The Info List - Leo McKern

Reginald "Leo" McKern, AO (16 March 1920 – 23 July 2002) was an Australian actor who appeared in numerous British, Australian and American television programmes and films, and in more than 200 stage roles. Notable roles he portrayed include Clang in Help! (1965), Thomas Cromwell
Thomas Cromwell
in A Man for All Seasons
A Man for All Seasons
(1966), Tom Ryan in Ryan's Daughter (1970), Paddy Button in The Blue Lagoon (1980), Dr. Grogan in The French Lieutenant's Woman
The French Lieutenant's Woman
(1981), Father Imperius in Ladyhawke (1985) and, in the role that made him a household name as an actor, Horace Rumpole, whom he played in Rumpole of the Bailey. He also portrayed Carl Bugenhagen in the first and second installments of The Omen series.


1 Early life 2 Career

2.1 Theatre 2.2 Film 2.3 Television

2.3.1 Rumpole of the Bailey

2.4 Commercial work 2.5 Radio

3 Death 4 Personal life 5 Selected filmography 6 References 7 External links

Early life[edit] McKern was born in Sydney, New South Wales, the son of Vera (née Martin) and Norman Walton McKern. He attended Sydney
Technical High School.[1] After an accident at the age of 15, he lost his left eye.[2] He first worked as an engineering apprentice, then as an artist, followed by service as a sapper with the Australian Army's Royal Australian Engineers
Royal Australian Engineers
during World War II.[3] In 1944, in Sydney, he performed in his first stage role. Career[edit] Theatre[edit] Having fallen in love with Australian actress Jane Holland, McKern moved to the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
to be with her; they married in 1946. He soon became a regular performer at London's Old Vic
Old Vic
theatre and the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre (now the Royal Shakespeare Theatre) in Stratford-upon-Avon, despite the difficulties posed by his glass eye and Australian accent. McKern's most notable Shakespearean role was as Iago
in Othello, in 1952. In 1955 he appeared in "The Burnt Flower Bed" by Ugo Betti directed by Peter Hall at the Arts Theatre Club in London. He played Big Daddy in Peter Hall's production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
at the Comedy Theatre in 1958 and went on to play the German ambassador in another Peter Hall production, Brouhaha starring Peter Sellers at the Aldwych Theatre. He originated the role of Common Man in Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons
A Man for All Seasons
in the West End in 1960, but for the show's Broadway production appeared as Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex, a role he would reprise for the 1966 film version. He also portrayed Subtle in Ben Jonson's The Alchemist in 1962. In 1965, he played the eponymous villain in Bolt's The Thwarting of Baron Bolligrew, and Disson in Harold Pinter's Tea Party. He appeared at the Royal Exchange, Manchester
Royal Exchange, Manchester
in Uncle Vanya
Uncle Vanya
in 1977 and in Crime and Punishment
Crime and Punishment
in 1978. Film[edit] McKern's film debut was in Murder in the Cathedral (1952). His other more notable film appearances included the science-fiction classics X the Unknown (1956), The Day the Earth Caught Fire
The Day the Earth Caught Fire
(1961), the World War I drama King and Country
King and Country
(1964), Help! (1965), the Academy Award-winning adaptation of A Man for All Seasons
A Man for All Seasons
(1966), The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968), Ryan's Daughter
Ryan's Daughter
(1970), Massacre in Rome
Massacre in Rome
(1973), The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (1975), The Omen (1976), The Blue Lagoon (1980), The French Lieutenant's Woman
The French Lieutenant's Woman
(1981) and Ladyhawke (1985). He was presented with the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actor
in a Leading Role for Travelling North (1987). In Monsignor Quixote
Monsignor Quixote
(1985), he co-starred as Sancho Zancas opposite Alec Guinness
Alec Guinness
