Trevor Howard





Trevor Howard.

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Trevor Howard



1913 - 1988.

"I've been number two in films for donkey's years"
- Trevor Howard

British actor Trevor Howard (born Trevor Wallace Howard-Smith) was born on the 29th September 1913 at Cliftonville, Kent, UK. He trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and while there he made his London stage debut in 1934; however, his subsequent work onstage gained little attention until the mid-'40s. While fighting in World War II with the Royal Artillery, he was injured and honorably discharged.

Howard made his feature film debut in 1944 in The Way Ahead. He soon attained star status as the result of playing the romantic lead in David Lean's Brief Encounter (1945). His intense yet underplayed turn as one of the lovers has helped in making this film a classic despite the fact that the movie (in particularly the language) now seems dated.


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Thus began a long and consistently successful film career. At first, Howard was cast in romantic leads, and though he was 6ft 1 feet tall and pleasant looking he was hardly the typical matinee idol of the day. And though he began playing more heroic leads he eventually moved into character roles.

He was particularly memorable memorable in The Third Man (1949, as the tightlipped police major).

Regardless of his role, he was known as a consistent, polished actor with an understated, true-to-life style. At first appearing exclusively in British films, he began appearing occasionally in Hollywood productions in the mid-'50s. For his performance as the drunken Walter Morel in this D. H. Lawrence adaptation in Sons and Lovers (1960) he received a Best Actor Oscar nomination.

As Captain Bligh in Mutiny on the Bounty, Howard was dependable, convincing and a refreshing relief to Marlon Brando's foppish, all over the place Flether.

Other highlights in the 60s and 70s were The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968, as Lord Cardigan), Mary, Queen of Scots (1971, as Lord Burleigh), Pope Joan (1972, as Pope Leo), Ludwig (1973, as Richard Wagner), and A Doll's House (also 1973, with Jane Fonda; as Dr. Rank).

But he appeared in a lot of mediocre films during his later years which were undeserving of his talent. But even these are worth watching because he is in them. For me, he is an important actor in the development of British cinema in the 20th century. No matter how poor the film, he gives his role a touch of understated class which his more celebrated contempories like Olivier and Richardson could not convey in the poor films they made toward the end of their days. The subtlety of his acting puts Olivier to shame.

If you asked Howard the time he would tell you; if you asked Olivier he would draw you a sundial.

A very private man, he declined to receive a British honour.

He was married to the actress Helen Cherry, from 1944 until his death. They appeared together in the film A Soldier for Christmas (1944).

He died of influenza and bronchitis on the 7th January 1988 at Bushey, Hertfordshire, UK.


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Trevor Howard Dvds

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