Laurence Harvey

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For other people named Laurence Harvey, see Laurence Harvey (disambiguation).
Laurence Harvey
Laurence Harvey Allan Warren.jpg
Laurence Harvey in 1973,
photograph by Allan Warren
Born Zvi Mosheh Skikne
(1928-10-01)1 October 1928
Joniškis, Lithuania
Died 25 November 1973(1973-11-25) (aged 45)
London, England
Resting place
Santa Barbara Cemetery, Santa Barbara, California
Occupation Actor
Years active 1948–1973
Spouse(s) Margaret Leighton (1957–1961; divorced)
Joan Perry (1968–1972; divorced)
Paulene Stone (1972–1973; his death)
Partner(s) Hermione Baddeley
Children Domino Harvey (1969–2005)

Laurence Harvey (1 October 1928[1] – 25 November 1973) was a Lithuanian-born 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 1959 performance in Room at the Top [2] brought him global fame and an Academy Award nomination.[3] That success was followed by the role of the ill-fated Texian commander William Barret Travis in The Alamo, produced by John Wayne, and as the brainwashed Raymond Shaw in The Manchurian Candidate. Many of his films earned nominations and awards for either the films or his co-stars.

Early life[edit]

Harvey maintained throughout his life that his birth name was Laruschka Mischa Skikne, but it was actually Zvi Mosheh Skikne. He was the youngest of three boys born to Ella (née Zotnickaita) and Ber Skikne, a Lithuanian Jewish family in the town of Joniškis, Lithuania.[4][5] When he was five years old, his family emigrated to South Africa, where he was known as Harry Skikne. He 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[edit]

Early years[edit]

After moving to London, he enrolled in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.[6] After leaving RADA early, he began to perform on stage and film. The stage name "Laurence Harvey" 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. The actor and the agent scoured theatrical directories and found that the name Laurence Harvey was not already taken by anyone else in the profession.[7]

Harvey made his cinema debut in the British film House of Darkness (1948). Associated British Picture Corporation quickly offered him a two-year contract and he appeared in several of their lower budget films such as Cairo Road (1950). His career got a boost when he appeared in Women of Twilight (1952); this was made by Romulus Films who 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.[8]

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 which closed after one week, though his performance won him a 1956 Theatre World Award.[9] 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.[10]

International stardom[edit]

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

Harvey's breakthrough to international stardom came when 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 [11] nomination and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor.[6] Simone Signoret won an Academy Award for her performance.

Harvey was cast in the role that had made Peter O'Toole prominent in the West End: the film version of The Long and the Short and the Tall (1961); O'Toole was not yet established as an actor in films and Harvey was more "bankable".

In 1960 he starred in John Wayne's epic The Alamo. 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.[12]

Harvey starred in two films with Elizabeth Taylor, the 1960 vehicle BUtterfield 8 that garnered an Academy Award for Taylor, and the 1973 suspense film Night Watch.[13] Taylor and Harvey remained friends until the end of his life. She visited him three weeks before his death, but Harvey's wife Paulene felt the visit tired him and was counter productive. 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.[14]

In 1961, Harvey co-starred with Geraldine Page in the film adaptation of Tennessee Williams's Summer and Smoke [6] For her performance, Page won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Academy Award, the New York Film Critics Circle Award and the National Board of Review Award. Una Merkel was nominated for a supporting performance Academy Award. The film received several other awards nominations, including Academy Award nominations for Best Music Score and Best Set Decoration.[15][16]

Other films included Walk on the Wild Side (1962) with Barbara Stanwyck, Jane Fonda and Capucine. He appeared as the brainwashed Raymond Shaw in 1962 in the Cold War thriller The Manchurian Candidate.[6] 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 1962 film The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm earned him a nomination for Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama.[17]

Harvey played King Arthur in the 1964 London production of the Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe musical Camelot, at Drury Lane.[18]

Later years[edit]

The 1964 remake of W. Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage cast Kim Novak as Harvey's co-star. During filming, kidnap threats were made against both Harvey and Novak.[19][20]The Outrage (1964) was director Martin Ritt's remake of Akira Kurosawa's classic Rashomon. Besides Harvey, the film starred Paul Newman.and Claire Bloom. The film was not a success, in spite of the cast.[21] Harvey reprised his Academy Award-nominated role as Joe Lampton in Life at the Top (1965).

