Happy 88th Birthday Roddy McDowall

Today is the 88th birthday of Roddy McDowall. I think I first recognized him in a midnight movie called The Legend of Hell House, a not great mid-70’s supernatural horror film. I then couldn’t stop finding him in films, like recognizing an old friend in a photograph you had no idea they were in.  For example, he is in an episode of Hart to Hart. The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

roddy-mcdowall-01NAME: Roddy McDowall
OCCUPATION: Film Actor
BIRTH DATE: September 17, 1928
DEATH DATE: October 3, 1998
PLACE OF BIRTH: Herne Hill, London, England
PLACE OF DEATH: Studio City, California
AKA: Roddy McDowall
FULL NAME: Roderick Andrew Anthony Jude McDowall
REMAINS: Cremated (ashes scattered at sea)

BEST KNOWN FOR: Actor Roddy McDowall had a recurring role on the Batman television series, and played Cornelius in the film and TV versions of Planet of the Apes.

Actor and photographer Roddy McDowall was born Roderick Andrew Anthony Jude McDowall was born on September 17, 1928, in London, England. He was the only son of Thomas McDowall, a merchant seaman, and his wife, Winifred. As a child, Roddy appeared in a slew of British films, including Yellow Sands (1938) and Just William (1939).

In 1940, Roddy moved to America, with his mother and sister, to escape the World War II bombing of London. Thomas McDowall joined his family shortly thereafter. They settled in Hollywood, where Roddy was immediately contracted by 20th Century-Fox. In 1941, he gave a remarkable performance as the juvenile lead in John Ford’s Oscar-winning drama How Green Was My Valley. McDowall followed the film’s success with equally impressive roles in the children’s classics My Friend Flicka and Lassie Come Home (both 1943).

 

Like many child stars, McDowall found it hard to transition into adult film roles. Frustrated with dwindling opportunities in Hollywood, he turned to stage acting. He toured in vaudeville and in summer stock before moving to New York in 1954. He was featured in a succession of memorable Broadway productions, including Compulsion (1957) and The Fighting Cock (1959). For the latter, McDowall earned a Supporting Actor Tony Award.

In 1963, McDowall returned to film acting in the more mature role of Octavian in the extravagant feature Cleopatra, costarring with Richard Burton and longtime friend Elizabeth Taylor. Shortly after, he made his mark in television with a recurring role—as the miscreant Bookworm—on the 1966 Batman series, opposite Adam West. His role as The Bookworm, one of Batman’s nemeses—others included Julie Newmar’s Catwoman, Cesar Romero’s Joker and Vincent Price’s Egghead—made McDowall a household name with younger viewers.

In 1968, McDowall starred as the sympathetic scientist Cornelius in the seminal science fiction film Planet of the Apes. With undeniable camp appeal, the film spawned a number of sequels and earned McDowall a cult following. He reprised his role as Cornelius in the third installment, Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971). In the two subsequent releases, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972) and Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973), McDowall assumed the role of Cornelius’ son Caesar.

McDowall made a transition to the small screen with the Planet of the Apes TV series, appearing in a number of episodes in 1974. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he continued to direct his efforts toward television work. He acted in the TV movies The Rhineman Exchange (1977), The Martian Chronicles (1980) and Hollywood Wives (1985). During this period, McDowall’s most notable film credit was as a washed-up movie star in the acclaimed horror film Fright Night (1985).

Toward the end of his prolific career, McDowall lent his voice to a number of animated series, including the Darkwing Duck (1992) and The Adventures of Batman and Robin (1994). In 1998, he provided the voice of Mr. Soil in the Disney/Pixar animated feature A Bug’s Life, which marked his final film role.

McDowall was also an accomplished portrait photographer whose pictures of Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy and Mia Farrow appeared in Look and Life magazines. He published a series of books: Double Exposure (1966), Double Exposure, Take Two (1989), Double Exposure, Take Three (1992) and Double Exposure, Take Four (1993). An active and respected member of the Hollywood community, McDowall served on the executive boards of the Screen Actors Guild and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

McDowall died on October 3, 1998, in Studio City, California, after a long battle with cancer. He was 70 years old.

