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Laurence Harvey: Lithuanian-born actor (1928 - 1973)
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Laurence Harvey
Lithuanian-born actor

Laurence Harvey

Laurence Harvey
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Lithuanian-born actor
A.K.A. Zvi Mosheh Skikne
Was Actor
From United Kingdom Lithuania
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender male
Birth 1 October 1928, Joniškis
Death 25 November 1973, London (aged 45 years)
Star sign Libra
Family
Spouse: Paulene StoneMargaret LeightonJoan Perry
Children: Domino Harvey
Laurence Harvey
The details (from wikipedia)

Biography

Laurence Harvey (born Laruschka Mischa Skikne; 1 October 1928 – 25 November 1973) was a Lithuanian-born South African actor. In a career that spanned a quarter of a century, Harvey appeared in stage, film and television productions primarily in the United Kingdom and the United States. His performance in Room at the Top (1959) resulted in an Academy Award nomination. That success was followed by the role of the ill-fated Texan commander William Barret Travis in The Alamo (1960), produced by John Wayne, and as the brainwashed Raymond Shaw in The Manchurian Candidate (1962).

Early life

Harvey's civil birth name was Laruschka Mischa Skikne. His Hebrew names were Zvi Mosheh. He was born in Joniškis, Lithuania, the youngest of three sons of Ella (née Zotnickaita) and Ber Skikne, Lithuanian Jewish parents. When he was five years old, his family travelled with their family, Riva Segal and her two sons, Louis and Charles Segal on the ship, the SS Adolph Woermann to South Africa, where he was known as Harry Skikne. Harvey grew up in Johannesburg, and was in his teens when he served with the entertainment unit of the South African Army during the Second World War.

Career

Early years

Harvey and Diane Cilento in the television play The Small Servant. Both made their US television debuts in this production for The Alcoa Hour (1955).

After moving to London, he enrolled in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, but left RADA after three months, and began to perform on stage and film.

Harvey made his cinema debut in the British film House of Darkness (1948), but its distributor British Lion thought someone named Larry Skikne (as he was then known) was not commercially viable. Accounts vary as to how the actor acquired his stage name of Laurence Harvey. One version has it that it was the idea of talent agent Gordon Harbord who decided Laurence would be an appropriate first name. In choosing a British-sounding last name, Harbord thought of two British retail institutions, Harvey Nichols and Harrods. Another is that Skikne was travelling on a London bus with Sid James who exclaimed during their journey: "It's either Laurence Nichols or Laurence Harvey." Harvey's own account differed over time.

Associated British Picture Corporation quickly offered him a two-year contract, which Harvey accepted, and he appeared in several of their lower-budget films such as Cairo Road (1950). His career gained a boost when he appeared in Women of Twilight (1952); this was made by Romulus Films, which signed Harvey to a long-term contract. He secured a supporting role in a Hollywood film, Knights of the Round Table (1953), which led to being cast with Rex Harrison and George Sanders in King Richard and the Crusaders (1954). That year he also played Romeo in Renato Castellani's adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, narrated by John Gielgud. He was now established as an emerging British star. According to a contemporary interview, he turned down an offer to appear in Helen of Troy (1955) to act at Stratford-upon-Avon.

Harvey was cast as the writer Christopher Isherwood in I Am A Camera (1955), with Julie Harris as Sally Bowles (Cabaret is a musical from the same source texts). He also appeared on American TV and on Broadway, making his Broadway debut in 1955 in the play Island of Goats, a flop that closed after one week, though his performance won him a 1956 Theatre World Award. Harvey appeared twice more on Broadway, in 1957 with Julie Harris, Pamela Brown and Colleen Dewhurst in William Wycherley's The Country Wife, and as Shakespeare's Henry V in 1959, as part of the Old Vic company, which featured a young Judi Dench as Katherine, the daughter of the King of France.

International stardom

Harvey (left) with Frank Sinatra, during filming of The Manchurian Candidate

Harvey's breakthrough to international stardom came after he was cast by director Jack Clayton as the social climber Joe Lampton in Room at the Top (1959), produced by British film producer brothers John and James Woolf of Romulus Films. For his performance, Harvey received a BAFTA Award nomination and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor. Simone Signoret and Heather Sears co-starred as Lampton's married lover and eventual wife respectively. Harvey was cast in the film version of The Long and the Short and the Tall (1961), in a role originally performed by Peter O'Toole during the play's West End run.

