The Info List - Alvin Rakoff

Alvin Rakoff
Alvin Rakoff
(born February 18, 1927) is a Canadian television, stage, and film director[1] who has spent the bulk of his career in England and directed more than 100 television plays, as well as a dozen feature films and numerous stage productions. Among other awards, he is twice winner of the International Emmy Award, for A Voyage Round My Father, starring Laurence Olivier, and Call Me Daddy, starring Donald Pleasence.


1 Early life 2 Career 3 Personal life 4 Filmography

4.1 Feature films (director) 4.2 Television (director) 4.3 Writing (television, films, books) 4.4 Theatre credits (director)

5 References 6 External links

Early life[edit] His mother came from Rovno
in Ukraine, his father was from Voronezh
in Russia. His parents met in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is the third of seven children. His parents had a shop in what is now known as Kensington Market. After graduation from the University of Toronto
he became a journalist and then began writing for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's nascent television. He was seconded by the CBC to visit "the country where TV first started, England". Days after arriving he sold a script to the British Broadcasting Corporation, at the time the only television broadcaster in the UK. The BBC
subsequently invited him to join their television directors' training course. At 26 years of age he became the youngest producer/director in the BBC
drama department. He decided to continue his career in England.

Wilton House acted as location for Inns of Court during shooting of A Voyage Round My Father (1982). Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
with his feet up taking a well-earned rest with assistant director Shirley Cleghorn looking on.

Career[edit] A BBC
adaptation in 1953 of the Irwin Shaw novel The Troubled Air was his first major writing assignment for television. In 1954 his production of Waiting For Gillian won the Daily Mail's National TV Award with actors Patrick Barr
Patrick Barr
and Anne Crawford
Anne Crawford
also honoured. He subsequently recreated this production in French for transmission throughout France. In 1955 on the night commercial TV first appeared in the UK he was asked by the BBC
to offer the main opposition, The Hole In The Wall with Mervyn Johns
Mervyn Johns
and Sidney Tafler
Sidney Tafler
of which The Times wrote: "Mr Rakoff who seems to be a master of this medium". In his 1957 production Requiem for a Heavyweight he lifted an unknown actor, Sean Connery, from the ranks of walk-ons and gave Connery his first leading role. Also in this production was a young Michael Caine. In 1958 for the BBC
Rakoff adapted, directed, produced Herman Wouk's The Caine Mutiny Court Martial. In 1962 the BBC
asked Rakoff to produce/direct its entry for the European-wide 'The Largest Theatre In The World' written especially for the occasion by Terence Rattigan
Terence Rattigan
and called Heart to Heart, with Kenneth More
Kenneth More
and Ralph Richardson. In 1964 when the new channel BBC
2 was launched Rakoff was selected to direct plays filling the first three Sunday-night drama slots (The Seekers). He won his first Emmy award in 1967 for Call Me Daddy, which had featured Donald Pleasence, and 15 years later won it again for A Voyage Round My Father
A Voyage Round My Father
(Laurence Olivier, Alan Bates, and Jane Asher
Jane Asher
took the leads) which he produced and directed. His production of The Adventures of Don Quixote (1973) with Rex Harrison
Rex Harrison
and Frank Finlay
Frank Finlay
achieved international praise.[citation needed] In his 1978 production of Romeo & Juliet for the BBC
Television Shakespeare series he gave an unknown actor his first professional role: the actor was Alan Rickman
Alan Rickman
In 1997 he produced/co-directed (with Christopher Morahan) the award-winning A Dance to the Music of Time with John Gielgud, Simon Russell Beale, and Miranda Richardson. His films include On Friday at Eleven (a.k.a. World in My Pocket
World in My Pocket
in the U.S., originally An einem Freitag um halb zwölf) starring Rod Steiger; Say Hello to Yesterday
Say Hello to Yesterday
(1970), which he also wrote, featured Jean Simmons
Jean Simmons
and Leonard Whiting; Hoffman starred Peter Sellers; City on Fire, which he co-wrote, starred Henry Fonda, Ava Gardner, and Shelley Winters. His recent writing includes: Too Marvelous For Words, the story of lyricist Johnny Mercer
Johnny Mercer
presented at The Mill Theatre, Sonning, and King's Head Theatre, London. He has written three novels. His first, & Gillian, a romantic odyssey, was translated into 10 languages. His second, Baldwin Street, based on early days in his parents' shop in the Jewish market in Toronto, was published in 2008. The Seven Einsteins, a third novel, is a genetic thriller published in 2014. A successful adaptation of Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep
The Big Sleep
was produced in 2012. Currently Rakoff is developing and writing An Act of Love for Shooting Script Films Ltd. His theatre work ranges from Hamlet
at Bristol Old Vic
Bristol Old Vic
to Charity Cruise performance at the Royal Albert Hall
Albert Hall
before Her Majesty the Queen, and continues with his association with The Mill Theatre, Sonning, directing productions of Separate Tables
Separate Tables
with Anthony Valentine and his own adaptation of Chandler's The Big Sleep. In 2010 Rakoff directed A Sentimental Journey, the story of Doris Day, at Wilton's Music Hall, London, and subsequently (2012) El Portal Theater, Hollywood. He is a former president of the Directors Guild of Great Britain. Personal life[edit] Alvin Rakoff
Alvin Rakoff
married his frequent leading lady, actress Jacqueline Hill in 1958. She died in 1993. He has two children; Sasha, a charity executive, and John, a writer; and four grandchildren. On December 7, 2013 he married Sally Hughes, Managing Director of The Mill Theatre, Sonning. Filmography[edit] Feature films (director)[edit]