Harvey starred in the 1965 film Darling which won three Academy Awards, including Best Actress for Julie Christie. It was nominated for Best Picture by the Academy. The film also co-starred Dirk Bogarde and received numerous other awards and nominations.[22] Harvey co-starred with Daliah Lavi in the comedy The Spy with a Cold Nose (1966). The film was a spoof of the James Bond films. It garnered two Golden Globe Award nominations in 1967, for "Best Foreign Film – English Language" and for Lionel Jeffries in his performance.[23]

The script for director Tony Richardson's 1968 film The Charge of the Light Brigade was partially based on the 1953 Cecil Woodham-Smith book The Reason Why. At the time John Osborne wrote the script, Harvey owned the rights to the book with the intent of filming his own adaptation.[24] A lawsuit was filed against Richardson's company Woodfall Film Productions on behalf of the book's author. There was a monetary settlement, and Harvey was given the role of Prince Radziwell as part of the settlement. Charles Wood was brought in to re-write the script. Richardson had all Harvey's scenes cut from the movie, except a brief glimpse as an anonymous member of a theatre audience, technically still meeting the requirements of the legal settlement.[25][26]

The spy thriller A Dandy in Aspic (1968) co-starred Mia Farrow, at the time married to Frank Sinatra. Director Anthony Mann died during production, and it was left up to Harvey to finish directing the film.[27] Harvey provided the narration for the 1969 Soviet film Tchaikovsky, directed by Igor Talankin. At the 44th Academy Awards, the film received two nominations, for Best Foreign Language Film, and for Dimitri Tiomkin's music score.[28]

In The Magic Christian, Harvey performed a striptease to the rhythm of stripper music while reciting Hamlet's soliloquy. Up in the balcony Ringo Starr quipped, "I've seen it. Shakespeare, right?" and Peter Sellers deadpanned, "That fellow's taking license, in my view." The 1969 movie was based on a Terry Southern novel by the same name. The Beatles references, which includes look-a-likes for John Lennon and Yoko Ono, have made the movie a cult curiosity among Beatles fans. Monty Python writers Graham Chapman and John Cleese helped work on the script. An all-star cast that included Raquel Welch, Spike Milligan, Christopher Lee, Yul Brynner and Roman Polanski was not enough to make the movie a commercial success.[29][30]

He was also guest murderer of the week on Columbo: The Most Dangerous Match in 1973 as a chess champion who murders his opponent.

Joanna Pettet and her husband Alex Cord had been friends of Harvey's from the 1960s. They were both fond of Harvey and enjoyed his sense of humor, but Cord also acknowledged Harvey could be cruel with anyone he didn't like. Pettet appeared with Harvey in the 1972 episode "The Caterpillar" on Rod Serling's Night Gallery. In the episode, Harvey's character has unrequited attraction to Pettet's married character. He hires someone to kill off the husband by placing a deadly earwig in the husband's ear. In error, the earwig is inserted into the ear of Harvey's character and, although removed, has laid eggs inside his brain. A decade later, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan would depict a torture very similar.[31][32] Harvey directed and starred in his final film Welcome to Arrow Beach, which co-starred his friend Joanna Pettet, John Ireland and Stuart Whitman. The movie is a horror film that deals with a type of war-related Post-traumatic stress disorder that turns a military veteran to cannibalism.[20]

Orson Welles's The Deep with Jeanne Moreau was to have Harvey in the lead. Welles worked on the film in between other projects of his. The production had money problems, and Harvey's 1973 death ultimately put an end to the project.[33]

Personal life[edit]

