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Malcolm McDowell Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (3)  | Trade Mark (6)  | Trivia (66)  | Personal Quotes (46)  | Salary (1)

Overview (4)

Born in Horsforth, Yorkshire, England, UK
Birth NameMalcolm John Taylor
Nickname Mick
Height 5' 8½" (1.74 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Malcolm John Taylor was born on June 13, 1943 in Leeds, England, to working-class parents Edna (McDowell), a hotelier, and Charles Taylor, a publican. His father was an alcoholic. Malcolm hated his parents' ways. His father was keen to send his son to private school to give him a good start in life, so Malcolm was packed off to boarding school at age 11. He attended the Tunbridge Boarding School and the Cannock House School in Eltham, Kent. At school, he was beaten with the slipper or cane every Monday for his wayward behavior. Whilst at school, he decided that he wanted to become an actor; it was also around this time that his love for race cars began. He attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) to study acting. Meanwhile, he worked at his parents' pub but lost his job when the pub went bankrupt, his father drinking all the profits. He then had a variety of jobs, from coffee salesman to messenger.

His first big-screen role was in Poor Cow (1967), although his two-minute scene was ultimately cut from the completed film. Soon after, he caught the attention of director Lindsay Anderson who cast him in the role of a rebellious student in his film If.... (1968). The film catapulted Malcolm to stardom in Britain but failed everywhere else. He was so enthusiastic about the film's success that he wanted to do another right away. He began writing what would become the semi-autobiographical O Lucky Man! (1973). Then he starred as Alex DeLarge in Stanley Kubrick's controversial A Clockwork Orange (1971), a role that gave him world fame, and legendary status (although typecasting him as a in villainous roles). In early 1976, he spent nearly a year working on what would later be one of the most infamous films of all time, the semi-pornographic Caligula (1979), financed by Penthouse magazine founder Bob Guccione. Around that time, the British film industry collapsed, forcing him to flee to America to continue working. His first American film was Time After Time (1979). He then did Britannia Hospital (1982), the last part of Lindsay Anderson's working-class trilogy that started with If.... (1968).

In the mid-1980s, the years of alcohol and drug abuse, including $1000 a week on cocaine, caught up with him. Years of abuse took its toll on him; his black hairs were now gray. Looking older than he really was, nobody wanted to cast him for playing younger roles. The big roles having dried up, he did many B-rated movies. The 1990s were kinder to him, though. In 1994, he was cast as Dr. Tolian Soran, the man who killed Captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek: Generations (1994). He was back on the track, playing villains again. He played another in the classic BBC miniseries Our Friends in the North (1996). Today, with more than 100 films under his belt, he is one of the greatest actors in America. He still does not have American citizenship, but he likes the no-nonsense American ways. He resides in the northern suburbs of Los Angeles, California.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Pedro Borges

Spouse (3)

Kelley McDowell (12 November 1991 - present) ( 3 children)
Mary Steenburgen (29 September 1980 - 1 October 1990) ( divorced) ( 2 children)
Margot Bennett (21 April 1975 - 15 September 1980) ( divorced)

Trade Mark (6)

Raspy deep-throated voice
Often plays immoral characters or outright villains
Often plays authority figures
Characters who are often fiendishly intelligent and ruthless
Broad bulbous nose and dark blue eyes
Known for his bombastic and intentionally antagonistic personality (especially in his relationship with many directors)

Trivia (66)

