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Kenneth More

Biography

British actor who became well known for his work in film and about stage through the 1950s. His credits consist of Deep Blue Ocean and Genevieve. He qualified for most different professions before performing, including civil executive and hair trapping. He released two autobiographies: Happy Proceed Lucky in 1959 and Pretty much in 1978. He was wedded to Angela Douglas from 1968 until his loss of life in 1982 and he previously two kids from previous failed marriages. He starred with Vivien Leigh in the 1955 film, The Deep Blue Ocean.

Quick Facts


Full Name Kenneth More
Date Of Birth September 20, 1914
Place Of Birth England
Profession Movie Actor
Nationality British
Spouse Angela Douglas, Mabel Barkby
Children Sarah Elizabeth More, Susan Jane More
Parents Charles Gilbert More, Edith Winifred Watkins
Siblings Kate More
Awards BAFTA Award for Best British Actor, Volpi Cup for Best Actor
Movies Reach for the Sky, A Night to Remember, Sink the Bismarck!, Genevieve, The Admirable Crichton, North West Frontier, The 39 Steps, The Longest Day, Doctor in the House, Scrooge, Battle of Britain, The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw, The Greengage Summer, Dark of the Sun, Chance of a Lifetime, Unidentified Flying Oddball, Raising a Riot, We Joined the Navy, Our Girl Friday, Man in the Moon, Oh! What a Lovely War, The Yellow Balloon, The Comedy Man, The Deep Blue Sea, Scott of the Antarctic, Where Time Began, The Slipper and the Rose, Fräulein Doktor, Next to No Time, Brandy for the Parson, Leopard in the Snow, A Tale of Two Cities, Man on the Run, The Clouded Yellow, No Highway in the Sky, The Man Who Loved Redheads, Morning Departure, Stop Press Girl, The Franchise Affair, Never Let Me Go, Some People, Appointment with Venus, The Silent Witness, Island Rescue, Toad of Toad Hall, A Spaceman in King Arthur's Court
TV Shows An Englishman's Castle, Father Brown, The Forsyte Saga
Star Sign Virgo

