time". In it he acted with two of his children, his son-in-law, two grandchildren and their dog.
Joined the Royal Navy at the age of 17.
Friends with actors Harry Andrews and Anthony Quayle.
Attended Central School in London England.
He was nominated for a 1975 Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Actor in a Principal Role in a Play for his performance in "The Farm" at the Academy Festival Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.
He was nominated for a 1977 Joseph Jefferson Award for Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in "Too Good To Be True" at the Academy Festival Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.
When cast as dignified figures of authority, Gwillim seems to have merely played himself. Michael Powell described him as "six-feet-two, taciturn, polite, and every inch of him Royal Navy." Powell added that during the filming of Pursuit of the Graf Spee "the other actors had to mind their p's' and and q's'" whenever Gwillim was present. ..."a glance from those grey eyes stiffened their backbones.".
Won the Best actor award in 1976 from the New Jersey Drama Critics Association for his role in The Heiress at the McCarter Theatre in New Jersey.

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