Year Film Cast

1959 The Treasure of San Teresa Eddie Constantine

1961 World in My Pocket Rod Steiger

1964 The Comedy Man Kenneth More

1968 Crossplot Roger Moore

1969 Hoffman Peter Sellers

1970 Say Hello to Yesterday Jean Simmons, Leonard Whiting

1979 City on Fire Henry Fonda, Ava Gardner, Shelley Winters

1979 King Solomon's Treasure David McCallum, Patrick Macnee. Britt Ekland

1980 Death Ship George Kennedy, Richard Crenna, Nick Mancuso

1981 Dirty Tricks Elliott Gould

Television (director)[edit]

Year Title Cast

1953 Holiday Girl Mantovani Orchestra

1953 Starlight

1953 A Place of Execution

1953 Strictly Personal

1953 The Emperor Jones by Eugene O'Neill

1954 Willie the Squouse

1954 The Lover Diana Wynyard

1954 Waiting for Gillian Patrick Barr, Anne Crawford
Anne Crawford
(National Television Award)

1955 Waiting for Gillian (French TV version form Paris, re-titled Un Chemin Dans La Nuit)

1954 The Face of Love Peter Cushing, Mary Morris, George Rose

1954 Return to the River

1954 The Good Partners

1954 Tyrant's Tower

1954 Teckman Biography by Francis Durbridge

1955 Three Empty Rooms by Reginald Rose Jacqueline Hill

1955 The New Executive

1955 The Hole in the Wall Mervyn Johns, Sidney Tafler

1955 Thunder in the Realm (Canada)

1955 The Legend of Pepito Sam Wanamaker, Jacqueline Hill

1956 The Reclining Figure Donald Wolfit

1956 For the Defence

1956 The Condemned André Morell, Sean Connery

1956 Epitaph Trevor Howard, Leo McKern

1956 The Seat of the Scornful Basil Sydney, Finlay Currie, Jacqueline Hill

1956 No Man's Land Alec McCowen

1957 Dial 999 (series)

1957 The Staring Match

1957 Requiem for a Heavyweight Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Warren Mitchell

1957 Our Town Heather Sears

1958 The Caine Mutiny Court Martial

1958 Breakdown Nigel Davenport, Roger Livesey

1958 Man in the Corner

1959 Velvet Alley Sam Wanamaker, Jacqueline Hill

1959 The Ransom of Red Chief (USA) William Bendix, Hans Conreid

1959 The Dark Side of the Earth

1960 The Leather Jungle Freddie Mills, Neil McCallum

1960 A Town Has Turned to Dust Rod Steiger

1960 Come In Razor Red Richard Harris

1961 Joker's Justice Dan Massey, Leo McKern

1961 The Room by Harold Pinter

1961 A Reason for Staying Anthony Quayle, Denholm Elliott, Warren Mitchell

1962 Heart to Heart by Terence Rattigan
Terence Rattigan
("The Largest Theatre in the World", European Union television drama entry) Kenneth More, Ralph Richardson, Wendy Craig, Jean Marsh

