Sir John Mills (1908 - 2005)
He was one of Britain's best known and best loved actors, and
he died on Saturday, 23 April, 2005 aged 97 after a short illness
Veteran British actor Sir John Mills, one of the country's most beloved and best-known screen stars, died, Saturday,
23 April, 2005 at 6:30am (12:30 a.m. CDT) aged 97 after a short illness, a member of his staff said. The
former song-and-dance man, who appeared in more than 100 films in a 70-plus year career, was among the most notable of British
film stars, winning a best supporting actor Oscar in 1971 for"Ryan's Daughter".
"Sir John Mills died peacefully at home after a
short illness," a member of his staff said.
The actor's family was travelling to Britain from the United States and was expected to arrive by Monday, the BBC reported
Mills, whose daughter Hayley has also had a highly successful acting career, was born on Feb. 22, 1908 in Felixstowe,
eastern England, John Lewis Mills started in the theater at the age of 19, helped in part by his friendship with Noel Coward.
His output in the 1940s and 1950s was prolific. During his long career he appeared in more than 100 films
Mills made his name in patriotic films during and after World War II including "The October Man," "Scott of the Antarctic,"
"Dunkirk" and "Ice Cold in Alex."
Handsome and dapper, he embodied to many the archetypal British war hero, either as the cool-headed gentleman officer or
the resigned working class soldier.
His first big break came in 1946, when he played Pip in a film version of Charles Dickens' novel "Great Expectations."
He always maintained his favorite movie was the 1960 production "Tunes of Glory," in which he co-starred with Alec Guinness
as a highly-strung English officer given the job of leading a hostile Scottish army battalion.
He won the best actor award at the Venice Festival for the film and went on to take an Oscar as best supporting actor a
decade later for "Ryan's Daughter," directed by David Lean.
A versatile actor, Mills had a minor role in the 1987 film "Who's that Girl?" and made his final film appearance in
2003 in "Bright Young Things," directed by British comedian Stephen Fry. In it, at the age of 95, he had a cameo role as a
man snorting cocaine at a party.
He fathered one of Britain's leading theatrical families. Both his daughters, Juliet and Hayley, are successful actresses
who found their stage feet at an early age in some of their father's productions. Sir John starred with Hayley in the 1959
film Tiger Bay.
Mills, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1977, was divorced from his first wife, the actress Aileen Raymond, in 1940
after nine years of marriage. He is survived by his second wife, Mary Hayley Bell, his daughters Juliet and Hayley, and his son Jonathan.
|Great Expectations 1946
Great Expectations (1946, A Cineguild Production for J. Arthur Rank) Producer: Ronald Neame.
Executive Producer: Anthony Havelock-Allan. Screenplay: David Lean, Ronald Neame, Anthony Havelock-Allan with Kay Walsh and
Cecil McGivern, based on the novel by Charles Dickens. Director of Photography: Guy Green. Production Designer: John Bryan.
Music: Walter Goehr and [uncredited] Kenneth Pakeman. Editor: Jack Harris. Cast: John Mills ("Pip"), Valerie
Hobson (Estella), Bernard Miles (Joe Gargery), Francis L. Sullivan (Jaggers), Finlay Currie (Magwitch), Martita Hunt (Miss
Havisham), Anthony Wager ("Pip" as a boy), Jean Simmons (Estella as a girl), Alec Guinness (Herbert
Pocket), Ivor Barnard
(Wemmick), Freda Jackson (Mrs. Joe Gargery), Torin Thatcher (Bentley Drummle). Running time: 118 minutes. Distribution: General
Film Distributors (G.B.); Universal-International (U.S.). Released December 26, 1946 (G.B.); April 24, 1947 (U.S.). Filmed
from September, 1945 to April, 1946 at Denham Studios and on location around London (Rochester and the Thames Estuary) at
a cost of £385,000. Academy Awards® for black and white Cinematography and Art Direction; nominations for Best
Picture, Director, and Screenplay.
Sir John Mills, one of Britain's
best-loved actors and the
star of over 100 films, has
died at the age of 97.
Lord Richard Attenborough has
led tributes to his close
friend, Sir John Mills
For nearly 70 years, Sir John Mills
enjoyed a reputation as one
of Britain's finest actors. Building
a catalogue of mild-mannered
but iron-willed film characters
his youth, he made his name
both on stage and television.
Sir John Mills always conveyed
the heroism and humility
of a very English
a very English actor,
his name in a string of patriotic
an article by Nick Higham, BBC News
Actor Sir John Mills has been given
a special honour by the
British Academy of Film and Television Arts
(Bafta) to mark his contribution
to cinema during a career spanning
more than 60 years.
BBC Breakfast with Frost
15 September 2002
Actor Sir John Mills launched
a documentary, written and
produced by his son, charting
25 years of his life.
Tuesday, 21 November, 2000
Actor Sir John Mills and his wife Mary
have renewed their wedding vows
at their local church, 60 years
after they first wed.
16 January, 2001
| John Mills married Mary Bell at Marylebone Registery Office in 1941
an article at the reliable
Star Archives website
Film & TV credits
at the British Film Institute
Sir John Mills'
life told through his
own colour home movies!
|They renewed their wedding vows in church in 2001