Laurence Harvey Edit Profile
Educated in Johannesburg, he served in the South African army before going to RADA and thence to work in the English theatre.
Harvey made his debut in House of Darkness (48, Oswald Mitchell) and his reputation in the British cinema in The Scarlet Thread (51, Lewis Gilbert); The Good Die Young (53, Gilbert); as Romeo, opposite Susan Shentall, in Romeo and Juliet (54, Renato Castellani); in Henrv Cornelius’s I Am a Camera (55); as Joe Lampton in Jack Clayton’s Room at the Top (59)—his breakthrough; in Expresso Bongo (59, Yal Guest); and The Long and the Short and the Tall (61, Leslie Norman).
He drifted to Hollywood out of no clear conviction or demand and often returned to work in England—as Lampton again in Life at the Top (65, William Kotcheff). What more can you say of a man only interesting as a zombie, except that in 1963 he directed and produced a film. The Ceremony and in 1969 produced another, L'Assoluto Naturale (69, Mauro Bolognini)? After that, he played in Der Kampf um Rom (69, Robert Siodmak), WUSA (70, Stuart Rosenberg), and Night Watch (73, R rian G. Hutton) before succumbing to cancer. Among several wives, he included Margaret Leighton and Harry Cohn’s widow, Joan.
Served Southern African Armed Forces. Named Most Promising Actor of Year New York Theater, 1955.
“I’ve never been able to like you,” says Richard Boone’s Sam Houston to Harvey’s Colonel Trays in The Alamo (60, John Wayne) and moments later Wayne’s Davy Crockett tells him to “Step down off vour high horse." Not many actors lasted as long on cold starch, or endured such illness. Harvey was icily effective as the brainwashed Raymond Shaw in The Manchurian Candidate (62, John Frankenheimer) and as the double-agent Eberlin, a man instructed to liquidate himself, in A Dandy in Aspic (68, completed by Harvey after the death of Anthony Mann).
Elsewhere, he tended to bare his teeth and arch his cheekbones, whether trying to suggest nastiness—as in Butterfield 8 (60, Daniel Mann), The Outrage (64, Martin Ritt), Darling (65, John Schlesinger)—or hoping to be appealing, as in Two Loves (61, Charles Walters), Walk on the Wild Side (62, Edward Dmytryk), The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (62, Henrv Levin), The Running Man (63, Carol Reed), or Of Human Bondage (64, Ken Hughes and Henry Hathaway).
Married Joan Perry Cohn, 1968. Married second, Paulene Stone.