as Father Quixote. Television[edit] One of McKern's earliest television roles was in the 1950s black-and-white series The Adventures of Robin Hood (as Sir Roger DeLisle, usurper of the Locksley manor and lands, and Herbert of Doncaster, a corrupt moneylender). During the 1960s, he was one of several Number Twos in the groundbreaking and critically acclaimed TV series The Prisoner. Along with Colin Gordon, McKern was one of only two actors to play Number Two more than once. He first played the character in the episodes "The Chimes of Big Ben" and "Once Upon a Time", and later reprised the role in the final episode, "Fall Out". The filming of "Once Upon a Time" proved to be a particularly intense experience for McKern; according to one biographer, the stress caused him to suffer either a nervous breakdown or a heart attack (accounts differ), forcing production to stop for a time.[4] In 1976 McKern narrated and presented The Battle of the Somme, a British Broadcasting Corporation documentary produced to mark the 60th anniversary of World War I battle. He played the Earl of Gloucester in the Granada Television production of King Lear (1983) with Sir Laurence Olivier. In 1983 also starring in most episodes of the mini-series 'Reilly, Ace of Spies' as 'Zaharov', director of Vickers with Sam Neill. Rumpole of the Bailey[edit] In 1975, McKern made his first appearance in the role that would make him a household name as an actor, Horace Rumpole, whom he played in Rumpole of the Bailey, originally an episode of the BBC's Play for Today. A series of the same name, comprising 44 episodes, was produced for ITV between 1978 and 1992. According to Mortimer, "he not only played the character Rumpole—he added to it, brightened it and brought it fully to life."[5] Although he enjoyed the role, McKern expressed doubts about its popularity and the extent to which his life was becoming intertwined with Rumpole's. "McKern was often unhappy, decrying his television fame as an "insatiable monster". He stressed that his Peer Gynt
Peer Gynt
was a greater performance and lamented: "If I get an obit in any paper, they will say, '.. of course, known to millions as Rumpole.'"[6] In the later series, his daughter Abigail McKern joined the cast as Liz Probert. Commercial work[edit] In 1987, investment firm Smith Barney
Smith Barney
selected McKern to succeed John Houseman as its spokesman. At the same time, Smith Barney's corporate advertising department decided to change the format of its television advertisements, the first of which featuring McKern airing in September 1987.[7] McKern's advertisements were not as popular with the viewing public as Houseman's, and in 1989, Smith Barney
Smith Barney
switched to a campaign featuring the voice of American actor George C. Scott. In the 1990s, McKern appeared in a series of advertisements for Lloyds Bank, widely shown on British television, in which he portrayed a character reminiscent of Rumpole. Radio[edit] McKern wrote one radio play, which became the film Chain of Events (1958). He also provided the voice of Captain Haddock in the 1992 and 1993 BBC Radio
BBC Radio
adaptation of Hergé's The Adventures of Tintin. Death[edit] Suffering in his final years from ill health McKern moved into a nursing home near Bath in Somerset
in 2002, where he died a few weeks later in his 83rd year. His body was cremated at Haycombe Cemetery in Bath. Personal life[edit] In 1983, McKern was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia
Order of Australia
for his services to the performing arts.[8] He frequently travelled between England and Australia both to visit family and friends, and to appear in various films and plays. As he was frightened of flying, he booked tickets to travel on cargo ships. This gave him time and peace to read scripts and contracts, with the added benefit of feeling he was on holidays. McKern informed his daughter Abigail that he suffered from stage fright, which became harder to control with age. He also worried that his stout frame would not appeal to audiences. In 1997 he appeared in a party political broadcast for the United Kingdom Independence Party.[9] McKern and his wife Jane Holland had two daughters. Selected filmography[edit]