His first wife, Margot Bennett, was Keir Dullea's ex-wife. Keir was the main character in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), while McDowell was the main character in Kubrick's next film, A Clockwork Orange (1971).
Along with Sir John Gielgud, he is one of only two actors to play both King Arthur and Merlin. He played King Arthur in Arthur the King (1985) and Merlin in Kids of the Round Table (1995).
13 of his films were shown at retrospective tribute at New York City's Walter Reade Theatre, where he introduces the least known of these, The Connection (1961). [May 2002]
Has said that his favorite actor of all time is James Cagney.
Claims Gangster No. 1 (2000) to be his best work since A Clockwork Orange (1971).
Was the first well-known actor to appear non-animated and in the flesh for South Park (1997) because he is one of Trey Parker's favorite actors and he was specifically requested. He appeared in a South Park parody of Charles Dickens' novel "Great Expectations", playing A British Person (2000).
Has appeared in four films involving time travel: Time After Time (1979), Star Trek: Generations (1994), Just Visiting (2001) and The Philadelphia Experiment (2012). He auditioned for the role of Al Calavicci on the television series Quantum Leap (1989), which would have made 5 times. There was a character in Quantum Leap: A Leap for Lisa - June 25, 1957 (1992) played by Roddy McDowall, who was not related (notice the difference in spelling of the last names).
His performance as Alex DeLarge in A Clockwork Orange (1971) was ranked 100 on the list of the "100 Greatest Film Performances of All Time" and was ranked 68 on Premiere magazine's "100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time".
Currently resides in Santa Barbara, California.
Owns another home in Britain and a summer retreat in Tuscany.
Good friends with Christine Noonan and David Sherwin.
Was captain of the rugby and cricket teams at his high school.
As he wanted to get into the SAG, he took his mother's maiden name McDowell because there was another British actor called Malcolm Taylor.
Born to Charles Taylor, a publican, and his wife Edna McDowell, a hotelier, he grew up with two sisters: Gloria (older) and Judy (younger).
His job as a coffee salesman provided inspiration for O Lucky Man! (1973).
In an interview, he said that a magazine named him "King of Punk" after his appearance in A Clockwork Orange (1971). This is probably because of the punk references that appears in the movie, such as the droogies costume style.
Has been friends with Aubrey Morris ever since they worked together in A Clockwork Orange (1971).
Trained as an actor at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) in London, England.
Has three sons with his wife Kelley McDowell: Beckett Taylor McDowell (born January 29, 2004), Finnian Anderson McDowell (born December 23, 2006) and Seamus Hudson McDowell (born January 7, 2009).
When he went to meet with Stanley Kubrick for the first time, he had little knowledge of film and confused him with Stanley Kramer. In preparation, McDowell's friend and mentor, Lindsay Anderson, showed him all of Kubrick's films from Paths of Glory (1957) to 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).
As a schoolboy, Malcolm was so bored having to listen to long, tedious speeches by minor local dignitaries at official school functions, when he became a star, he took his revenge. Asked to give the keynote speech at Cannock School's annual Open Day in 1969, he flew all the way from the United States to attend. Before a packed assembly, he simply announced "I hereby pronounce this Open Day open" and sat down.
Has a fear of reptiles. When Stanley Kubrick learned this while shooting A Clockwork Orange (1971), he introduced Basil, Alex's pet snake.
Is 24 years older than his wife Kelley McDowell.
As he wanted to get into the British Actors' Equity, he took his mother's maiden name McDowell because there was another British actor called Malcolm Taylor.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6714 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on March 16, 2012.
On September 25, 2012, he was rushed to the hospital and had to undergo a 3 1/2 hour emergency surgery on his eye, for what was discovered to be a detached retina.
Granddaughter Clementine Mae Watson was born January 2012. Her mother is Malcolm's daughter Lilly McDowell Watson.
Has appeared in a scene in A Clockwork Orange (1971) with David Prowse, who played Darth Vader in Star Wars. In 2014, he appeared in a cellular telephone commercial with James Earl Jones, who provided Darth Vader's voice. McDowell also appeared in Robot Chicken: Star Wars (2007).
As of 2018, has appeared in two films nominated for Best Picture Oscar: A Clockwork Orange (1971) and The Artist (2011), the latter won the category.
Received death threats from overzealous Star Trek fans after his character Dr. Tolian Soran killed Captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek: Generations (1994).
He listened to recordings of H.G. Wells to prepare for the role in Time After Time (1979). According to McDowell, Wells' voice was high-pitched and Cockney-accented so he decided not to imitate his voice.
Despite the fact that they played enemies in Blue Thunder (1983), both Roy Scheider and Malcolm McDowell became very good friends during the production. As he would later state at various science fiction conventions, they enjoyed working together so much, that they could not leave each other alone. After Scheider passed away, a very saddened McDowell was unable to attend Scheider's funeral because of a film commitment that he could not get away from (much to his dismay). As a result, he immediately ordered flowers and sent a letter of condolence to Scheider's family.