Meanwhile, Harvey's career in America had begun to take off. He starred in John Wayne's epic The Alamo (1960). Harvey was John Wayne's personal choice to play Alamo commandant William Barret Travis. He had been impressed by Harvey's talent and ability to project the aristocratic demeanor Wayne believed Travis possessed. Harvey and Wayne would later express their mutual admiration and satisfaction at having worked together. Harvey also starred in two films with Elizabeth Taylor, BUtterfield 8 (1960) and, later, the suspense film Night Watch (1973). He co-starred with Geraldine Page in the film adaptation of Tennessee Williams's Summer and Smoke (1961).

Harvey appeared as the brainwashed Raymond Shaw in the Cold War thriller The Manchurian Candidate (1962). Film critic David Shipman wrote: "Harvey's role required him to act like a zombie and several critics cited it as his first convincing performance". In Walk on the Wild Side (also 1962), he was cast along with Barbara Stanwyck, Jane Fonda and Capucine. Fonda was not positive about the experience of working with him: "There are actors and actors – and then there are the Laurence Harveys. With them, it's like acting by yourself." The same year, he recorded an album of spoken excerpts from the book This Is My Beloved by Walter Benton, accompanied by original music by Herbie Mann. It was released on the Atlantic label. Harvey's portrayal of Wilhelm Grimm in the film The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962) earned him a nomination for Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama.

Harvey played King Arthur in the 1964 London production of the Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe musical Camelot, at Drury Lane.

Later years

Harvey and Kim Novak took an almost instant dislike to each other when they first met to work on a remake of W. Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage (1964). Their acting styles were found to be incompatible, which caused problems for director Henry Hathaway. During filming, kidnap threats were made against both Harvey and Novak. The Outrage (1964) was director Martin Ritt's remake of Akira Kurosawa's Japanese film Rashomon (1950). Besides Harvey, the film starred Paul Newman and Claire Bloom, but was unsuccessful. Harvey reprised his role as Joe Lampton in Life at the Top (1965).

Harvey starred in Darling (1965) and co-starred with Julie Christie and Dirk Bogarde. While his role in the film is short, his involvement enabled director John Schlesinger to gain financial backing for the project. Harvey co-starred with Israeli actress Daliah Lavi in the comedy The Spy with a Cold Nose (1966), a parody of the James Bond films.

Harvey owned the rights to the book on which John Osborne's early script for the film The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968) was partially based, Cecil Woodham-Smith's book The Reason Why (1953). He intended to make his own version. A lawsuit was filed against director Tony Richardson's company Woodfall Film Productions on behalf of the book's author. There was a monetary settlement, and Harvey insisted on being cast in a cameo role (being cast as Prince Radziwell) as part of the agreement for which he was paid £60,000. Charles Wood was brought in to re-write the script. Harvey's scenes were cut from the movie at Richardson's insistence, except for a brief glimpse as an anonymous member of a theatre audience which, technically, still met the requirements of the legal settlement. John Osborne asserted in his autobiography that Richardson shot the scenes with Harvey "French", which is film jargon for a director going-through-the-motions because of some obligation, but with no film in the camera.

Harvey completed direction of the spy thriller A Dandy in Aspic (1968) after director Anthony Mann died during production. The film co-stars Mia Farrow. Harvey provided the narration for the Soviet film Tchaikovsky (1969), directed by Igor Talankin. Harvey had a cameo role in The Magic Christian (also 1969), a film based on the Terry Southern novel of the same name. His character gives a rendition of Hamlet's soliloquy that develops unexpectedly into a striptease routine. He was also guest murderer on Columbo: The Most Dangerous Match in 1973, portraying a chess champion who murders his opponent.

Joanna Pettet and her husband Alex Cord had been friends of Harvey since the 1960s. They were both fond of him and enjoyed his sense of humour, but Cord also acknowledged Harvey could be cruel with anyone he didn't like. Pettet appeared with Harvey in an episode of Rod Serling's Night Gallery ("The Caterpillar", 1972), in which Harvey's character attempts to assassinate a romantic rival by having a burrowing insect dropped in the man's ear. Harvey directed and starred in his final film Welcome to Arrow Beach, which co-starred his friend Pettet, John Ireland and Stuart Whitman. The film deals with a type of war-related post-traumatic stress disorder that turns a military veteran to cannibalism.

Just before Harvey died he was planning to star and direct two films, one on Kitty Genovese, the other a Wolf Mankowitz comedy called Cockatrice. Harvey's death in 1973 ultimately put an end to any hope that Orson Welles's The Deep would ever be completed. With Harvey and Jeanne Moreau in the leading roles, Welles worked on the film in between his other projects, although the production was also hampered by financial problems.

