Malcolm McDowell

Malcolm McDowell
Malcolm McDowell

McDowell at the 2007 Jules Verne Adventure Film Special Awards Presentation
Born Malcolm John Taylor
13 June 1943 (1943-06-13) (age 68)
Horsforth, West Riding of Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom
Occupation Actor
Years active 1968–present
Spouse Margot Bennett (1975–1980)
Mary Steenburgen (1980–1990)
Kelley Kuhr (1991-present)

Malcolm McDowell (born 13 June 1943) is an English actor with a career spanning over forty years.

McDowell is principally known for his roles in the controversial films If...., O Lucky Man!, A Clockwork Orange and Caligula. His versatility as an actor has led to his presence in many films and television series of different genres, including Tank Girl, Star Trek Generations, the TV serial Our Friends in the North, Entourage, Heroes, Metalocalypse, the animated film Bolt, the 2007 remake of Halloween, and the 2009 sequel Halloween II. He is also well known for his narration of the seminal 1982 documentary The Compleat Beatles.


Early life

McDowell was born Malcolm John Taylor in Horsforth, then in the West Riding of Yorkshire, now a part of the City of Leeds, the son of Edna (née McDowell), a hotelier, and Charles Taylor, a pub owner.[1][2][3] However, six weeks after McDowell was born, his family relocated to the east coast of Yorkshire (in Bridlington) because his father was in the Royal Air Force. McDowell trained as an actor at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.[4]


McDowell began his professional life serving drinks in his parents' pub and then as a coffee salesman (the latter job providing inspiration for the movie O Lucky Man!). While enrolled in Cannock House School, he began taking acting classes, and eventually secured work as an extra with the Royal Shakespeare Company. McDowell made his screen debut as school rebel Mick Travis in If.... (1968) by British director Lindsay Anderson. This was followed by Figures in a Landscape (1970) and The Raging Moon (1971). His performance in If.... caught the attention of Stanley Kubrick, who cast McDowell as the lead in A Clockwork Orange, adapted from the novel of the same name by Anthony Burgess. He won great acclaim (nominated for a Golden Globe and an award by the New York Film Critics Circle in the category of Best Actor) for his role as Alex, a young sociopathic hoodlum brainwashed by a dystopian British government of the near future.

McDowell worked with Anderson again for O Lucky Man! (1973), which was based on his own idea, and Britannia Hospital (1982). McDowell regularly turned up on British television productions in the 1970s in adaptations of theatre classics, one example being with Laurence Olivier in The Collection (1976), as part of the series Laurence Olivier Presents, as Olivier's younger lover. He starred in Aces High (1975) and co-starred in Voyage of the Damned (1976), and as Dornford Yates' gentleman hero Richard Chandos in She Fell Among Thieves (1977). He made his Hollywood debut as H.G. Wells in Time After Time (1979).

McDowell mainly portrayed antagonists in the late 1970s and 1980s, including the title character in Caligula (1979). He later remarked upon his career playing film villains: "I suppose I'm primarily known for that but in fact, that would only be half of my career if I was to tot it all up."[5]

In his biography Anthony Burgess: A Life, author Roger Lewis commented on McDowell's later career; "his pretty-boy looks faded and he was condemned to playing villains in straight-to-video movies that turn up on Channel 5."[6]

McDowell also appeared in the 1983 action film Blue Thunder as F.E. Cochrane, and the 1982 remake of Cat People. In 1983, he starred in Get Crazy as Reggie Wanker, a parody of Mick Jagger. Also in 1983, McDowell starred as The Wolf (Reginald von Lupen) in Faerie Tale Theatre's rendition of "Little Red Riding Hood" (his wife at that time, Mary Steenburgen, played Little Red Riding Hood). In 1984, he narrated the documentary The Compleat Beatles.

McDowell is well known in Star Trek circles as "the man who killed Captain Kirk" in the 1994 film Star Trek Generations, in which he played the mad scientist Dr. Tolian Soran. McDowell has also appeared in several computer games, most notably as Admiral Tolwyn in the Wing Commander series of computer games. His appearance in Wing Commander III marked the series transition from 2D pre-rendered cutscenes to live-action cutscenes. His appearance in Wing Commander IV was during the final days of video game live action cutscenes.

In 1995, McDowell co-starred with actress and artist Lori Petty in the action/science fiction/comedy film Tank Girl. Here, he played the villain Dr. Kesslee, the evil director of the global Water and Power Company, whose main goal in the story was to control the planet's entire water supply on a future desert-like, post-apocalyptic Earth.

McDowell played himself in Robert Altman's The Player, in which he chastises protagonist Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins) for badmouthing him behind his back. He worked with Altman once again in 2003 for The Company as Mr. A. the fictional director of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. His character was based on real-life director Gerald Arpino.