  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1He had a role in The Collector (1965) but it was deleted at the editing stage.
2He was considered as a replacement for Bernard Lee as M in the Bond film 'Live and Let Die' when Bernard became ill.
3Decended from Sir Thomas More.
4Appeared in two movies based on real tragedies involving the sinking of famous ships: A Night to Remember (1958) and Sink the Bismarck! (1960). Besides this, what connects the ships was the fact that famous sea explorer and diver Robert Ballard was the first person to ever find the wreckages of both ships.
5In 1972 More took part in a protest at the House of Commons against the proposed introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT) into the United Kingdom. Amongst the other actors and actresses taking part were Charles Vance and Evelyn Laye. Despite the protest VAT was introduced into the UK on 1 April 1973, as a direct consequence of entry into the European 'Common Market'.
6Was considered as a replacement for Bernard Lee as 'M' in the James Bond films when Lee was ill making Live And Let Die (1973). More died a year after Lee.
7Like many film stars of the 1950s, More had a regular stand-in, Jack Manderville, who was also a personal friend.
8Despite being reluctant to become involved in television advertising he eventually endorsed "Birds Coffee" in the UK. Having been paid what he considered to be "an awful lot of money for half a days work" he asked why the offer was made to him? The answer came back that fourteen names went into a computer in America - measured against all the qualities of a typical Englishman, the qualities that would make the average housewife believe that this was someone whose word could be relied on, and your name came out of the computer.
9More was granted one of showbusiness's highest accolades on 7th October 1975 when he was guest of honour at a special Variety Club of Great Britain luncheon. The event, held at the Savoy Hotel, in the company of most of Britain's top showbiz personalities was organised to celebrate his 40 years in the profession. Joining More and his wife Angela Douglas was Douglas Bader, the Royal Air Force fighter ace whom More portrayed in Reach for the Sky (1956).
10In 1957, he presented his old school, Victoria College, with an oil painting of King Charles I, which hangs prominently in College Hall. Equally lasting a legacy was his institution in 1962 of the annual Kenneth More Prize for Drama.
11Was sued unsuccessfully by the singer Dorothy Squires (aka Mrs Roger Moore) in 1969 when he mistakenly referred to another woman as Roger Moore's wife. Kenneth More had been introducing guests prior to the British Film Academy Awards at the Hilton Hotel, London for a TV film documenting the event. The other woman was in fact Luisa Mattioli who had lived with Roger Moore for several years after he had separated from Miss Squires. Representing Kenneth More was Michael Havers, one of the UK's most eminent barristers. The jury took just 30 minutes to decide that no defamation had taken place.
12Was a well known member of "The Garrick Club" in London and once claimed that if he only had enough money left in the world to pay the club subscription and nothing else, he would pay it.
13Despite the fact that his film career had stalled by 1962, he played the lead in "Some People" (1962) for nothing, apart from expenses. The proceeds of the film were in aid of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme and the National Playing Fields Association.
14Wrote a letter of support for Alexander Walker (1930-2003) when he applied for the post of London Evening Standard Film Critic in 1960. More had apparently been delighted by one of Walker's reviews whilst he was on the Birmingham Post. Walker remained with the Standard for the next 43 years and was Critic of the Year in the British Press Awards (1970, 1974 and 1998) as well as writing twenty books on cinema.
15Read the address at the memorial service for Jack Hawkins on 14 September 1973 at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London.
16Son of Charles Gilbert More and his wife Edith Winifred (nee Watkins). His mother, the daughter of a Cardiff solicitor was known affectionately as "Topsy". His sister Kate was 18 months his senior.
17Made his first appearance on the stage at the Windmill Theatre in August 1935, in a revue sketch. He returned to the stage, following his "demob" from the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, in November 1946 at the Aldwych.
18He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1970 Queen's New Year Honours List for his services to drama.
19Ilford's civic theatre, The Kenneth More Theatre, opened on the very last day of 1974, is named in his honour.One of the few living English performers to have a theatre named after him, he made his first appearance at the theatre in April, 1977. It was an evening of poetry, prose and music entitled "Kenneth More Requests the Pleasure of Your Company". Appearing with him were Vivyan Ellacott, Roderick Elms, Edna Graham. Barbara Hills and Eleanor Thomas.An appearance scheduled for February 1979 in a programme called "Kenneth More and Friends" had to be cancelled at the last moment as he was too ill to appear.The "Kenneth More" is also home to the annual "Kenny Awards" centred on the ninety or so productions staged each year at the theatre. Voting for the awards is through a panel of independent reviewers and theatre audiences.
20Was best man to Roger Moore at his wedding to Luisa Mattioli on 11th April 1969.
21Published two volumes of autobiography, Happy Go Lucky (1959) and More or Less (1978) and a book of reminiscences, Kindly Leave the Stage (1965).
22Spent part of his childhood in the Channel Islands where his father was general manager of Jersey Eastern Railways. He was educated at Victoria College, Jersey. It was there that he took part in his first school play, "The Sport of Kings" playing the part of a red-haired girl. His first male part at the school was in J.M. Barrie's "The Admirable Crichton". Years later he would play the lead in both the screen adaptation and the stage musical.
23After leaving school at seventeen he followed a family tradition and became an engineering apprentice with Sentinel-Cammell in Shrewsbury, Shropshire earning a pound-a-week. However at the end of his two-year "privileged apprenticeship" he choose instead to apply to the RAF along with a close friend, John Hulton-Harrop. More was unsuccessful while Hulton-Harrop, who qualified as a first rate fighter pilot, was shot down and killed by his own coastal defences in one of the RAF's earliest sweeps over France.
24Tried unsuccessfully to join the Royal Air Force on a short service commission. Having been sent to what was then the RAF headquarters at Adastral House in Kingsway, London for a medical, he failed the test for equilibrium. After being strapped into a chair and spun round he was then required to get out of the chair and walk in a straight line. He got to his feet, but as soon as he tried to walk he fell flat on his face. In 1939, as war was declared, he made a renewed attempted to join up, this time with the Royal Navy. Again he was unsuccessful as the services had too many men applying and no where to put them. He returned to Rep in Birmingham only to find the "Closed" sign going up on the theatre door. Determined to do his bit he then volunteered to drive ambulances and this time he was successful. This was short-lived as he received a letter in the spring of 1940 to join Defensively Equipped Merchant Ships. He joined the "MV Lobus" and his naval career, which would progress to the Royal Navy, was finally underway.
25Served throughout the Second World War in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR). He was "demobbed" in 1946 as a lieutenant having served on the light-cruiser HMS Aurora as a Watch Keeping Officer, and the aircraft carrier HMS Victorious as a Fighter Directions Officer.
26Announced his retirement from acting in 1980 due to the onset of Parkinson's disease.
27For much of his role as Bill Crichton in Paradise Lagoon (1957), he was filmed from the waist up to hide the fact that he was wearing shorts with his dinner-jacket because of the heat during filming. Although universally disliked by the critics this film went on to be the second biggest "grosser" at UK cinemas during 1957.
28He fathered two daughters - Susan Jane More (1941 - ) from his first marriage to Beryl Johnstone and Sarah Elizabeth More (1954 - ) from his second marriage to "Bill" Barkby. Following his divorce from Beryl Johnstone, and her subsequent re-marriage it was decided that it would be in his daughters best interests if she grew up with only one father figure. As a result they did not meet again until 1957 when she had turned fifteen, although they had kept in touch throughout this period, writing regularly. His third wife, the actress Angela Douglas, was known to him simply as 'Shrimp'.


Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
A Tale of Two Cities1980TV MovieDr. Jarvis Lorry
The Pump1980TV MovieJohn Carter
Unidentified Flying Oddball1979King Arthur
An Englishman's Castle1978TV Mini-SeriesPeter Ingram
Leopard in the Snow1978Sir Philip James
The Rocking Horse Winner1977TV MovieUncle
Where Time Began1977Prof. Otto Lindenbrock
Two Stars for Comfort1977TV MovieSam Turner
The Slipper and the Rose: The Story of Cinderella1976Chamberlain
In Praise of Love1976TV MovieSebastian Cruttwell
Goose with Pepper1975TV MovieBrigadier Salt Lumley
Father Brown1974TV SeriesFather Brown
Six Faces1972TV SeriesRichard Drew
Scrooge1970Ghost of Christmas Present
The Coward Revue1969TV Movie
Battle of Britain1969Group Capt. Baker
Oh! What a Lovely War1969Kaiser Wilhelm II
Fräulein Doktor1969Col. Foreman
Dark of the Sun1968Doctor Wreid
The White Rabbit1967TV Mini-SeriesWing Cmdr. Yeo-Thomas
The Forsyte Saga1967TV Mini-Series'Young Jolyon' Forsyte
Lord Raingo1966TV SeriesSam Raingo
Theatre 6251966TV SeriesKenneth Shreeve
The Collector1965scenes deleted
Armchair Theatre1964TV SeriesWilfred Racey
The Comedy Man1964Chick Byrd
First Night1964TV SeriesMajor Colum Fitzgerald
ITV Television Playhouse1963TV SeriesCrispin
We Joined the Navy1962Lt. Cmdr. Robert Badger
The Longest Day1962Capt. Colin Maud
Some People1962Mr. Smith
The Largest Theatre in the World: Heart to Heart1962TV MovieDavid Mann
Loss of Innocence1961Eliot
Man in the Moon1960William Blood
Sink the Bismarck!1960Captain Shepard
North West Frontier1959Captain Scott
The 39 Steps1959Richard Hannay
The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw1958Jonathan Tibbs
Next to No Time1958David Webb
A Night to Remember1958Second Officer Charles Herbert Lightoller
Paradise Lagoon1957Crichton
Reach for the Sky1956Douglas Bader
The Deep Blue Sea1955Freddie Page
Raising a Riot1955Tony Kent
The Man Who Loved Redheads1955Narrator (voice)
Doctor in the House1954Richard Grimsdyke
BBC Sunday-Night Theatre1954TV SeriesFreddie Page
The Adventures of Sadie1953Pat Plunkett
Genevieve1953Ambrose Claverhouse
Never Let Me Go1953Steve Quillan
The Yellow Balloon1953Ted
Brandy for the Parson1952Tony Rackham
Island Rescue1951Lionel Fallaize
For the Children1950-1951TV SeriesHassan - Mesrour - December 1951 version / Mr. Badger
No Highway in the Sky1951Dobson, Co-Pilot (uncredited)
The Galloping Major1951Rosedale Film Studio Director
The Franchise Affair1951Stanley Peters
The Clouded Yellow1950Willy Shepley
Chance of a Lifetime1950Adam
Operation Disaster1950Lieut. Cmdr. James
The Luck of the Graces1949TV MovieJake
The Canvas Rainbow1949TV MovieJulian
Death of a Rat1949TV MovieDoctor Wilts
Stop Press Girl1949Police Sgt. 'Bonzo'
Now Barabbas1949Spencer
Man on the Run1949Corp. Newman the Blackmailer (as Kenneth Moore)
Macbeth/II1949TV MovieRoss
Macbeth1949TV MovieRoss
Scott of the Antarctic1948Lt. E.G.R.(Teddy) Evans R.N.
Reunion1948TV MoviePeter Sorley
Toad of Toad Hall1947TV MovieMr. Badger
Henry IV1947TV MovieThe Marquis Charles di Nolli
Power Without Glory1947TV MovieEddie
Mourning Becomes Electra1947TV Mini-SeriesCaptain Peter Niles
The Web1946TV MovieJulian Barrow
Secret Flight1946Bomb Aimer (uncredited)
They Flew Through Sand1946TV MovieS Ldr. Richard Barnes
The Silence of the Sea1946TV MovieThe German
Windmill Revels1937Bit Part (uncredited)
Carry on London1937Bit Part
Look Up and Laugh1935Bit Part (uncredited)

Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Slipper and the Rose: The Story of Cinderella1976performer: "Protocoligorically Correct"
Scrooge1970performer: "I Like Life" - uncredited
North West Frontier1959performer: "The Eton Boating Song" - uncredited

Thanks

Thanks

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Edición Especial Coleccionista2012TV Series in memory of - 1 episode

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
This Is Your Life (Highlights from the 1950's and 1960's)1991TV MovieHimself
Night of One Hundred Stars1980TV MovieHimself
Looks Familiar1980TV SeriesHimself - Guest
The Alan Hamel Show1979TV SeriesHimself
The Silent Witness1978DocumentaryNarrator (voice)
The Second Annual West End Theatre Awards1977TV SpecialHimself - Presenter
Night of 100 Stars1977TV SpecialHimself
The Blind Shall Read1975Documentary shortHimself - Commentator
This Is Your Life1973TV Series documentaryHimself - Guest
Omnibus1970TV Series documentaryHimself
If It Moves It's Rude: The Story of the Windmill Theatre1969DocumentaryNarrator
Dee Time1967TV SeriesHimself
Late Night Line-Up1967TV SeriesHimself
Blackpool Night Out1964-1965TV SeriesHimself
Val Parnell's Sunday Night at the London Palladium1965TV SeriesHimself
The Eamonn Andrews Show1965TV SeriesHimself
The Celebrity Game1964TV SeriesHimself
Juke Box Jury1962-1964TV SeriesHimself - Panellist
The Jo Stafford Show1961TV SeriesHimself
Survival1961TV Series documentaryNarrator
This Is Your Life1958-1959TV Series documentaryHimself
The Windmill Theatre: Twenty-Five Years Non-Stop1957TV ShortHimself
Film Fanfare1956TV SeriesHimself
Playing Fields Association: Cricket1955ShortHimself

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Talking Pictures2015TV Series documentaryHimself
Edición Especial Coleccionista2012TV SeriesSecond Officer Charles Herbert Lightoller
A Real Summer2007TV MovieHimself (uncredited)
Heroes of Comedy2002TV Series documentary
Anglia at Forty1999TV SeriesHimself
The Very Best of Sid James1996Video documentary
The Making of 'A Night to Remember'1993TV Movie documentaryHimself
Alma Cogan: The Girl with the Giggle in Her Voice1991TV Short documentaryHimself
Peter Cushing: A One-Way Ticket to Hollywood1989TV Movie documentaryJarvis Lorry
The 1950's: Music, Memories & Milestones1988Video documentaryHimself
The Golden Gong1985TV Movie documentary
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color1982TV SeriesKing Arthur

