Nationality: British. Born: Cliftonville, Kent, 29 September 1916. Education: Attended Clifton College, Bristol; Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London. Military Service: Served in the Royal Artillery in Norway and Sicily, 1940–43; invalided out. Family: Married the actress Helen Cherry, 1944. Career: 1934—stage debut in Revolt in a Reformatory; then played in repertory; 1938—in West End production of French without Tears; 1944—film debut in The Way Ahead; 1960—began series of plays and movies for TV. Awards: Best British Actor, British Academy, for The Key, 1958. Died: In Bushey, Hertfordshire, 7 January 1988.
Films as Actor:
The Way Ahead (Reed)
The Way to the Stars (Johnny in the Clouds) (Asquith) (as S/L Carter); Brief Encounter (Lean) (as Dr. Alec Harvey)
I See a Dark Stranger (The Adventuress) (Launder) (as Lt. David Bayne); Green for Danger (Gilliat) (as Dr. Barney Barnes)
They Made Me a Fugitive (I Became a Criminal) (Cavalcanti) (as Clem Morgan); So Well Remembered (Dmytryk) (as Dr. Whiteside)
The Passionate Friends (One Woman's Story) (Lean) (as Steve Stratton); The Third Man (Reed) (as Major Galloway); Golden Salamander (Neame) (as David Redfern)
Odette (Wilcox) (as Captain Peter Churchill); The Clouded Yellow (Thomas) (as David Somers)
Lady Godiva Rides Again (Launder) (as guest); Outcast of the Island (Reed) (as Peter Willems); The Gift Horse (Glory At Sea) (Bennett) (as Lt. Col. Hugh Fraser)
The Heart of the Matter (O'Ferrall) (as Harry Scobie); La Mano dello straniero (The Stranger's Hand) (Soldati) (as Major Court)
April in Portugal (as narrator)
Les Amants du Tage (The Lovers of Lisbon) (Verneuil); Cockleshell Heroes (Ferrer) (as Captain Thompson)
Run for the Sun (Boulting); Around the World in Eighty Days (Anderson); Deception (Bricken)
Interpol (Pickup Alley) (Gilling) (as Frank McNally); Manuela (Stowaway Girl) (Hamilton) (as James Prothero)
The Key (Reed) (as Chris Ford); The Roots of Heaven (Huston)
Moment of Danger (Malaga) (Benedek) (as John Bain); Sons and Lovers (Cardiff) (as Walter Morel)
The Lion (Cardiff) (as John Bullitt); Mutiny on the Bounty (Milestone) (as Captain Bligh)
Man in the Middle (Hamilton) (as Major Kennsington)
Father Goose (Nelson) (as Commander Frank Houghton)
Operation Crossbow (Anderson) (as Professor Lindemann); Von Ryan's Express (Robson) (as Major Frank Finchman); Morituri (The Saboteur Code Name "Morituri") (Wicki) (as Col. Statter); The Liquidators (Cardiff) (as Col. Mostyn)
Danger Grows Wild (The Poppy Is Also a Flower) (Young—for TV) (as Lincoln); Triple Cross (Young) (as a civilian)
The Long Duel (Annakin) (as Freddy Young); Pretty Polly (A Matter of Innocence) (Green) (as Robert Hook)
The Charge of the Light Brigade (Richardson) (as Lord Cardigan)
Battle of Britain (Hamilton) (as Air Vice Marshal Keith Park); Twinky (Lola) (Donner)
Ryan's Daughter (Lean) (as Father Collins); The Night Visitor (Benedek)
Catch Me a Spy (Clement); Mary, Queen of Scots (Jarrott); Kidnapped (Mann)
Pope Joan (Anderson) (as Pope Leo); The Offence (Lumet); Ludwig (Visconti)
A Doll's House (Losey); Catholics (Gold—for TV); Craze (Francis)
Eleven Harrowhouse (Avakian); Persecution (The Terror of Sheba) (Chaffey); The Count of Monte Cristo (Greene); Who? (Gold); Cause for Concern (Benson) (as narrator)
Hennessy (Sharp); Conduct Unbecoming (Anderson); The Bawdy Adventures of Tom Jones (Owen); Der flüsternde Tod (Death in the Sun; Night of the Askari; Whispering Death; Blind Spot) (Goslår)
Eliza Fraser (A Faithful Narrative of the Capture, Sufferings, and Miraculous Escape of Eliza Fraser; The Rollicking Adventures of Eliza Fraser) (Burstall); Aces High (Gold)
Slavers (Goslår); The Last Remake of Beau Geste (Feldman); Babel Yemen (Gane) (as narrator)
Superman (Donner) (as First Elder); Stevie (Enders) (as The Man); How to Score a Movie (Enders) (as narrator); One, Take Two (Die Rebellen) (Megahy); Vol de nuit (Night Flight) (Davis—for TV)
Hurricane (Troell) (as Father Malone); Meteor (Neame)
The Sea Wolves (McLaglen) (as Jack Cartwright); Sir Henry at Rawlinson End (Roberts); Staying on (Narizzano—for TV)
Windwalker (Merrill) (title role); Light Years Away (Les Années lumières) (Tanner)
