Sunday, September 17, 2017
Born On This Day -- Actor Roddy McDowall
Roddy McDowall was born today, September 17, 1928. He was a prolific English-American actor, voice artist, film director and photographer. He is best known for portraying Cornelius and Caesar in the original Planet of the Apes film series, as well as Galen in the spin-off television series. He began his acting career as a child in England, and then in the United States, in How Green Was My Valley (1941), My Friend Flicka (1943) and Lassie Come Home(1943).
As an adult, McDowall appeared most frequently as a character actor on radio, stage, film, and television. Titles include The Longest Day (1962), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), That Darn Cat!(1965), Inside Daisy Clover (1968), Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971), The Poseidon Adventure (1972), Funny Lady(1975), The Black Hole (1979), Class of 1984 (1982), Fright Night (1985), Overboard (1987), Fright Night Part 2 (1988) and A Bug's Life (1998). He also served in various positions on the Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Selection Committee for the Kennedy Center Honors, further contributing to various charities related to the film industry and film preservation.
He won both an Emmy Award (1961, for NBC Sunday Showcase) and a Tony Award (1961 in The Fighting Cock) and appeared on such television series as the original The Twilight Zone, The Eleventh Hour, Twelve O'Clock High, The Invaders, The Carol Burnett Show, Columbo (1972, "Short Fuse"), Night Gallery, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Mork & Mindy, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Hart to Hart, Tales of the Gold Monkey, Hotel, Murder, She Wrote and Quantum Leap. He also appeared frequently on game shows.
Although McDowall made no public statements about his sexual orientation during his lifetime, several authors have claimed that he was discreetly gay.
He died from lung cancer at his home on October 3, 1998.