Murder in the Cathedral (1952) - Third Knight All for Mary
All for Mary
(1955) - Gaston Nikopopoulos The Adventures of Robin Hood (1955) ("The Coming of Robin Hood") - Sir Roger DeLisle, "The Moneylender") - Herbert of Doncaster X the Unknown
X the Unknown
(1956) - Police Inspector McGill Time Without Pity
Time Without Pity
(1957) - Robert Stanford Confess, Killer (1957) - Lt Kolski A Tale of Two Cities (1958) - Attorney General Web of Evidence (1959) - McEvoy Yesterday's Enemy
Yesterday's Enemy
(1959) - Max The Mouse That Roared (1958) - Benter, Leader of the Opposition The Running Jumping & Standing Still Film (1959) - (uncredited) Scent of Mystery
Scent of Mystery
(1960) - Tommy Kennedy Jazz Boat
Jazz Boat
(1960) - Inspector Saturday Playhouse "The Man Who Came to Dinner" (1960) - Sheridan Whiteside Mr. Topaze
Mr. Topaze
(1961) - Muche The Day the Earth Caught Fire
The Day the Earth Caught Fire
(1961) – Bill Maguire The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1962) - Dr. Clitterhouse The Inspector
The Inspector
(1962) - Brandt Doctor in Distress (1963) - Harry Heilbronn Hot Enough for June
Hot Enough for June
(1964) - Simoneva A Jolly Bad Fellow
A Jolly Bad Fellow
(1964) - Professor Kerris Bowles-Ottery King & Country (1964) - Captain O'Sullivan The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders
The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders
(1965) - Squint Help! (1965) - High Priest Clang Alice In Wonderland - "The Duchess" in Jonathan Miller's 1966 television adaptation A Man for All Seasons
A Man for All Seasons
(1966) - Thomas Cromwell
Thomas Cromwell
(both Cromwell and Common Man in original play) The Prisoner
The Prisoner
(1967): "The Chimes of Big Ben", "Once Upon a Time" and "Fall Out" - Number Two Assignment K
Assignment K
(1968) - Smith Nobody Runs Forever (1968) - Flannery (uncredited) Decline and Fall... of a Birdwatcher
Decline and Fall... of a Birdwatcher
(1968) - Captain Grimes The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968) - Cardinal Leone Ryan's Daughter
Ryan's Daughter
(1970) - Thomas Ryan Massacre in Rome
Massacre in Rome
(1973) - General Kurt Mälzer The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (1975) - Professor Moriarty Play For Today :"Rumpole of The Bailey" (1975) - Horace Rumpole Space: 1999: "The Infernal Machine" (1976) - Companion / Voice of Gwent The Omen
The Omen
(1976) - Carl Bugenhagen (uncredited) Candleshoe
(1977) - Harry Bundage Damien: Omen II (1978) - Carl Bugenhagen (uncredited) Rumpole of the Bailey
Rumpole of the Bailey
(1978–92) - Horace Rumpole The Nativity (TV 1978) - Herod the Great The Blue Lagoon (1980) - Paddy Button The French Lieutenant's Woman
The French Lieutenant's Woman
(1981) - Dr Grogan Reilly, Ace of Spies (1983) - Basil Zaharoff King Lear (1983) - Earl of Gloucester The Chain (1984) - Thomas Murder with Mirrors
Murder with Mirrors
(1985) - Inspector Curry Ladyhawke (1985) - Imperius Monsignor Quixote
Monsignor Quixote
(1987) - Sancho Zancas Travelling North (1987) - Frank A Foreign Field
A Foreign Field
(1993) - Cyril Dad and Dave: On Our Selection (1995) - Dad (Joseph) Rudd Molokai: The Story of Father Damien
(1999) - Bishop Maigret (final film role)


