On This Day … 30 November [2022]

People (Births)

  • 1916 – Michael Gwynn, English actor (d. 1976).
  • 1926 – Richard Crenna, American actor, director, and producer (d. 2003).
  • 1937 – Ridley Scott, English director, producer, and production designer.
  • 1943 – Terrence Malick, American director, producer, and screenwriter.
  • 1952 – Mandy Patinkin, American actor and singer.

Michael Gwynn

Michael Gwynn (30 November 1916 to 29 January 1976) was an English actor. He attended Mayfield College near Mayfield, Sussex. During the Second World War he served in East Africa as a major and was adjutant to the 2nd (Nyasaland) Battalion of the King’s African Rifles.

Gwynn is perhaps best remembered for his role in the first episode of the BBC comedy Fawlty Towers “A Touch of Class” (1975) as the conman “Lord” Melbury who eventually humiliates Basil Fawlty. For Hammer Films, he performed in several productions including the war film The Camp on Blood Island (1958), and Never Take Sweets from a Stranger (1960), a rare drama film for the studio; the actor also appeared in one of their very best horror movies, The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), in which he played a tragic experimental subject who turns into a cannibalistic killer, and the less well-regarded Scars of Dracula (1970) in the role of a priest determined to battle Count Dracula. He had a lead role in 1960’s Village of the Damned, produced and distributed by MGM-British Studios.

Gwynn also appeared on several adaptations of plays on the Caedmon Records label. Among them were Cyrano de Bergerac, in which he played Le Bret, and Julius Caesar, in which he played Casca. Both productions starred Ralph Richardson in the title roles. Gwynn also appeared in a BBC serialised adaptation of Great Expectations as Joe Gargery in 1959.

Gwynn died on 29 January 1976 in London, aged 59. Earlier that day, he had finished filming on Spawn, a television play for London Weekend Television.

Richard Crenna

Richard Donald Crenna (30 November 1926 to 17 January 2003) was an American film, television and radio actor.

Crenna starred in such motion pictures as The Sand Pebbles (1966), Wait Until Dark, Un Flic, Body Heat, the first three Rambo films, Hot Shots! Part Deux, and The Flamingo Kid. His first success came on radio in 1948 as high school student Walter Denton co-starring with Eve Arden and Gale Gordon in the CBS series Our Miss Brooks.

Crenna continued with the comedy in its 1952 move into television. He also starred as Luke McCoy in the ABC, and later CBS, television series The Real McCoys (1957-1963). In 1985, he won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie for his portrayal of the title role in The Rape of Richard Beck.

Ridley Scott

Sir Ridley Scott (born 30 November 1937) is an English film director and producer. Directing, among others, science fiction films, his work is known for its atmospheric and highly concentrated visual style. Scott has received many accolades throughout his career, including the BAFTA Fellowship for lifetime achievement from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 2018. In 2003, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for services to the British film industry. He was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2007, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2011.

An alumnus of the Royal College of Art in London, Scott began his career in television as a designer and director before moving into advertising, where he honed his filmmaking skills by making mini-films for television commercials. He made his debut as a film director with The Duellists (1977) and gained wider recognition with his next film, Alien (1979). Three years later he would direct Blade Runner, which Scott calls his “most complete and personal film”. Though his films range widely in setting and period, they frequently showcase memorable imagery of urban environments, spanning 2nd-century Rome in Gladiator (2000), 12th-century Jerusalem in Kingdom of Heaven (2005), Medieval England in Robin Hood (2010), contemporary Mogadishu in Black Hawk Down (2001), or the futuristic cityscapes of Blade Runner and different planets in Alien, Prometheus (2012), The Martian (2015) and Alien: Covenant (2017). Several of his films are also known for their strong female characters, such as Thelma & Louise (1991).

Scott has been nominated for three Academy Awards for Directing, which he received for Thelma & Louise, Gladiator and Black Hawk Down. Gladiator won the Academy Award for Best Picture, and he received a nomination in the same category for The Martian. In 1995, both Scott and his brother Tony received a British Academy Film Award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema. In a 2004 BBC poll, Scott was ranked 10 on the list of most influential people in British culture.

Terrence Malick

Terrence Frederick Malick (born 30 November 1943) is an American filmmaker. His films include Days of Heaven (1978), The Thin Red Line (1998), for which he received Academy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, The New World (2005) and The Tree of Life (2011), the latter of which garnered him another Best Director Oscar nomination and the Palme d’Or at the 64th Cannes Film Festival.

Malick began his career as part of the New Hollywood wave with the films Badlands (1973), about a murderous couple on the run in 1950s American Midwest, and Days of Heaven (1978), which detailed a love triangle between two laborers and a wealthy farmer during the First World War, before a lengthy hiatus.

Malick’s films have explored themes such as transcendence, nature, and conflicts between reason and instinct. They are typically marked by broad philosophical and spiritual overtones, as well as the use of meditative voice-overs from individual characters. The stylistic elements of his work have inspired divided opinions among film scholars and audiences; some praised his films for their cinematography and aesthetics, while others found them lacking in plot and character development. His first five films have nonetheless ranked highly in retrospective decade-end and all-time polls.

Mandy Patinkin

Mandel Bruce Patinkin (born 30 November 1952) is an American actor and singer, known for his work in musical theatre, television and film. He is a critically acclaimed Broadway performer, having received three Tony Award nominations, winning for his leading role in Evita (1980), and seven Drama Desk Award nominations. For his work in television he has received seven Primetime Emmy Award nominations (winning one). He has also received a Screen Actors Guild Award, and three Golden Globe Award nominations.

Patinkin made his theatre debut in 1975 starring opposite Meryl Streep in the revival of the comic play Trelawny of the ‘Wells’ at The Public Theatre’s Shakespeare Festival. He then originated the iconic role of Che in the original Broadway production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita, in 1979, as well as that of Georges Seurat in Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George, in 1984.

Patinkin is also known for his leading roles in various shows on television, playing Dr. Jeffrey Geiger in Chicago Hope (1994-2000), SSA Jason Gideon in the crime-drama television series Criminal Minds (2005–2007), and Saul Berenson in the Showtime drama series Homeland (2011-2020). For his work in television he has earned seven Primetime Emmy Award nominations, winning Outstanding Leading Actor in a Drama Series for Chicago Hope in 1995. Patinkin has had recurring roles in Dead Like Me (2003-2004) and The Good Fight (2021).

Over his career Patinkin has become known for his performances in film including his iconic portrayal of Inigo Montoya in Rob Reiner’s family adventure film The Princess Bride (1987). He also starred alongside Barbra Streisand in the musical epic Yentl (1983), where he received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy nomination. His other film credits include Miloš Forman’s Ragtime (1981), Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy (1990), Wonder (2017), and Life Itself (2018).

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