He has two roles in common with his Time After Time (1979) co-star David Warner: (1) McDowell played Admiral Geoffrey Tolwyn in Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger (1994), Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom (1996) and Wing Commander Academy (1996) while Warner played him in Wing Commander (1999) and (2) McDowell played Professor Abraham Van Helsing in Suck (2009) while Warner played him in Penny Dreadful (2014).
He has two roles in common with both Michael York and John Gielgud: (1) McDowell played King Arthur in Arthur the King (1985), York played him in The Wonderful World of Disney: A Knight in Camelot (1998) and Gielgud played him in DragonHeart (1996) and (2) McDowell played Merlin in Kids of the Round Table (1995), York played him in A Young Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1995) and Gielgud played him in Quest for Camelot (1998).
During the Ludivico scene in A Clockwork Orange (1971), McDowell's eyes were clamped open using a surgical device for eye surgery. The doctor applying eyedrops in the scene was an actual physician who was on hand in case of an injury. Nevertheless, McDowell's cornea was accidentally scratched as a result of the eye clamping and he suffered temporary blindness.
During the production of Tinto Brass's infamous epic Caligula (1979), McDowell took members of the production to dinner at an expensive restaurant to celebrate England's victory in a football match against an Italian team. He left the choreographer to pay for the meal, saying he had forgotten to bring enough money.
He was the first choice for the role of Winston Churchill in Young Winston (1972), which he repeatedly turned down. The role eventually went to Simon Ward.
Although his little known film Night Train to Venice (1993) was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 1993, the film was not released until 1996, and then only in several countries.
He co-starred with his real-life nephew Alexander Siddig in the film Doomsday (2008).
He appeared in the music video "Snuff" by the heavy metal band Slipknot (2009).
His scenes in Our Friends in the North (1996) had to be shot in one continuous block, as he was only available for a limited time due to living in America.
He was considered for the role of Martin Taylor in Brimstone & Treacle (1982), which went to rock star Sting.
He was considered for the role of Tod Hackett in The Day of the Locust (1975), which went to William Atherton.
He was considered for the lead role of Don Morgan in Mad Dog Morgan (1976), which went to Dennis Hopper.
He was considered for the role of Perseus in Clash of the Titans (1981), which went to Harry Hamlin.
He was Richard Lester's first choice for D'Artangan in The Three Musketeers (1973), which went to Michael York.
He was considered for the role of Billy the Kid in Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973), which went to Kris Kristofferson.
He was considered for the role of Pennywise the Dancing Clown in the horror miniseries It (1990), which went to Tim Curry.
He was going to have a role in Michael Powell's unmade film version of "The Tempest".
He refused the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 1984 and a knighthood in 1995.
He was originally going to star opposite Robert De Niro in Gangs of New York (2002) when Martin Scorsese was developing the project in 1978.
He was considered for the role of Ernest J. Belloq in Pretty Baby (1978), which went to Keith Carradine.
He was considered for the role of Scar in the Disney epic The Lion King (1994), which went to Jeremy Irons.
He was considered for the role of Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez in Highlander (1986), which went to Sean Connery.
He turned down the role of Admiral Geoffrey Tolwyn in Wing Commander (1999) due to his commitment to Fantasy Island (1998). The role went to David Warner. He previously played the role in Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger (1994).
He was considered for the role of Francis Bacon in Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon (1998), which went to Derek Jacobi.
He accepted the villain role in Star Trek: Generations (1994) despite not being a huge fan of Star Trek and not liking the screenplay very much, because he was asked, "How would you like to kill Captain Kirk?".
He was the original choice for the role of Peter Smythe in the horror film Black Christmas (1974), which he turned down. The role went to Keir Dullea.
He auditioned for the role of Brian Roberts in Cabaret (1972), which he turned down when he found out that this was not a singing role. The role went to Michael York.
He was offered the roles of John Mallory and Nolan in Duck, You Sucker (1971), but he was busy with O Lucky Man! (1973). The roles went to James Coburn and David Warbeck respectively.
He was interested in guest-starring on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993), but only if his nephew - Alexander Siddig (who played Dr. Bashir) - would direct the episode. He was offered the role of Hagath in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Business as Usual (1997), but he was unavailable. The role went to Steven Berkoff, McDowell's co-star in A Clockwork Orange (1971).
He was considered for the role of the Master in the television movie Doctor Who (1996), which went to Eric Roberts.
He was considered for the role of Saruman in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, which went to Sir Christopher Lee.
Has named O Lucky Man! (1973) as his favourite movie of his own.
Has English and Irish ancestry.

