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George Coulouris Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (4)

Overview (2)

Date of Birth 1 October 1903Manchester, England, UK
Date of Death 25 April 1989London, England, UK  (heart attack following Parkinson's disease)

Mini Bio (1)

The son of a Greek immigrant father (merchant) and an English mother, George Coulouris was educated at England's Manchester Grammar School. As an actor he was quite adept at playing villains, particularly wealthy businessmen, but he was just as suitable at playing nobler roles. A member of Orson Welles' famed Mercury Theater players, he appeared in such films as Citizen Kane (1941), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), Papillon (1973) and Murder on the Orient Express (1974). The film that established him as an interesting and reliable heavy, with his massive shoulders and hooded eyes, was Watch on the Rhine (1943).

Coulouris studied with Elsie Fogerty at London's Central School of Speech and Drama. His London stage debut came in 1925 with "Henry V" at the Old Vic. He was soon playing the Yank at the first British staging of Eugene O'Neill's "The Hairy Ape". By 1929 he had reached Broadway, via a modern dress version of "Measure for Measure". His role as Tallant in "The Late Christopher Bean" took him to Hollywood in 1933 for MGM's film of the play. The next milestone in his burgeoning career occurred when he was playing in "Ten Million Ghosts" and met Orson Welles. They got on well and Coulouris joined Welles' Mercury Theatre, playing Mark Antony in the famous modern dress production of "Julius Caesar" (1937). When Welles went to Hollywood to make "Citizen Kane", Coulouris climbed into movie history in the part of Walter Parks Thatcher, the Kane family's crotchety lawyer and business manager. By that time his future as a cinema actor was assured and he went on to play character parts in a long string of Hollywood productions throughout the 1940s. At the end of the 1940s Coulouris returned to England, joining the Bristol Old Vic where he was notable as Tartuffe, transferring to London. In the '50s and '60s he remained a stalwart stage actor in spite of his movie reputation. He liked nothing better than to grapple with Henrik Ibsen, George Bernard Shaw, August Strindberg, Molière or William Shakespeare. During these years he tackled Dr. Stockman in Ibsen's "An Enemy of the People", Patrick Flynn in Sean O'Casey's "The Plough and the Stars", the father in Jean-Paul Sartre's "Altona", Edgar in Strindberg's "The Dance of Death" and Big Daddy in Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof". All of these are parts to swell a scene and Coulouris had the flourish to fill them, sometimes to overflowing, always compellingly. In Britain his film parts tended towards the mundane, though he rose to the occasion as the native Babalatchi in Carol Reed's Outcast of the Islands (1951) and seized rare chances to play comedy in Doctor in the House (1954), Doctor at Sea (1955) and the Frankie Howerd vehicle The Runaway Bus (1954). Towards the end of his life he tried his hand at writing and produced some charming memoirs describing his early life in Manchester and his early stage experiences, as yet unpublished except for a vivid excerpt published in the Guardian newspaper in February 1986.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: George F. Coulouris <George.Coulouris@dcs.qmw.ac.uk>, Mary Louise Coulouris (qv's & corrections by A. Nonymous)

Spouse (2)

Elizabeth Donaldson (1977 - 25 April 1989) (his death)
Louise Franklin (1930 - 1976) (her death) (2 children)

Trivia (4)

Two children:
George Franklin, born 1937, a computer science professor living and working in London.
Mary Louise, born 1939, a practising artist living and working in Scotland, UK
Shares his birthday with his Citizen Kane (1941) co-star Everett Sloane.

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