Personal life

Early in his career, Harvey reportedly had a live-in relationship with actress Hermione Baddeley (who appeared in a supporting role in Room at the Top, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress).

He left Baddeley in 1951 for actress Margaret Leighton, six years his senior and at the time married to publisher Max Reinhardt. Leighton and Reinhardt divorced in 1955, and she married Harvey in 1957 off the Rock of Gibraltar. The couple divorced in 1961.

In 1968 he married Joan Perry, seventeen years his senior, the widow of film mogul Harry Cohn. Her marriage to Harvey lasted until 1972.

His third marriage was to British fashion model Paulene Stone. She gave birth to his only child Domino in 1969 while he was still married to Perry. Harvey and Stone married in 1972 at the home of Harold Robbins.

In his account of being Frank Sinatra's valet, Mr. S: My Life with Frank Sinatra (2003), George Jacobs writes that Harvey often made passes at him while visiting Sinatra. According to Jacobs, Sinatra was aware of Harvey's sexuality. In his autobiography Close Up (2004), British actor John Fraser claimed Harvey was gay and that his long-term lover was Harvey's manager James Woolf, who had cast Harvey in several of the films he produced in the 1950s.

After working in two films with her, Harvey remained friends with Elizabeth Taylor for the rest of his life. She visited him three weeks before he died. Upon his death, Taylor issued the statement, "He was one of the people I really loved in this world. He was part of the sun. For everyone who loved him, the sun is a bit dimmer." She and Peter Lawford held a memorial service for Harvey in California.

Harvey once responded to an assertion about himself: "Someone once asked me, 'Why is it so many people hate you?' and I said, 'Do they? How super! I'm really quite pleased about it.'"

Death

A heavy smoker and drinker, Harvey died from stomach cancer in Hampstead, London on 25 November 1973 at the age of 45. His daughter Domino, who later became a bounty hunter, was only four years old at the time; she also died young at the age of 35 in 2005 after overdosing on painkillers. They are buried together in Santa Barbara Cemetery in Santa Barbara, California.

Appraisal

According to his obituary in the New York Times:

With his clipped speech, cool smile and a cigarette dangling impudently from his lips, Laurence Harvey established himself as the screen's perfect pin-striped cad. He could project such utter boredom that willowy debutantes would shrivel in his presence. He could also exude such charm that the same young ladies would gladly lend him their hearts, which were usually returned utterly broken... The image Mr Harvey carefully fostered for himself off screen was not far removed from some of the roles he played. "I'm a flamboyant character, an extrovert who doesn't want to reveal his feelings", he once said. "To bare your soul to the world, I find unutterably boring. I think part of our profession is to have a quixotic personality."

Awards and nominations

  • 1956 Theatre World Award.
  • 1959 Nomination BAFTA Award for Best British Actor
  • 1960 Nomination BAFTA Award for Best British Actor
  • 1959 Nomination Academy Award for Best Actor
  • 1960 Nominated Laurel Award Top Male New Personality
  • 1963 Nomination for Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama.
  • ^

Acting credits

Stage

Opening date Closing date Title Role Theatre Notes Refs
16 Nov 1947 Uprooted Nicky Horroway Comedy Theatre Billed as Larry Skikne
9 May 1951 Hassan Cambridge Theatre
1954 Romeo and Juliet Romeo Royal Shakespeare Theatre
4 Oct 1955 8 Oct 1955 Island of Goats Angelo Fulton Theatre 1956 Theatre World Award
27 Nov 1957 4 Jan 1958 The Country Wife Mr. Horner Adelphi Theatre (11/27/1957 – 12/21/1957)
Henry Miller's Theatre (12/23/1957 – 1/04/1958)
25 Dec 1958 10 Jan 1959 Henry V Henry V Broadway Theatre
19 Aug 1964 Camelot King Arthur Theatre Royal, Drury Lane

Film

Note: Where British Film Institute (BFI) and American Film Institute (AFI) differed on release year, or if the Wikipedia article title had a different release year, whichever source is the country of production is the year used.