Personal Quotes (46)

The best thing I did was abuse myself when younger - I dabbled in everything, cocaine, booze, women - because now I don't have to do it anymore.
There are no great scripts - just great films.
[when asked what his favorite Stanley Kubrick film was] A Clockwork Orange (1971)! I never saw any of the others.
[on A Clockwork Orange (1971)] It's a remarkable film that has survived as such a classic and I'd be a raving idiot not to be thrilled with that.
He didn't want me at first, told me about the big-name actor he could get, how he was taller than I was - I'm five eight and a half - but I said, "That's nothing, I can stand on a box."
I did a picture I loved called Time After Time (1979), and the people who saw it loved it. We had a big opening in Toronto at the Festival of Festivals - huge - and they gave us a fabulous reception. Great city, Toronto - Mary (Mary Steenburgen) and I loved it there. Great restaurants, great people. The studio hired these so-called "experts" to tell them how to market the film. And these silly asses took a poll to determine a "recognition" factor. And more people recognized Jack the Ripper, which was David Warner's role in the movie, than H.G. Wells, who I played in the movie. Hardly anyone recognized the name H.G. Wells, in fact. So they decided to go with a campaign that stressed Jack the Ripper, which was all well and good except that people didn't want to see another movie about Jack the Ripper, and they stayed away in droves. I've got a big piece of that film, but I haven't seen a penny, and I probably never will. However, I did meet my wife making that movie, so I don't really mind!
[on Time After Time (1979)] I got to be the hero in that one. It's a very whimsical part, a wonderful part, H.G. running after Jack the Ripper (David Warner) and meeting this modern woman (Mary Steenburgen). Of course, it's very special to me because I met Mary, we got married, and we had two children. Even though we're not together now, she is the mother of my children and that film is where we met. It's also a damn good film!
[on unsimulated sex scenes in mainstream films, often sourced to his film Caligula (1979)] I think that's crap. I think that's pathetic. Go get another job. Listen: We're in the business of illusion. We are illusionists. Seriously, that is absolutely pathetic. You're telling me to do a love scene, you actually have to have penetration? That's absolutely beyond pathetic. If you can't think of any way of making that exciting, you're in the wrong job. That's what I think. I remember when they did Don't Look Now (1973), and they thought that Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie actually made love on camera. It's laughable. They were just two extremely gifted actors who made everybody believe they did and ran with it. There was no way there was penetration on the set. No way. Because that crosses over into a porno picture, and I don't care which way you dress it up.
[on playing psychiatrist Dr. Samuel Loomis in Halloween (2007)] I want to make Loomis a man with a tremendous ego. I've met some of these doctors through the years, where there is more ego in it than there is [interest in what's] best for the patient, and if they can get a book out of it - which of course he has done - it's a bestseller, and that's so much better.
[on Donald Pleasence] I did know Donald. I met him in London at the Royal Court Theatre. He was a tremendous actor - he played those wonderful sinister parts. I particularly remember him in two performances: He was in two great plays, one was written by Robert Shaw called The Man in the Glass Booth (1975) and the other was a Harold Pinter play, The Guest (1963).
The definition of insanity in Texas is so insane that it's impossible to be insane in Texas.
[on Stanley Kubrick] Probably one of the five greatest directors that ever lived.
There's nobody who's ever going to come close to John Ford.
[on Halloween (1978)] John Carpenter's a master, and he made an extraordinary film.
[on horror movies] I'm not that keen on them, to be honest. I find them tedious, most of them, really kind of schlocky and terrible character development and thin storylines. The ones that I've seen, they're usually pretty bad because they're very low budget.
[on Wes Craven and The People Under the Stairs (1991)] I went to see the film and I was just riveted by this thing. I thought, "My God, this guy is brilliant. I'd love to work with him.".
[on playing the character Alex DeLarge in A Clockwork Orange (1971)] I don't think I have ever had that much fun doing the work. He was a wicked son-of-a-bitch.
[on Rob Zombie] He's got a definite point of view. He has just done horror films because that's all they want him to make. For him to get out of that, which he will, is going to be tough. He is a far better director than a horror movie director. The way he looks at the material and the way he gives you rein but also gives you boundaries.
[on Lindsay Anderson] I loved him, more than any other man, ever. More than my father I think. I loved him.
[At ZomBcon] It is true I'd rather get a hole in one than win an Academy Award.
