Michael York (actor)

Michael York

York at the Filmex Tribute to Elizabeth Taylor, November 1981. Credit to Alan Light
Born Michael Hugh Johnson
27 March 1942 (1942-03-27) (age 69)
Fulmer, Buckinghamshire, England
Nationality British
Education Bromley Grammar School for Boys
Alma mater University College, Oxford
Occupation Actor
Years active 1965–present
Spouse Patricia McCallum

Michael York, OBE (born Michael Hugh Johnson; 27 March 1942) is an English actor.


Early life

York was born in Fulmer, Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, the son of Florence Edith May (née Chown), a musician; and Joseph Gwynne Johnson, a Llandovery born Welsh ex-Royal Artillery British Army officer and executive with Marks and Spencer department stores.[1] York has an older sister, Penelope Anne (born 1940) and younger twin sisters, Caroline and Bridget (born 1947) but Bridget died a few hours after birth, according to his autobiography. He was brought up in Burgess Hill, Sussex.[2] During his teenage years, York was educated at Bromley Grammar School for Boys, Bromley, London and at University College, Oxford. He began his career in a 1956 production of The Yellow Jacket. In 1959 he made his West End debut with a brief part in a production of Hamlet.


Prior to graduating with a degree in English from the University of Oxford in 1964, York had toured with the National Youth Theatre, also performing with the Oxford University Dramatic Society and the University College Players. After some time with the Dundee Repertory Theatre, York joined the National Theatre where he worked with Franco Zeffirelli during the 1965 staging of Much Ado About Nothing.

Following his role on British TV as Jolyon (Jolly) in The Forsyte Saga (1967), York made his film debut as Lucentio in Zeffirelli's The Taming of the Shrew (1967), then was cast as Tybalt in Zeffirelli's 1968 film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet with Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey. He also starred in an early Merchant Ivory Productions film, The Guru (1969). He played an amoral bisexual drifter in Harold Prince's film Something for Everyone (1970) opposite Angela Lansbury as the countess who hires York as her footman. He then went on to portray the bisexual Brian Roberts in Bob Fosse's film version of Cabaret (1972), opposite Liza Minnelli. His character in Cabaret was a fictionalized version of writer Christopher Isherwood, whose novel Goodbye to Berlin had provided much of the source material for Cabaret. In 1977 he reunited with Zeffirelli as a fiery John the Baptist in Jesus of Nazareth.

York starred as D'Artagnan in the 1973 adaptation of The Three Musketeers and he made his Broadway debut in the original production of Tennessee Williams's Out Cry. One year later the sequel to The Three Musketeers was released (roughly covering events in the second half of the book) titled The Four Musketeers. These two films are still popular and generally accepted as the best film version of the famous Dumas adventure story.[3] Fifteen years later, most of the cast (and crew) joined together in a third film titled The Return of the Musketeers based on the Dumas novel Twenty Years After. He also played the title character in the film adaptation of Logan's Run (1976). The following year, he starred in The Island of Dr. Moreau opposite Burt Lancaster.

Michael York in 1986

Since his auspicious early work, York has enjoyed a busy and varied career in film, television, and on the stage. He appeared in two episodes in the second season of the Road to Avonlea series as Ezekiel Crane, the lighthouse keeper of Avonlea and foster father of Gus Pike. His Broadway theatre credits include Bent (1980), The Crucible (1992), Someone Who'll Watch Over Me (1993), and the ill-fated musical The Little Prince and the Aviator (1982), which closed during previews. He also has made many sound recordings as a reader, including Harper Audio's production of C. S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

He appeared in the Babylon 5 episode "A Late Delivery From Avalon" as a delusion-ridden Earthforce gunner. He also appeared as Professor Asher Fleming, a 60 year-old Yale professor and boyfriend of Yale student Paris Geller (Liza Weil) in the fourth season of Gilmore Girls. He performed the voice of the character Ares in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Hawk & Dove", as well as a character named Dr. Montague Kane in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Zatanna" and Kanto in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Tools of the Trade". York starred in both The Omega Code and its sequel, Megiddo: The Omega Code 2, as Stone Alexander, the Antichrist of Christian eschatology.

York also played President Alexander Bourne of Macronesia (formerly New Australia) on seaQuest 2032, a role that was quickly fleshed out and would have remained a major character in the series had it not been canceled.[citation needed] He has played Basil Exposition in all three of the Austin Powers movies. He has made an appearance on The Simpsons as Mason Fairbanks, Homer Simpson's possible father, in "Homer's Paternity Coot." He was also in the third season finale of Sliders as a character reminiscent of Dr. Moreau. In 2006, York played the character Bernard Fremont (inspired by real life killer Charles Sobhraj) in the Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "Slither". He also appeared as himself in several episodes of the third season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. He guest starred in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

York also voiced Petrie's uncle Pterano in The Land Before Time VII: The Stone of Cold Fire, with Jim Cummings and Rob Paulson playing his sidekicks Sierra and Rinkus. York was the narrator in the audio New Testament project, the Word of Promise, which is being produced by Jim Caviezel. York played King Arthur in a revival of Lerner and Loewe's Camelot, which began its run at the La Mirada Theatre in Southern California, and toured nationally in 2006 and 2007. Recently, voiced Forever King Patrick in Ben 10: Alien Force.

York portrays "Luke" in The Truth & Life Dramatized Audio New Testament Bible, a 22-hour, celebrity-voiced, fully dramatized audio New Testament which uses the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition translation.

Personal life

York lives in California, USA and has American citizenship.[4] He married Patricia McCallum on 27 March 1968. His stepson is Star Wars producer Rick McCallum.



Also available in other editions

Other works

York is also the co-author, with director Adrian Brine, of A Shakespearean Actor Prepares, Smith & Kraus, ISBN 1-575-25189-2.


External links

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