Early in his career, Harvey had a live-in relationship with Hermione Baddeley. A British stage actress who also appeared on Broadway and became familiar on American television by playing Nell Naugatuck on Maude, she was twenty-two years older than Harvey. Although Harvey proposed marriage to her, Baddeley thought the age difference was too great.[34] He left Baddeley in 1951 for actress Margaret Leighton, who was six years older than Harvey and at the time was married to Max Reinhardt. Leighton and Reinhardt divorced in 1955, and she married Harvey in 1957 off the Rock of Gibraltar. The couple divorced in 1961.[35] In 1968 he married Joan Perry Cohn, seventeen years his senior. Although often referred to as the widow of film mogul Harry Cohn of Columbia Pictures, she had a brief post-widowhood marriage to shoe store magnate Harry Karl that lasted for three weeks in 1959.[36] Her marriage to Laurence Harvey lasted until 1972. Harvey's 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 Cohn. In 1972, Harvey and Stone married at the home of Harold Robbins.[6][37]

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 that 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.[38]

Death[edit]

A heavy smoker and drinker, Harvey died from stomach cancer in 1973 at the age of 45. His daughter, Domino, who later became a bounty hunter, was only 4 when he died, and only 35 when she died in 2005. They are buried together in Santa Barbara Cemetery in Santa Barbara, California.[39][40]

Awards and Nominations[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1948 House of Darkness Francis Merryman
1949 Man on the Run Detective Sergeant Lawson
1949 The Man from Yesterday John Matthews
1949 Landfall P. O. Hooper
1950 The Dancing Years Minor Role
1950 The Black Rose Edmond
1950 Cairo Road Lt. Mourad
1951 Scarlet Thread Freddie
1951 There Is Another Sun Mag Maguire
1952 A Killer Walks Ned
1952 I Believe in You Jordie Bennett
1952 Women of Twilight Jerry Nolan
1953 Knights of the Round Table Undetermined
1953 Innocents in Paris François
1954 The Good Die Young Miles Ravenscourt
1954 King Richard and the Crusaders Sir Kenneth of Huntington
1954 Romeo and Juliet Romeo
1955 I Am a Camera Christopher Isherwood
1955 Storm Over the Nile John Durrance
1956 Three Men in a Boat George
1957 After the Ball Walter de Frece
1957 The Truth About Women Sir Humphrey Tavistock
1958 The Silent Enemy Lt Crabb
1959 Room at the Top Joe Lampton
1959 Power Among Men Narrator
1960 Expresso Bongo Johnny Jackson
1960 The Alamo William Barret Travis
1960 Butterfield 8 Weston Ligget
1961 The Long and the Short and the Tall Pte. 'Bammo' Bamforth
1961 Two Loves Paul Lathrope
1961 Summer and Smoke John Buchanan, Jr
1962 Walk on the Wild Side Dove Linkhorn
1962 The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm Wilhelm Grimm
1962 The Manchurian Candidate Raymond Shaw
1962 A Girl Named Tamiko Ivan Kalin
1963 The Running Man Rex Black
1963 The Ceremony Sean McKenna Writer, director, producer and co-star
1964 Of Human Bondage Phillip Carey
1964 The Outrage Husband
1965 Darling Miles Brand
1965 Life at the Top Joe Lampton
1966 The Spy with a Cold Nose Dr. Francis Trevelyan
1968 A Dandy in Aspic Eberlin Took over directing after the death of Anthony Mann
1968 The Winter's Tale King Leonites
1968 The Last Roman Cethegus
1968 The Charge of the Light Brigade Russian Prince
1968 Wedding of the Doll Himself
1969 The Magic Christian Hamlet
1969 Rebus Jeff Miller
1969 She and He He Producer and co-star
1969 Tchaikovsky Narrator
1970 The Deep Hughie Warriner
1970 WUSA Farley
1972 Escape to the Sun Major Kirsanov
1973 Night Watch John Wheeler
1973 F for Fake Himself
1974 Welcome to Arrow Beach Jason Henry Director and co-star