In the 2003 film I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, he played a straight married man who rapes a young drug dealer to "teach him a lesson". The film also starred Clive Owen as the victim's older brother.

In 2006, McDowell portrayed radio mogul Jonas Slaughter on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, In 2007, he portrayed the wealthy, conspiratorial villain Mr. Linderman during the first season of the NBC hit series Heroes, a role he reprised in the third season premiere. He has starred in Jerry Was a Man, which has appeared as an episode of Masters of Science Fiction, on ABC [7] and Sky. He also portrayed Terrence McQuewick on Entourage and Julian Hodge on Monk.

McDowell appeared as Dr. Sam Loomis in Rob Zombie's 2007 remake of the horror film Halloween, and its sequel Halloween II.[8] He also played Desmond LaRochette in Robert Whitlow's The List, and Irish patriarch Enda Doyle in 2008's Red Roses and Petrol.[9] His next film is Canadian vampire comedy rock and roll movie Suck with director and actor Rob Stefaniuk and the upcoming Alex Wright film Two Wolves.[10] In December 2009 McDowell made an appearance in the music video "Snuff" by the band Slipknot.[11] He appears, uncredited, as Lombardi, the curator, in the 2010 film The Book of Eli. McDowell portrayed Satan in the upcoming comedy drama thriller Suing the Devil.[12] He will appear in the upcoming film Silent Hill: Revelation 3D as Leonard Wolf, the insane co-leader of a cult.

Voice acting

McDowell was the featured narrator in the documentary, The Compleat Beatles released in 1982.

McDowell has lent his voice to Lord Maliss in Happily Ever After, the Superman villain Metallo in Superman: The Animated Series, Mad Mod in Teen Titans, Merlyn in DC Showcase: Green Arrow, Arkady Duvall (son of Ra's Al Ghul) in Batman: The Animated Series, the narrator of an episode of South Park - wherein he is introduced as "A British Person" - and as the voice of a Death Star commander in a Robot Chicken episode parodying Star Wars. He is also a regular on the second season of the Adult Swim cartoon Metalocalypse as Vater Orlaag and other characters. McDowell also voiced Dr. Calico in Disney's Bolt.

In 2006-07, he contributed spoken word to two Pink Floyd tribute albums produced by Billy Sherwood: Back Against the Wall, and Return to the Dark Side of the Moon. In 2008, McDowell began a recurring role as Grandpa Fletcher on Phineas and Ferb. He also narrated the award-winning documentary Blue Gold: World Water Wars.

McDowell reprised his role of Metallo in the video game Superman: Shadow of Apokolips and an episode of Justice League Unlimited. He also provided his voice for the character President John Henry Eden in the video game Fallout 3, Rupert Pelham in the game WET, King Solomon in the Word of Promise Audio Bible, and the CEO of Stahl Arms in Killzone 3, Jorhan Stahl.[13] He also voiced Daedalus in God of War III.

McDowell portrays the role of "Caiaphas" in "The Truth & Life Dramatized audio New Testament Bible," a 22-hour, celebrity-voiced, fully dramatized audio New Testament which uses the RSV-CE translation.

McDowell is the host of "Fangoria's Dreadtime Stories" a monthly series of fully dramatized radio dramas with a mystery, horror, sci-fi and dark humor theme. Written by top writers of today, including Dennis Etchison and Max Allan Collins, these stories are creepy, cutting edge and not for the faint of heart. The series is produced by Carl Amari, who also produces The Twilight Zone radio dramas. The executive producer is Thomas DeFeo (CEO of Fangoria magazine) with Chris Roe as the associate producer. Original music for each episode is by Chris Alexander, an established composer and Fangoria editor-in-chief. Each month a new episode is available for free streaming worldwide at Fangoria's website All episodes, current and past, are available for digital download. The radio drama scripts, which are used by McDowell and the supporting actors, are also available to print in PDF at the Fangoria website for free.

Personal life

McDowell was married to extra Margot Bennett from 1975-80. He then married Mary Steenburgen, whom he had first met while filming Time After Time, and they had two children together: Lily Amanda (born 21 January 1981) and Charles Malcolm (born 10 July 1983), before ending their relationship in 1990. In 1991, McDowell married Kelley Kuhr with a 20 year age gap, with whom he has three children: Beckett Taylor McDowell (born 29 January 2004), Finnian Anderson McDowell (born 23 December 2006), and Seamus Hudson McDowell (born 7 January 2009). He currently resides in Ojai, California. He is the uncle of actor Alexander Siddig, who appeared in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Kingdom of Heaven, Syriana, 24, and the current fourth (2011) season of the UK and BBC America hit series Primeval. He and his nephew both appeared in the movie Doomsday by director Neil Marshall.

Filmography, Voice-overs and TV work


External links

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