1962 A Quiet Game of Cards Bernard Braden

1962 Call Me Back Alec McCowen

1963 The Remarkable Incident at Carsons Corners

1964 The Seekers Michael Bryant

1964 The Blackpool Trilogy Julia Foster, Nicola Pagett

1965 Court Martial (series) Peter Graves, Bradford Dillman

1966 You'll Know Me by the Stars in My Eyes Jane Asher, Nigel Patrick, Phyllis Calvert

1966 The Move After Checkmate Michael Crawford

1966 The Sweet War Man Kenneth More

1967 The Girl Joss Ackland, Brenda Bruce

1967 The Man Who Understood Women Jane Asher

1967 Call Me Daddy (Emmy Award) Donald Pleasence

1968 Murder Peter Egan

1971 A Kiss is Just a Kiss Keir Dullea

1971 Summer and Smoke Lee Remick

1972 Blur & Blank via Cleckheaton Denholm Elliott

1972 A Man About a Dog

1972 The Adventures of Don Quixote Rex Harrison, Frank Finlay, Rosemary Leach

1973 Shadow of a Gunman Stephen Rea

1973 Harlequinade

1974 Cheap in August Leo McKern, Virginia McKenna

1974 Jan & Tony, "Rooms"

1974 How to Impeach A President (USA)

1974 A Brisk Dip Sagaciously Considered

1974 Shall We Have a King? (USA)

1975 Husband to Mrs Fitzherbert Nicholas Jones

1975 The Nicest Man in the World Celia Johnson

1975 The October Crisis (Canada)

1975 Lulu Street (Canada)

1975 The Liberty Tree Jeremy Irons, Julian Fellowes

1976 The Killers

1976 In Praise of Love Kenneth More, Claire Bloom

1976 Mrs Amsworth Glynis Johns

1976 The Promise

1976 The Dame Of Sark Celia Johnson

1977 The Kitchen Peter Egan, Sinéad Cusack

1978 Romeo & Juliet Alan Rickman, Celia Johnson, Michael Hordern, Jacqueline Hill

1980 The Quiet Days of Mrs Stafford Susan Littler

1981 The Breadwinner Michael Gambon

1982 Disraeli Richard Pasco

1982 A Voyage Round My Father Laurence Olivier, Alan Bates, Jane Asher

1983 Firework For Elspeth Fiona Shaw

1983 Mr Halpern & Mr Johnson Laurence Olivier, Jackie Gleason

1983 A Talent For Murder Laurence Olivier, Angela Lansbury

1984 The First Olympics, Athens 1896 Angela Lansbury, Louis Jordan, David Caruso

1985 Paradise Postponed Zoe Wanamaker, David Threlfall, Michael Hordern, etc.

1989 Haunting Harmony

1990 Gas & Candles

1991/1992 Sam Saturday

1992 The Best Of Friends John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Patrick McGoohan

1997 A Dance to the Music of Time Miranda Richardson, Simon Russell Beale, Alan Bennett, John Gielgud

Writing (television, films, books)[edit]

Year Title Role

1953 The Troubled Air adaptor (TV)

1953 A Flight of Fancy writer (TV)

1953 Our Town adaptor (TV)

1954 Waiting for Gillian co-adaptor (TV)

1958 The Caine Mutiny Court Martial adaptor (TV)

1970 Say Hello To Yesterday writer (film)

1973 A Man About Dog adaptor (TV)

1973 Shadow Of A Gunman adaptor (TV)

1978 City On Fire co-writer (film)

1991/92 Sam Saturday creator (TV series)

1996 & Gillian (novel, Little Brown)

2001/02 Too Marvelous For Words writer (musical)

2008 Baldwin Street (novel, Bunim & Bannigan, New York)

2012 The Big Sleep
The Big Sleep
by Raymond Chandler (stage adaptation)

2014 The Seven Einsteins (novel, Author House)

Theatre credits (director)[edit] 1965 - Hamlet, Bristol Old Vic
Bristol Old Vic
(Richard Pasco, Barbara Leigh Hunt, Margaret Courtney, etc.) 1982 - Celia Johnson
Celia Johnson
Theatre fund, Aldwych Theatre (Ralph Richardson, Jeremy Irons, Richard Briers, etc.) 1984 - Cruise Charity, Albert Hall
Albert Hall
(Richard Briers, John Gielgud, Penelope Keith, Wayne Sleep, etc.) 1995 – Stage Struck by Simon Gray, The Mill at Sonning (Nicholas Jones) 2001-2002 – Too Marvelous For Words: The Story of Lyricist Johnny Mercer (written and directed) The Mill at Sonning 2002 – Too Marvelous For Words, King's Head Theatre, London 2004 – I Remember You by Bernard Slade, The Mill at Sonning 2005 – Separate Tables
Separate Tables
by Terence Rattigan, The Mill at Sonning (Anthony Valentine, Glynis Barber) 2007 – Same Time Next Year by Bernard Slade, The Mill at Sonning (Steven Pacey, Shona Lindsay) 2009 – A Sentimental Journey, The Story of Doris Day. The Mill at Sonning (Sally Hughes, Glyn Kerslake) 2010 – A Sentimental Journey, The Story of Doris Day. Wilton's, London 2011 - The Big Sleep
The Big Sleep
by Raymond Chandler. The world's first stage adaptation of the famous crime novel. Adapted with his son John D. Rakoff. 2011 - A Sentimental Journey, The Story of Doris Day
Doris Day
- Edinburgh Festival; The Mill at Sonning; El Portal
Theater, Los Angeles. References[edit]

^ Mayer, Geoff (2004). Roy Ward Baker. Manchester University Press. p. 41. ISBN 9780719063541. Retrieved October 19, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Alvin Rakoff
Alvin Rakoff
on IMDb

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 74682259 LCCN: no95030047 ISNI: 0000 0001 2066 2923 SUDOC: 059818999 BNF: cb125715200 (data) SN


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