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1950 Othello Cassio (BBC TV)
1953 As You Like It Orlando (BBC TV)
1955 ITV Play of the Week Beljajew A Month in the Country
1955 The Alcoa Hour Dick Swiveller The Small Servant
1956 The Bet
1957 Holiday Night Reunion
1959 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Arthur Williams Arthur
1959 ITV Play of the Week Chris/Misha The Violent Years
1960 What's My Line? Himself Guest panelist 6 March; mystery guest 1 May
1960 Here's Hollywood Himself Episode 1.19
1962 The Milton Berle Show Himself 19 March episode
1962 The Flood Narrator TV movie
1964 Password Himself Georgia Brown v. Laurence Harvey
1964 The Ed Sullivan Show Himself Episode 18.5
1964 The Eamonn Andrews Show Himself: Episode 1.2
1965 The Eamonn Andrews Show Himself: Episode 2.15
1965 The Danny Kaye Show Himself Episode 3.14
1966 Hollywood Talent Scouts Himself 31 January episode
1966 Late Night Line-Up Himself 5 February episode
1967 The Merv Griffin Show Himself 27 April episode
1967 Dial M for Murder Tony Wendice TV movie
1968 The Joey Bishop Show Himself Episodes 2.245 and 3.40
1968 Marvelous Party! Host A 70th birthday tribute to Noël Coward
1969 Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In Himself Episode 2.25
1969 Joker's Wild Himself American TV game show
1970 The David Frost Show Himself Episode 2.184
1971 ITV Saturday Night Theatre Major Sergius Saranoff Arms and the Man
1971 The Dick Cavett Show Himself 11 May episode
1971 The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson Himself 19 November episode
1971 Celebrity Bowling Himself Unknown episode
1972 Night Gallery Steven Macy Caterpillar
1973 Columbo Emmett Clayton The Most Dangerous Match
1973 45th Academy Awards Himself Co-Presenter: Best Art Direction – Set Decoration
1973 The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson Himself 24 August episode

