Laurence Harvey in 1973,
photograph by Allan Warren
|Born||Zvi Mosheh Skikne
1 October 1928
|Died||25 November 1973
Cause of death
|Santa Barbara Cemetery, Santa Barbara, California|
|Spouse(s)||Margaret Leighton (1957–1961; divorced)
Joan Perry (1968–1972; divorced)
Paulene Stone (1972–1973; his death)
|Children||Domino Harvey (1969–2005)|
Laurence Harvey (1 October 1928 – 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  brought him global fame and an Academy Award nomination. That success was followed by the role of the ill-fated Texan 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.
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. 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.
After moving to London, he enrolled in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. 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.
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.
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. 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.
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  nomination and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor. 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.
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. 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 counterproductive. 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.
In 1961, Harvey co-starred with Geraldine Page in the film adaptation of Tennessee Williams's Summer and Smoke  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.
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. 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.
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.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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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 include 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.
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 very similar torture. 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 film deals with a type of war-related Post-traumatic stress disorder that turns a military veteran to cannibalism.
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.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
|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||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|
|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||She and He||He||Producer and co-star|
|1970||The Deep||Hughie Warriner|
|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|
|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|
|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
- The Bandoliers – South African army show
- Hassan – London, 1951
- Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare – Stratford-upon-Avon, 1954
- Island of Goats – New York, 4–8 October 1955
- The Country Wife – New York, 27 November 1957 – 4 January 1958
- Henry V by William Shakespeare – New York, 25 December 1958 – 10 January 1959
- Camelot – Drury Lane, debut 19 August 1964
- Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw – Chinchester, 1969
- Child's Play – London, 1971
- 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.
- Obituary Variety, 28 November 1973, p. 62.
- "1959 Best Actor in a Leading Role nomination". Academy Awards. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
- 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.
- Who's who in the Theatre – John Parker – Google Books. Books.google.ca. Retrieved 2013-01-04.
- Wise, James E; Baron, Scott (2002). International Stars at War. Naval Institute Press. pp. 79–82. ISBN 978-1-55750-965-9.
- Room, Adrian (2010). Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins. McFarland. p. 222. ISBN 978-0-7864-4373-4.
- "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.
- Willis, John; Hodges, Ben (2009). Theatre World, 2006–2007, Volume 63; Volumes 2006–2007. Applause Books. p. 367. ISBN 978-1-55783-728-8.
- "Laurence Harvey". IBDB. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
- "Best British Actor". BAFTA. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
- Munn, Michael (2005). John Wayne: The Man Behind The Myth. NAL Trade. pp. 205–212. ISBN 978-0-451-21414-0.
- "Openings and Current Attractions on the New York Screen". New York Magazine: 11. 1 October 1973.
- Kelly, Kitty (1981). Elizabeth Taylor: The Last Star. Simon & Schuster. pp. 256, 257. ISBN 978-0-671-25543-5.
- "Summer and Smoke awards". Imdb. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
- 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.
- "1963 Laurence Harvey Golden Globe Nomination". HFPA. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
- 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.
- Mann, William J (2012). Hello, Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 325. ISBN 978-0-547-36892-4.
- Maltin, Leonard (2008). Leonard Maltin's 2009 Movie Guide. Plume. p. 1009. ISBN 978-0-452-28978-9.
- Jackson, Carlton (1994). Picking Up the Tab: The Life and Movies of Martin Ritt. Popular Press. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-87972-672-0.
- 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.
- 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.
- Connelly, Mark (2003). The Charge of the Light Brigade. I. B. Tauris. pp. 22–24. ISBN 978-1-86064-612-6.
- Welsh, James M; Tibbetts, John C (1999). The Cinema of Tony Richardson: Essays and Interviews. State Univ of New York Press. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-7914-42494.
- 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
- Kael, Pauline (2011). 5001 Nights at the Movies. Picador USA. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-312-55886-4.
- "Tchaikovsky award nominations". Academy Awards. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
- 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.
- Capua, Michelangelo (2006). Yul Brynner:A Biography. McFarland. p. 127. ISBN 978-0-7864-2461-0.
- 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.
- 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.
- Leaming, Barbara (2004). Orson Welles: A Biography. Limelight Editions. p. 471. ISBN 978-0-87910-199-2.
- Hunter, Tab; Muller, Ernie (2006). Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star. Algonquin Books. p. 261. ISBN 978-1-56512-548-3.
- O'Connor, Garry (2000). Ralph Richardson: An Actor's Life. Applause Books. pp. 180, 181. ISBN 978-1-55783-300-6.
- Adler, Tim (2008). Hollywood and the Mob: Movies, Mafia, Sex and Death. Bloomsbury Publishing PLC. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-7475-7350-0.
- Wilson, Andrew (2008). Harold Robbins: The Man Who Invented Sex. Bloomsbury Paperbacks. p. 208. ISBN 978-0-7475-9379-9.
- John Ezard "Sexy self-image that revved up Dirk Bogarde", The Guardian 2 October 2004, accessed 30 November 2012
- 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.
- Laurence Harvey at Find a Grave
- 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.
- Laurence Harvey at the Internet Movie Database
- Laurence Harvey at AllMovie
- Laurence Harvey at the Internet Broadway Database
- Laurence Harvey at the TCM Movie Database
- Laurence Harvey at the British Film Institute's Screenonline