TELEVISION
The Pirates of Dark Water Niddler (1991-93)
Tales of the Gold Monkey Bon Chance Louie (1982-83)
The Fantastic Journey Dr. Jonathan Willoway (1977)
Planet of the Apes Galen (1974)

FILMOGRAPHY AS DIRECTOR
The Devil’s Widow (Dec-1970)

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
A Bug’s Life (14-Nov-1998) [VOICE]
Something to Believe In (8-May-1998)
The Second Jungle Book: Mowgli & Baloo (16-May-1997)
Unlikely Angel (17-Dec-1996)
Dead Man’s Island (5-Mar-1996)
It’s My Party (11-Jan-1996)
Last Summer in the Hamptons (13-Sep-1995) · Thomas
The Grass Harp (10-Sep-1995)
Star Hunter (1995)
The Color of Evening (1994)
Double Trouble (14-Feb-1992) · Philip Chamberlain
Deadly Game (10-Jul-1991)
Shakma (1990) · Sorenson
Going Under (1990)
The Big Picture (15-Sep-1989)
Cutting Class (Jul-1989)
Around the World in 80 Days (16-Apr-1989)
Fright Night Part II (11-Jan-1989)
Doin’ Time on Planet Earth (1988)
Overboard (16-Dec-1987) · Andrew
Dead of Winter (6-Feb-1987)
GoBots: War of the Rock Lords (21-Mar-1986) [VOICE]
Alice in Wonderland (9-Dec-1985)
Fright Night (2-Aug-1985)
Class of 1984 (20-Aug-1982)
Mae West (2-May-1982)
Evil Under the Sun (5-Mar-1982) · Rex Brewster
Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen (Feb-1981)
The Return of the King (11-May-1980) [VOICE]
The Martian Chronicles (27-Jan-1980)
Scavenger Hunt (21-Dec-1979)
Circle of Iron (14-Dec-1978)
The Thief of Baghdad (23-Nov-1978)
The Cat from Outer Space (9-Jun-1978)
Rabbit Test (9-Apr-1978)
Laserblast (1-Mar-1978) · Dr. Mellon
Sixth and Main (1977)
Flood! (24-Nov-1976)
Embryo (21-May-1976)
Mean Johnny Barrows (Jan-1976)
Funny Lady (15-Mar-1975) · Bobby
Arnold (16-Nov-1973)
Battle for the Planet of the Apes (15-Jun-1973) · Caesar
The Legend of Hell House (15-Jun-1973) · Ben Fischer
The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (18-Dec-1972)
The Poseidon Adventure (12-Dec-1972) · Acres
Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (29-Jun-1972) · Caesar
Bedknobs and Broomsticks (11-Nov-1971)
A Taste of Evil (12-Oct-1971)
Escape from the Planet of the Apes (21-May-1971) · Cornelius
Pretty Maids All in a Row (28-Apr-1971)
Angel, Angel, Down We Go (19-Aug-1969)
Hello Down There (25-Jun-1969)
Midas Run (7-May-1969)
5 Card Stud (31-Jul-1968)
Planet of the Apes (8-Feb-1968) · Cornelius
The Cool Ones (12-Apr-1967) · Tony
The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin (3-Mar-1967)
It! (Nov-1966)
The Defector (20-Oct-1966) · Adams
Lord Love a Duck (21-Feb-1966) · Alan Musgrave
Inside Daisy Clover (17-Feb-1966) · Baines
That Darn Cat! (2-Dec-1965)
The Loved One (11-Oct-1965) · D. J. Jr.
The Third Day (4-Aug-1965)
The Greatest Story Ever Told (15-Feb-1965) · Matthew
Shock Treatment (22-Jul-1964) · Martin Ashley
Cleopatra (12-Jun-1963) · Octavian
The Longest Day (Sep-1962) · Pvt. Morris
The Power and the Glory (29-Oct-1961)
Midnight Lace (13-Oct-1960) · Malcolm
The Subterraneans (23-Jun-1960)
The Tempest (3-Feb-1960)
Killer Shark (19-Mar-1950) · Ted
Tuna Clipper (10-Apr-1949)
Kidnapped (28-Nov-1948) · David Balfour
Macbeth (1-Oct-1948)
Holiday in Mexico (15-Aug-1946) · Stanley Owen
Molly and Me (25-May-1945) · Jimmy Graham
Thunderhead: Son of Flicka (15-Mar-1945) · Ken McLaughlin
The Keys of the Kingdom (15-Dec-1944) · Francis Chisholm
The White Cliffs of Dover (11-May-1944) · John Ashwood II
Lassie Come Home (10-Oct-1943) · Joe Carraclough
My Friend Flicka (26-May-1943)
The Pied Piper (8-Jul-1942)
Son of Fury (29-Jan-1942) · Benjamin
Confirm or Deny (19-Nov-1941)
How Green Was My Valley (28-Oct-1941) · Huw
Man Hunt (13-Jun-1941) · Vaner
Saloon Bar (2-Nov-1940)
Just William (20-Jul-1940)

Source: Roddy McDowall – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Source: Roddy McDowall – Film Actor – Biography.com

Source: Roddy McDowall, 70, Dies; Child Star and Versatile Actor – The New York Times

Source: Roddy McDowall

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