was both a lively and highly affable man who was both a realist in acting
and an idealist in life. At the height of his fame in the 1950s he was
one of Britain's most popular film stars and had appeared
in a string of box office hits.
Born in Buckinghamshire on the 20th September 1914, Mores
early grounding was in both variety and classical theatre in Britain.
He had set his cap upon becoming a civil engineer, but the death of
his father, which left behind a legacy of debts, ended that dream. After
working as a Canadian fur trapper, Kenneth decided to give acting a
was a shrewd man when it came to the business of acting, he knew both
his limitations and what roles suited him best. When the director Sir
Peter Hall once suggested that he play Claudius to Albert Finney's Hamlet
at the Royal National Theatre, More declined saying,
‘One part of me would like to, but the other part
said that there were so many great Shakespearian actors who could have
done it better. I stick to the roles I can play better than them.’
serving in World War II as a Naval Lieutenant, he began building a reputation
as a reliable leading man in both London and regional repertory. His
official screen debut was 1948's Scott of the Antarctic, though he'd
played bits in a brace of '30s films.
was the want in the 1950s he had many acting jobs playing British military
officers (similiar to both Sir John Mills and Jack Hawkins), After reading
'Reach for the Sky', the biography of the legless wartime pilot Douglas
Bader, he was desperate to play the role, even though Richard Burton
had been asked to play Bader.
‘I knew I was the only actor who could play the part properly’ he
said. ‘Most parts that can be played by one actor can equally well be
played by another, but not this. Bader's philosophy was my philosophy.
His whole attitude to life was mine.’
became his most memorable film – and most famous role. Not an easy character
to encapsulate - but Kenneth managed to admirably, as one would expect.
The acting was superb and the gorgeous Muriel Pavlow looked surprisingly
similar to the real Thelma Bader. The film captures the very determined
spirit of Douglas as he struggles to come to terms with his appalling
injuries and few other actors could have carried it so well.