Year Title Role Director Producer Studio/Distributor Other cast members Refs.
1948 House of Darkness Francis Merryman Oswald Mitchell Gordon Myers International Motion Pictures Lesley Brook, John Stuart
1949 Man on the Run Detective Sergeant Lawson Lawrence Huntington Associated British Picture Corporation Derek Farr, Joan Hopkins
The Man from Yesterday John Matthews Oswald Mitchell International Motion Pictures John Stuart, Henry Oscar, Marie Burke
Landfall P/O Hooper Ken Annakin Victor Skutezky Associated British Picture Corporation Michael Denison, Patricia Plunkett, Maurice Denham
1950 The Dancing Years Minor Role Harold French Warwick Ward Dennis Price
The Black Rose Edmond Henry Hathaway Louis D. Lighton 20th Century Fox Tyrone Power, Orson Welles, Cécile Aubry, Jack Hawkins, Michael Rennie, Herbert Lom
Cairo Road Lt. Mourad David MacDonald Mayflower Pictures Corporation Eric Portman
1951 Scarlet Thread Freddie Lewis Gilbert Ernest G. Roy Nettlefold Studios Kathleen Byron, Sydney Tafler
There Is Another Sun Mag Maguire Lewis Gilbert Ernest G. Roy Nettlefold Studios Maxwell Reed, Susan Shaw
I Believe in You Jordie Bennett Michael Relph Michael Balcon Ealing Studios Cecil Parker, Celia Johnson
1952 A Killer Walks Ned Ronald Drake Ronald Drake Leontine Entertainments Susan Shaw, Trader Faulkner
Women of Twilight Jerry Nolan Gordon Parry John Bremer Romulus Films Freda Jackson, Rene Ray, Countess of Midleton, Lois Maxwell
1953 Innocents in Paris François Gordon Parry Anatole de Grunwald Romulus films Alastair Sim, Claire Bloom, Ronald Shiner
1954 The Good Die Young Miles Ravenscourt Lewis Gilbert Remus Films Margaret Leighton, Richard Basehart, Joan Collins, Gloria Grahame
King Richard and the Crusaders Sir Kenneth of Huntington David Butler Henry Blanke Warner Bros. Rex Harrison, Virginia Mayo, George Sanders
Romeo and Juliet Romeo Renato Castellani Verona Productions Susan Shentall
1955 I Am a Camera Christopher Isherwood Henry Cornelius Remus Films Julie Harris, Shelley Winters, Ron Randell
Storm Over the Nile John Durrance Terence Young London Film Productions Anthony Steel
1956 Three Men in a Boat George Ken Annaken Romulus Films Jimmy Edwards, David Tomlinson
1957 After the Ball Walter de Frece Compton Bennett Romulus Films Pat Kirkwood
The Truth About Women Sir Humphrey Tavistock Muriel Box Sydney Box Beaconsfield Films Ltd Diane Cilento, Julie Harris
1958 The Silent Enemy Lt Crabb William Fairchild Romulus Films Dawn Addams
Room at the Top Joe Lampton Jack Clayton John Woolf Remus Films Simone Signoret, Donald Houston
Power Among Men Narrator Alexander Hackenschmied United Nations Film Services
1959 Expresso Bongo Johnny Jackson Val Guest Val Guest Val Guest Productions Sylvia Syms
1960 The Alamo William Barret Travis John Wayne John Wayne Batjac Productions John Wayne, Richard Boone, Richard Widmark
BUtterfield 8 Weston Ligget Daniel Mann Pandro S. Berman Metro Goldwyn Mayer Elizabeth Taylor, Eddie Fisher, Dina Merrill
1961 The Long and the Short and the Tall Pte. 'Bammo' Bamforth Leslie Norman Michael Balcon Associated British Picture Corporation Richard Todd, Richard Harris, David McCallum
Two Loves Paul Lathrope Charles Walters Julian Blaustein Metro Goldwyn Mayer Shirley MacLaine, Jack Hawkins
Summer and Smoke John Buchanan, Jr Peter Glenville Hal Wallis Paramount Pictures Geraldine Page, Rita Moreno, John McIntire, Earl Holliman
1962 Walk on the Wild Side Dove Linkhorn Edward Dmytryk Charles K. Feldman Columbia Pictures Jane Fonda, Barbara Stanwyck, Anne Baxter, Capucine
The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm Wilhelm Grimm Henry Levin George Pal Metro Goldwyn Mayer Claire Bloom, Barbara Eden
The Manchurian Candidate Raymond Shaw John Frankenheimer George Axelrod United Artists Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh, James Gregory
A Girl Named Tamiko Ivan Kalin John Sturges Hal Wallis Paramount Pictures France Nguyen, Martha Hyer
1963 The Running Man Rex Black Carol Reed Carol Reed Columbia Pictures Lee Remick, Alan Bates
The Ceremony Sean McKenna Laurence Harvey Laurence Harvey (also wrote) United Artists Sarah Miles, Robert Walker, Jr.
1964 Of Human Bondage Phillip Carey Ken Hughes James Woolf Metro Goldwyn Mayer Kim Novak
The Outrage Husband Martin Ritt A. Ronald Lubin Metro Goldwyn Mayer Paul Newman, Claire Bloom
1965 Darling Miles Brand John Schlesinger Joseph E. Levine Embassy Pictures Julie Christie, Dirk Bogarde
Life at the Top Joe Lampton Ted Kotcheff James Woolf Romulus Films Jean Simmons, Honor Blackman
1966 The Spy with a Cold Nose Dr. Francis Trevelyan Daniel Petrie Joseph E. Levine Embassy Pictures Corp. Daliah Lavi, Lionel Jeffries
1968 A Dandy in Aspic Eberlin Laurence Harvey, Anthony Mann Anthony Mann Columbia Pictures Mia Farrow, Tom Courtenay
The Winter's Tale King Leonites Frank Dunlop (director) Cressida Film Productions Jane Asher, Diana Churchill
The Charge of the Light Brigade Russian Prince (uncredited)
Rebus Jeff Miller Nino Zanchin Ann-Margret
1969 The Last Roman Cethegus Robert Siodmak CCC Filmkunst Sylva Koscina, Orson Welles
The Magic Christian Hamlet Joseph McGrath (film director) Denis O'Dell Commonwealth United Entertainment Group Inc. Peter Sellers, Ringo Starr
L'assoluto naturale He – Producer and co-star Mauro Bolognini Laurence Harvey Laurence Harvey Productions Sylvia Koscina
1970 Tchaikovsky Narrator Igor Talankin Innokenti Smoktunovsky Mosfilm
The Deep Hughie Warriner Orson Welles Orson Welles Orson Welles
WUSA Farley Stuart Rosenberg John Foreman (producer) Paramount Pictures Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Anthony Hopkins
1972 Escape to the Sun (Habricha El Hashemesh) Major Kirsanov Menahem Golan Noah Films Josephine Chaplin, Lila Kedrova, John Ireland, Jack Hawkins
1973 Night Watch John Wheeler Brian G. Hutton Joseph E. Levine Avco Embassy Pictures Elizabeth Taylor
1973 F for Fake Himself Orson Welles Les Films de l'Astrophore Orson Welles, Joseph Cotton
1974 Welcome to Arrow Beach Jason Henry Laurence Harvey John Cushingham Warner Bros. Joanna Pettet, Stuart Whitman, John Ireland