Gandhi (Attenborough) (as Judge Broomfield); The Missionary (Loncraine) (as Lord Ames); The Deadly Game (Shaefer—for TV)
Sword of the Valiant: The Legend of Gawain and the Green Knight (Weeks)
George Washington (Kulik—for TV)
Dust (Hansel) (as the Father); Time after Time (Hays—for TV); God Rot Tunbridge Wells (Palmer—for TV)
Foreign Body (Neame) (as Dr. Stirrup); Christmas Eve (Oper—for TV); Peter the Great (Chomsky—for TV); Shaka Zulu (Faure)
White Mischief (Radford) (as Jack Soames)
The Unholy (Vila) (as Father Silva); The Dawning (Knights)
On HOWARD: books—
Knight, Vivienne, Trevor Howard: A Gentleman and a Player, London, 1986.
Munn, Michael, Trevor Howard: The Man and His Films, London, 1989.
On HOWARD: articles—
Conrad, D., "Living Down a Classic," in Films and Filming (London), May 1958.
Whitehall, R., "Trevor Howard," in Films and Filming (London), February 1961.
Obituary, in Variety (New York), 13 January 1988.
Baxter, Brian, obituary, in Films and Filming (London), March 1988.
Slide, A., "The Slide Area Film Book Notes," in Classic Images (Muscatine), February 1991.
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Trevor Howard has the clearly enunciated speech of the English gentleman, and in his youth possessed the modest good looks and unassuming manners that qualified him for stage training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. When World War II started he was still in his early twenties, and had had little time to make a mark. After service in the Royal Artillery, he was invalided out, and began to show his high qualities as an actor in repertory at the Arts Theatre in London, while at the same time appearing in uniform in such excellent war films as Carol Reed's The Way Ahead and Anthony Asquith's The Way to the Stars.
His lengthy roster of British film appearances (usually in starring or top supporting roles) began after his outstanding success as the quiet, sincere small-town doctor, a married man, who falls in love with Celia Johnson's guilt-stricken housewife and mother in Noël Coward's and David Lean's Brief Encounter, a film that attracted exceptional critical attention and made a lasting reputation for its authenticity in the wake of the key British war films of 1944–45 that had consolidated the realist style. It matched exactly the quieter, more unassuming characteristics of the middle-class English lifestyle, which could nonetheless be revealed through the intimacy of film to be fraught with hidden emotional disturbances. Moving beyond the efficient, somewhat withdrawn but selflessly loyal English army officer—seen, for example in The Third Man, Odette, and Cockleshell Heroes—Howard gradually enlarged his screen image to embrace the civilian, quietly romantic hero typical of the kind of man many Englishwomen (and others) hoped to meet and marry, the hero of such films as Lean's The Passionate Friends and George More O'Ferrall's The Heart of the Matter.
To some audiences, this image of the sincere, good-looking, unassuming but often deeply emotional Englishman could appear to lack dash, even to be dull and unenterprising, except that Howard's intuitive control over the nuances of feeling made these performances dramatically powerful. At the same time, with gathering age and experience, he began even as early as Reed's Outcast of the Islands to enlarge his range still further and establish a reputation as a character actor. By the time of Sons and Lovers he was playing the miner Walter Morel, morose and difficult in his impoverished, working-class home, to such good effect that he was nominated for an Oscar. He also began to appear in American and Continental as well as British films.
By the 1960s and 1970s, his character range included such fine performances as the corseted, lecherous Lord Cardigan in The Charge of the Light Brigade, the toughly independent priest in Lean's Ryan's Daughter, Pope Leo in Pope Joan, Richard Wagner in the Italian production of Ludwig, and his effectively moving Dr. Rank in Joseph Losey's version of A Doll's House. He was ceaselessly employed in films for over 40 years, and remained a very favorite actor, especially in the eyes of the British public.