^ Leo McKern
Leo McKern
Biography (1920–2002) ^ "Australian letters", Sun Books, 1: 1963, 1957, retrieved 18 September 2011  ^ World War II
World War II
Nominal Roll ^ Fairclough, Robert (2002). The Prisoner: The Official Companion to the Classic TV Series. I Books. ISBN 0-7434-5256-9.  ^ [1] New York Times, 24 July 2002 ^ "Expat". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 9 November 2012.  ^ Smith Barney
Smith Barney
In Ad Change – New York Times, 16 September 1987 ^ It's an Honour ^ Daniel, Mark (2005). Cranks and Gadflies: The Story of Ukip. Timewell. ISBN 978-1857252095. 

External links[edit]

Leo McKern
Leo McKern
on IMDb BBC Online: "Rumpole Star McKern Dies" BBC Online Obituary Leo McKern(Aveleyman)

v t e

AACTA Award for Best Actor
in a Leading Role

Bruce Spence
Bruce Spence
(1972) Robert McDarra (1973) Jack Thompson (1974) Martin Vaughan (1975) Simon Burke
Simon Burke
and Nick Tate (1976) John Meillon
John Meillon
(1977) Bill Hunter (1978) Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson
(1979) Jack Thompson (1980) Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson
(1981) Ray Barrett (1982) Norman Kaye (1983) John Hargreaves (1984) Chris Haywood
Chris Haywood
(1985) Colin Friels (1986) Leo McKern
Leo McKern
(1987) John Waters (1988) Sam Neill
Sam Neill
(1989) Max von Sydow
Max von Sydow
(1990) Hugo Weaving
Hugo Weaving
(1991) Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe
(1992) Harvey Keitel
Harvey Keitel
(1993) Nicholas Hope (1994) John Lynch (1995) Geoffrey Rush
Geoffrey Rush
(1996) Richard Roxburgh
Richard Roxburgh
(1997) Hugo Weaving
Hugo Weaving
(1998) Russell Dykstra
Russell Dykstra
(1999) Eric Bana
Eric Bana
(2000) Anthony LaPaglia
Anthony LaPaglia
(2001) David Gulpilil
David Gulpilil
(2002) David Wenham
David Wenham
(2003) Sam Worthington
Sam Worthington
(2004) Hugo Weaving
Hugo Weaving
(2005) Shane Jacobson
Shane Jacobson
(2006) Eric Bana
Eric Bana
(2007) William McInnes (2008) Anthony LaPaglia
Anthony LaPaglia
(2009) Ben Mendelsohn
Ben Mendelsohn
(2010) Daniel Henshall (2011) Chris O'Dowd
Chris O'Dowd
(2012) Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio
(2013) David Gulpilil
David Gulpilil
(2014) Michael Caton
Michael Caton
(2015) Andrew Garfield
Andrew Garfield
(2016) Sunny Pawar (2017)

v t e

National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actor

John Williams (1954) Charles Bickford
Charles Bickford
(1955) Richard Basehart
Richard Basehart
(1956) Sessue Hayakawa
Sessue Hayakawa
(1957) Albert Salmi
Albert Salmi
(1958) Hugh Griffith
Hugh Griffith
(1959) George Peppard
George Peppard
(1960) Jackie Gleason
Jackie Gleason
(1961) Burgess Meredith
Burgess Meredith
(1962) Melvyn Douglas
Melvyn Douglas
(1963) Martin Balsam
Martin Balsam
(1964) Harry Andrews
Harry Andrews
(1965) Robert Shaw (1966) Paul Ford
Paul Ford
(1967) Leo McKern
Leo McKern
(1968) Philippe Noiret
Philippe Noiret
(1969) Frank Langella
Frank Langella
(1970) Ben Johnson (1971) Joel Grey
Joel Grey
/ Al Pacino
Al Pacino
(1972) John Houseman
John Houseman
(1973) Holger Löwenadler
Holger Löwenadler
(1974) Charles Durning
Charles Durning
(1975) Jason Robards
Jason Robards
(1976) Tom Skerritt
Tom Skerritt
(1977) Richard Farnsworth
Richard Farnsworth
(1978) Paul Dooley
Paul Dooley
(1979) Joe Pesci
Joe Pesci
(1980) Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson
(1981) Robert Preston (1982) Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson
(1983) John Malkovich
John Malkovich
(1984) Klaus Maria Brandauer
Klaus Maria Brandauer
(1985) Daniel Day-Lewis
Daniel Day-Lewis
(1986) Sean Connery
Sean Connery
(1987) River Phoenix
River Phoenix
(1988) Alan Alda
Alan Alda
(1989) Joe Pesci
Joe Pesci
(1990) Anthony Hopkins
Anthony Hopkins
(1991) Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson
(1992) Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio
(1993) Gary Sinise
Gary Sinise
(1994) Kevin Spacey
Kevin Spacey
(1995) Edward Norton
Edward Norton
(1996) Greg Kinnear
Greg Kinnear
(1997) Ed Harris
Ed Harris
(1998) Philip Seymour Hoffman
Philip Seymour Hoffman
(1999) Joaquin Phoenix
Joaquin Phoenix
(2000) Jim Broadbent
Jim Broadbent
(2001) Chris Cooper
Chris Cooper
(2002) Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin
(2003) Thomas Haden Church
Thomas Haden Church
(2004) Jake Gyllenhaal
Jake Gyllenhaal
(2005) Djimon Hounsou
Djimon Hounsou
(2006) Casey Affleck
Casey Affleck
(2007) Josh Brolin
Josh Brolin
(2008) Woody Harrelson
Woody Harrelson
(2009) Christian Bale
Christian Bale
(2010) Christopher Plummer
Christopher Plummer
(2011) Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio
(2012) Will Forte
Will Forte
(2013) Edward Norton
Edward Norton
(2014) Sylvester Stallone
Sylvester Stallone
(2015) Jeff Bridges
Jeff Bridges
(2016) Willem Dafoe
Willem Dafoe

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 117438931 LCCN: n84189915 ISNI: 0000 0000 8186 584X GND: 139402691 SUDOC: 079703674 BNF: cb140220358 (data) MusicBrainz: 901b2630-93d7-4522-92f0-1b7d7c0704af BNE: XX1319902 SN