Won awards

Won awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1955BAFTA Film AwardBAFTA AwardsBest British ActorDoctor in the House (1954)
1955Volpi CupVenice Film FestivalBest ActorThe Deep Blue Sea (1955)

Nominated awards

Nominated awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1957BAFTA Film AwardBAFTA AwardsBest British ActorReach for the Sky (1956)
1956BAFTA Film AwardBAFTA AwardsBest British ActorThe Deep Blue Sea (1955)
1954BAFTA Film AwardBAFTA AwardsBest British ActorGenevieve (1953)

TitleSalary
The Forsyte Saga (1967)£15,500
The Longest Day (1962)£8,000
Reach for the Sky (1956)£25,000
Raising a Riot (1955)£5,000 + 5% Producer's cut
Doctor in the House (1954)£3,500
Our Girl Friday (1953)£4,500
Genevieve (1953)£2,500
The Yellow Balloon (1953)£750
Brandy for the Parson (1952)£1,000
Chance of a Lifetime (1950)£1,500
School for Secrets (1946)£10

#Quote
1Describing the story of Wing Commander "Tommy" Yeo-Thomas, GC in The White Rabbit (1967) - It can be seen on three levels, a 'Boy's Own Paper' story' of a man with great courage and guts. It can also be something much deeper - the battle of wits between a Gestapo officer and a Briton he is determined to break by torture to get the information he wants...... And it can be something far more important - a deep-down, soul-searching document of what we have forgotten of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. (Daily Mirror, 16 September 1967)
2I guess that my life has featured some things that didn't happen as well as those that did. For instance I was offered the role of the father in 'Mary Poppins' more than 15 years ago. I had to turn it down due to other commitments. I was thinking Disney would never offer me another part again so when 'UFO' [Unidentified Flying Oddball] came along I jumped at the chance. (Deseret News, 16 July 1979).
3Speaking of his role as Chick Byrd in "The Comedy Man": The public wouldn't accept me as a stevedore or as a Liverpool truck driver, so I've been prevented, until now, from making a realistic subject, although it's something I've been longing to do. (The Gazette, Montreal, 22 March 1963)
4Actors are as old as they appear to the public. I'm now in the last stages of playing the romantic fellow caught up with the girls. This will probably be my last play ("Sign of the Times") as a leading man that's got a couple of girls after him. Frankly this kind of part is too easy for me. But I have no ambition, you see, to play any particular part. It's just the one that comes along. My wife is well aware. She said 'Look Kenny, this'll probably be a huge commercial success, but don't go patting yourself on the back, because it's just like falling off a bloody log for you'. (The Times, 16 June 1973)
5Recalling the start of his career at the Windmill Theatre: .... After my father died, my mother had virtually nothing, and she gave me £150 and said 'that's all I can afford Kenny. You see what you can do'. So I came to London and recalled that Vivian Van Damm who ran the Windmill Theatre, was a friend of my father's, so I went to see him. 'Are you Bertie More's son? What can I do for you? I loved him. A lovely man.' I want a job. 'Start on Monday.' What doing Sir? 'I'll teach you. I need somebody to take over from me. Then eventually you can run the theatre. But don't ever come to me and say you want to be a bloody actor.'
6Paying tribute to Lewis Gilbert who directed him on four occasions at the height of his film career: .... He is a very simple person with no side or pretence, and a great technician. He is also extremely efficient, and so extracts efficiency from others. This is not a gift in the possession of all directors.
7Recalling his failed attempt to join up in 1939, having been told that the navy had all the men it needed: I left feeling very puzzled and very disappointed. I thought they would be welcoming men into the services, but it wasn't like that at all. I just thought that defending my country was more important than being an actor, and I wanted to join the navy because my father had been in the navy.
8Describing the long relationship he had with his agent Harry Dubens .... We never had a contract or written agreement. We did not even have an exchange of letters between us, only what lawyers like to call 'mutual trust', and the feeling that we could work together and achieve something worthwhile together.
9Speaking of Jack Hawkins whilst delivering the address at his memorial service on September 14 1973: The man who gave ............ he was always ready to help, listen, sympathize, advise and he always picked up the chips. He was popular and loved by the British public, and he earned and held their respect. He lost a gallant fight to recapture an actor's most precious gift (his voice).


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