[on Stanley Kubrick and A Clockwork Orange (1971)] I was fortunate enough to work with Stanley before his infamous paranoia set in (referring to Kubrick's obsession over every possible variation on a scene, and over everything that might - or at least could - go wrong while filming). One complex technical shot, on the waterfront, gave us so much trouble that 50 takes were required... so Stanley did have an excuse. Nonetheless, after Take 49, I asked him if we couldn't call this Take 1-A. "If I have to hear 'Take 50,'" I complained, "I feel I'm going to crack." But Stanley looked me in the face and said, very flatly, "No". So "Take 50" it was. Well, I *tried* to reason with him, anyway.
[2012, on his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame] For a lad that grew up in Liverpool, Hollywood was this notion of everything that was incredible in the movies, and Hollywood has meant so much for the rest of the world - we take it, because we live in L.A., sort of for granted. My father ran a pub in Burscough in Lancashire, just outside Liverpool, so I feel that from the Bull and Dog to the Pig and Whistle, it's not that far.
[on his career playing villains] I suppose I'm primarily known for that but in fact, that would only be half of my career if I was to add it all up.
I'm proud of the work I did in Caligula (1979). There's no question about that. But there's all the raunchy stuff-the blatant, modern-day porn that Bob introduced into the film after we would finished shooting. That to me was an absolutely outrageous betrayal and quite unprecedented. Frankly, it showed that Bob had no class whatsoever. When Gore told me it was Bob Guccione, I asked, 'Isn't he a pornographer?' Gore said, 'Malcolm, just think of him as one of the Warner brothers. He just signs the checks!' Well, of course that wasn't true...
You can't hold back. You can't think of the subtleties of playing. You just have to get out and really bare it all, and hopefully you don't fall off the plank. And if you do, hey, pick yourself up, dust yourself down, and start all over again.
I'm not quite as buoyant as I was in my youth.
The villains that I play, I always think that they are grounded, wonderful people with enormous intellects who are very exciting to spend an evening with. I never see them as bad people.
I am a professional actor, and I don't go about moralizing about what the character does. Otherwise, seriously, why be an actor? You're not making some kind of social statement. That's not what actors do.
You've always got to work with the best if you can, and of course, the best are the best because they're different. They expect certain standards, and they're usually very difficult people to work with.
My favorite actor who played villains - who could play anything, really - was Jimmy Cagney.
If you look a little punkish, then they're going to give you the parts. And if you play an iconic villain early on in your career, you tend to get asked to play one over and over and over again.
I think we're all a little afraid of the dark. If you lived in the country, as I did, there's nothing quite like country dark, which was really black. And as a child, your imagination runs wild.
Let's not get too precious about it: actors are not heart surgeons or brain surgeons. We are just entertaining people. Once you commit to something, you've got to commit the whole way. Try and make the best of it.
The most nurturing of directors can make you feel too comfortable, and you don't really push for that extra whatever. Different directors offer you different things, and it's not necessarily the most obvious things.
An actor cannot be a censor. I'm there to interpret. I'd love to do radio plays. I think that one should be open to everything and shouldn't limit oneself.
You know, I've had an incredible career and I'm blessed. I love doing every role I do!
The thing is, I've never been a handsome leading-man type, so let's not kid ourselves.
I just love a challenge, and always have, and will do anything to make it interesting. I'll try anything, really, as long as it's a challenge and you can have some fun doing it.
I'm from a country where acting is taken very seriously; it's a very serious profession.
If you dunk your head in cold water, you can't stay under for more than five seconds. I mean, that's it.
Every university in America teaches A Clockwork Orange (1971). I get fed up with it.
I don't worry about whether I'm making a masterpiece, because I know that if you get just one of those in a lifetime, you should get down on your knees and say 'Thank you!'
I love Bob Altman. I always admired him so much because I always thought he was a genuine voice.
I've always been one to do the work and just hone my craft.
I like to razz the Trekkies a little bit. Who doesn't? It's trainspotting, isn't it? But they are very well-meaning, actually. I've done a couple of Star Trek conventions, and they've only been really welcoming.
Richard Lester is a wonderful director, a great comedy director, of course.

Salary (1)

If.... (1968) £90 per week

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