Kenneth More CBE
(1912 - 1982)

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He 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 try.

He 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.’

After 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.

  

As 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.’

 

This 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.


 


 








 

 





 

 

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