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Malcolm McDowell

Malcolm McDowell

Malcolm McDowell is arguably among the most dynamic and inventive of world-class actors, yet also one capable of immense charm, humor and poignancy. McDowell has created a gallery of iconographic characters since catapulting to the screen as Mick Travis, the rebellious upperclassman in Lindsay Anderson's prize-winning sensation If...

His place in movie history was subsequently secured when Stanley Kubrick finally found the actor he was searching for to play the gleefully amoral 'Alex' in A Clockwork Orange, when McDowell himself conceived the idea for Mick Travis' further adventures in Anderson's Candide-like masterpiece, O Lucky Man!, and when he wooed Mary Steenburgen and defeated Jack the Ripper as the romantically inquisitive H. G. Wells in Time After Time.

Those legendary roles are among the ones that have endured with legions of filmgoers while new adherents have been won over by his tyrannical Soran (who destroys Capt. Kirk) in Star Trek: Generations; his Machiavellian Mr. Roarke in Fantasy Island and his comically pompous professor Steve Pynchon in the critically hailed CBS television seris, Pearl, starring opposite Rhea Perlman. The New York Times called McDowell's surprisingly warm and funny performance the show's freshest element.

For his motion picture work, the American Cinemateque honored him with a retrospective in June 2001, highlighted by showings of his electrifying performances in two major works. The first is Paul McGuigan's Gangster No. 1, in which McDowell and Paul Bettany portray the consumed, driven title character and which affords McDowell the chance to create a character both on screen and through nuanced voice-over.

The second is Russian director Karen Chakhnazarov's acclaimed and rarely seen Assassin of the Tsar, which Vincent Canby called "a remarkable mystical and psychological exploration of the murder of the Romanov family." About McDowell's performance as the conflicted Yurovsky, the man who carried out the crime, The New York Times said, "Not since reaching his mature years has McDowell given such a fine, strong, crafty performance. It is acted with immense skill."

McDowell's 79 distinctive motion picture characterizations include: Richard Lester's Royal Flash, Paul Schrader's Cat People, Rachel Talaley's Tank Girl, Joseph Losey's Figures in a Landscape, Bryan Forbes' The Raging Moon and the Chaplinesque studio boss in Blake Edwards' Sunset.

His film credits are further highlighted by his compellingly sinister Caligula; the brilliant literary editor Maxwell Perkins in Martin Ritt's Cross Creek; his cameo in Robert Altman's The Player; and his final incarnation of Mick Travis in Britannia Hospital, the third film in Anderson's trilogy marking the disintegration of British culture.

McDowell's recent work includes Robert Altman's The Company; Robert Downey Sr's Hugo Pool with Sean Penn, Robert Downey Jr. and Cathy Moriarty; Disney's Mr. Magoo and the Visitors and Hugh Hudson's My Life So Far.


Note: This profile was written in or before 2004.

Malcolm McDowell Facts

Birth NameMalcolm Taylor
OccupationActor
BirthdayJune 15, 1943 (74)
SignGemini
BirthplaceLeeds, England, United Kingdom
Height5' 10½" (1m79)  How tall is Malcolm McDowell compared to you?

Selected Filmography

The List
Symphony Of Red Tape
Silent Symphony
Stern Papa
Bolt
31
Walk of Fame
Easy A
Hidalgo
I Spy
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