British actor Malcolm McDowell was born Malcolm John Taylor on June 13, 1943, in Leeds, West Yorkshire. Possibly best known for his portrayal of Alex DeLarge in A Clockwork Orange (1971), Malcolm McDowell began his professional life serving drinks in his parentsí pub and then as a coffee salesman. While enrolled in Cannock House School, he began taking acting classes, and eventually he secured work as an extra with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He made his screen debut in Poor Cow (1967) – although his 2-min. scene was ultimately cut from the completed film – followed by If (1968) by Lindsay Anderson, The Raging Moon (1970) and Figures in a Landscape (1970).
“I want this guy !” Kubrick said
His performances caught the attention of Stanley Kubrick, who cast him as the lead in A Clockwork Orange. Despite winning great acclaim (nominated for Best Actor by the New York Film Critics Circle) for his role as the leader of a gang of futuristic toughs, the role created a characterization so unforgettable that the public had a hard time separating actor from character.
He rejoined Lindsay Anderson for the ambitious O Lucky Man (1973) and Britannia Hospital (1982) and starred in Royal Flash (1975). McDowell regularly turned up on British Television productions in the early 1970s in adaptations of theatre classics. He co-starred in Voyage of the Damned (1976) and made a favourable Hollywood-movie debut as H.G. Wells in Time after Time (1979). McDowell played mainly villainous parts in the late 1970s and 1980s – none more notorious than the title character in the controversial Caligula (1979). He also appeared in the 1982 remake of Cat People.
The man who killed Captain Kirk
He is also well known in Star Trek circles as “the man who killed Captain Kirk” in the film Star Trek : Generations (1994), in which he played the mad scientist Dr. Tolian Soran. Incidentally, McDowell is also the uncle of Star Trek : Deep Space Nine cast member Alexander Siddig. He was back on the track playing villains again…
McDowell played himself in Robert Altmanís The Player (1992), appearing in a cameo role in which he chastises protagonist Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins) for badmouthing him behind his back. McDowell also had a part in the computer games Wing Commander III and Wing Commander IV as Admiral Geoffrey Tolwyn, co-starring next to Mark Hamill. He also played Mr. Roarke (formely played by Ricardo Montalban) in the short lived 1998 remake of Fantasy Island. Teaming up with Altman once again in 2003, McDowell convincingly portrayed fictional artistic director Alberto Antonelli in The Company, an intimate portrait of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. In 2005 McDowell played vicious agency owner Terence in the HBO series Entourage. Terence returns from retirement to try to lure the showís main character, Vincent Chase, from his current agent and Terenceís partner, Ari Gold.
Some actors play King Arthur, others do Merlin. He is both !
In 2006 he was a special guest star on Law and Order : Criminal Intent as radio mogul Jonas Slaughter, who admits to killing one of his sons and manipulates the other into a dying declaration confession to save his own life. He also appeared in Monk as an arrogant fashion photographer who committed cold blooded murder. He is one of only two actors to portray both King Arthur and Merlin in a movie based on Arthurian legend (the other is Sir John Gielgud).
The Jules Verne Adventure Film Festival is proud to have legendary actor Malcolm McDowell host the first edition at the Shrine Auditorium, Dec. 5th to 15th/