Television

Year Title Role Other cast members Notes Refs.
1950 Othello Cassio André Morell (BBC TV)
1953 As You Like It Orlando Margaret Leighton (BBC TV)
1955 ITV Play of the Week Beljajew Margaret Leighton A Month in the Country
The Alcoa Hour Dick Swiveller The Small Servant
1956 The Bet
1957 Holiday Night Reunion
1959 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Arthur Williams Hazel Court, Patrick Macnee Arthur
ITV Play of the Week Chris/Misha Hildegard Knef The Violent Years
1960 Pontiac Star Parade Self Entire cast and crew of The Alamo The Spirit of the Alamo, wrap party in Brackettville, Texas
What's My Line? Self Guest panelist 6 March; mystery guest 1 May
Here's Hollywood Self Episode 1.19
1962 The Milton Berle Show Self 9 March episode
The Flood (Stravinsky) Narrator
1964 Password Self Georgia Brown v. Laurence Harvey
The Ed Sullivan Show Self Episode 18.5
The Eamonn Andrews Show Self Episode 1.2
1965 The Eamonn Andrews Show Self Episode 2.15
The Danny Kaye Show Self Episode 3.14
1966 Hollywood Talent Scouts Self 31 January episode
Late Night Line-Up Self Michael Dean, Denis Tuohy, Joan Bakewell 5 February episode, BBC
1967 The Merv Griffin Show Self 27 April episode
Dial M for Murder Tony Wendice Diane Cilento, Hugh O'Brian, Cyril Cusack, Nigel Davenport TV movie
The Jerry Lewis Show Self Joey Heatherton 17 October 1967 episode
1968 The Joey Bishop Show Self Episodes 2.245 and 3.40
Marvelous Party! Host A 70th birthday tribute to Noël Coward
1969 Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In Self Episode 2.25
Joker's Wild Self American TV game show
1970 The David Frost Show Self Episode 2.184
1971 ITV Saturday Night Theatre Major Sergius Saranoff John Standing Arms and the Man
The Dick Cavett Show Self 11 May episode
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson Self 19 November episode
Celebrity Bowling Self Unknown episode
1972 Night Gallery Steven Macy Caterpillar
1973 Columbo Emmett Clayton The Most Dangerous Match
45th Academy Awards Self Co-Presenter: Best Art Direction – Set Decoration
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson Self 24 August episode

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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