Selected theatre credits[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Harvey altered his birth year to 1927 to gain entry to the South African Navy when he was aged only 14, and 1927 now appears in many sources.
  2. ^ Obituary Variety, 28 November 1973, p. 62.
  3. ^ a b "1959 Best Actor in a Leading Role nomination". Academy Awards. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  4. ^ Special to The New York Times (1973-11-27). "Laurence Harvey, Screen Actor, Is Dead at 45 – Attained Stardom With Role in 'Room at the Top' The Screen's Perfect Cad Enigmatic Flamboyance Was Also in 'Butterfield 8 and 'Manchurian Candidate' An Arrogant Manner – Article – NYTimes.com". Select.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  5. ^ Who's who in the Theatre – John Parker – Google Books. Books.google.ca. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Wise, James E; Baron, Scott (2002). International Stars at War. Naval Institute Press. pp. 79–82. ISBN 978-1-55750-965-9. 
  7. ^ Room, Adrian (2010). Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins. McFarland. p. 222. ISBN 978-0-7864-4373-4. 
  8. ^ "AUSTRALIANS PLAY AT STRATFORD.". The Australian Women's Weekly (1933–1982) (1933–1982: National Library of Australia). 8 September 1954. p. 16. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Willis, John; Hodges, Ben (2009). Theatre World, 2006–2007, Volume 63; Volumes 2006–2007. Applause Books. p. 367. ISBN 978-1-55783-728-8. 
  10. ^ "Laurence Harvey". IBDB. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  11. ^ a b c "Best British Actor". BAFTA. Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  12. ^ Munn, Michael (2005). John Wayne: The Man Behind The Myth. NAL Trade. pp. 205–212. ISBN 978-0-451-21414-0. 
  13. ^ "Openings and Current Attractions on the New York Screen". New York Magazine: 11. 1 October 1973. 
  14. ^ Kelly, Kitty (1981). Elizabeth Taylor: The Last Star. Simon & Schuster. pp. 256, 257. ISBN 978-0-671-25543-5. 
  15. ^ "Summer and Smoke awards". Imdb. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  16. ^ Welsh, James M; Hill, Rodney F; Phillips, Gene D (2010). The Francis Ford Coppola Encyclopedia. Scarecrow Press. p. 202. ISBN 978-0-8108-7650-7. 
  17. ^ a b "1963 Laurence Harvey Golden Globe Nomination". HFPA. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  18. ^ Green, Stanley (1980). Encyclopedia of the musical theatre : an updated reference guide to over 2000 performers, writers, directors, productions, and songs of the musical stage, both in New York and London. Da Capo Press,. pp. 56–58. ISBN 978-0-306-80113-6. 
  19. ^ Mann, William J (2012). Hello, Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 325. ISBN 978-0-547-36892-4. 
  20. ^ a b Maltin, Leonard (2008). Leonard Maltin's 2009 Movie Guide. Plume. p. 1009. ISBN 978-0-452-28978-9. 
  21. ^ Jackson, Carlton (1994). Picking Up the Tab: The Life and Movies of Martin Ritt. Popular Press. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-87972-672-0. 
  22. ^ Garrett, George P; Hardison, OB; Gelfman, Jane R (1989). Film Scripts 4: Darling; A Hard Day's Night; The Best Man. Irvington Pub. pp. 297–299. ISBN 978-0-8290-2278-0. 
  23. ^ Lisanti, Tom; Paul, Louis (2002). Film Fatales: Women in Espionage Films and Television, 1962–1973. Mcfarland & Co Inc Pub. p. 175. ISBN 978-0-7864-1194-8. 
  24. ^ Connelly, Mark (2003). The Charge of the Light Brigade. I. B. Tauris. pp. 22–24. ISBN 978-1-86064-612-6. 
  25. ^ Welsh, James M; Tibbetts, John C (1999). The Cinema of Tony Richardson: Essays and Interviews. State Univ of New York Press. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-7914-4249-4. 
  26. ^ John Osborne, who wrote the screenplay, alleges in his autobiography that Tony Richardson shot those scenes "French", which is film jargon for a director going-through-the-motions because of some obligation, but with no film in the camera. source: Almost a Gentleman by John Osborne: Faber & Faber 1991; ISBN 0-571-16635-0; p. 146
  27. ^ Kael, Pauline (2011). 5001 Nights at the Movies. Picador USA. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-312-55886-4. 
  28. ^ "Tchaikovsky award nominations". Academy Awards. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  29. ^ Shea, Stuart; Rodriguez, Robert (2007). Fab Four FAQ: Everything Left to Know about the Beatles – and More!. Hal Leonard Corp. p. 126. ISBN 978-1-4234-2138-2. 
  30. ^ Capua, Michelangelo (2006). Yul Brynner:A Biography. McFarland. p. 127. ISBN 978-0-7864-2461-0. 
  31. ^ McIntyre, Vonda N (1991). Wrath of Khan (Star Trek Movie 2): Wrath of Khan. Star Trek. pp. 56, 57. ISBN 978-0-671-74149-5. 
  32. ^ Skelton, Scott; Benson, Jim (1998). Rod Serling's Night Gallery: An After-Hours Tour. Syracuse University Press. pp. 292–296. ISBN 978-0-8156-0535-5. 
  33. ^ Leaming, Barbara (2004). Orson Welles: A Biography. Limelight Editions. p. 471. ISBN 978-0-87910-199-2. 
  34. ^ Hunter, Tab; Muller, Ernie (2006). Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star. Algonquin Books. p. 261. ISBN 978-1-56512-548-3. 
  35. ^ O'Connor, Garry (2000). Ralph Richardson: An Actor's Life. Applause Books. pp. 180, 181. ISBN 978-1-55783-300-6. 
  36. ^ Adler, Tim (2008). Hollywood and the Mob: Movies, Mafia, Sex and Death. Bloomsbury Publishing PLC. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-7475-7350-0. 
  37. ^ Wilson, Andrew (2008). Harold Robbins: The Man Who Invented Sex. Bloomsbury Paperbacks. p. 208. ISBN 978-0-7475-9379-9. 
  38. ^ John Ezard "Sexy self-image that revved up Dirk Bogarde", The Guardian 2 October 2004, accessed 30 November 2012
  39. ^ Brooks, Patricia; Brooks, Jonathan (2006). Laid to Rest in California: A Guide to the Cemeteries and Grave Sites of the Rich and Famous. Globe Pequot. pp. 141, 142. ISBN 978-0-7627-4101-4. 
  40. ^ Laurence Harvey at Find a Grave

Further reading[edit]

  • Hickey, Des and Smith, Gus. The Prince: The Public and Private Life of Laurence Harvey. Leslie Frewin. 1975.
  • Stone, Paulene. One Tear is Enough: My Life with Laurence Harvey. 1975.
  • Sinai, Anne. Reach for the Top: The Turbulent Life of Laurence Harvey. Scarecrow Press. 2003.

External links[edit]