On This Day … 22 February [2023]

People (Births)

  • 1908 – John Mills, English actor (d. 2005)
  • 1926 – Kenneth Williams, English actor and screenwriter (d. 1988)
  • 1968 – Jeri Ryan, American model and actress
  • 1969 – Thomas Jane, American actor

People (Deaths)

  • 1995 – Ed Flanders, American actor (b. 1934)

John Mills

Sir John Mills CBE (born Lewis Ernest Watts Mills; 22 February 1908 to 23 April 2005) was an English actor who appeared in more than 120 films in a career spanning seven decades. He excelled on camera as an appealing British everyman who often portrayed guileless, wounded war heroes. In 1971, he received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Ryan’s Daughter.

For his work in film Mills was knighted by Elizabeth II in 1976. In 2002, he received a BAFTA Fellowship from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and was named a Disney Legend by The Walt Disney Company.

Military Service

In September 1939, at the start of the Second World War, Mills enlisted in the British Army, joining the Royal Engineers. He was later commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, but in 1942 he received a medical discharge because of a stomach ulcer.

  • The Midshipmaid (1932).
  • O.H.M.S. (1937).
  • Cottage to Let (1941).
  • In Which We Serve (1942).
  • We Dive at Dawn (1943).
  • The Way to the Stars (1945).
  • Morning Departure (1950).
  • Above Us The Waves (1955).
  • The Baby and the Battleship (1956).
  • War and Peace (1956).
  • Dunkirk (1958).
  • Ice Cold in Alex (1958).
  • I Was Monty’s Double (1958).
  • Tunes of Glory (1960).
  • The Valiant (1962).
  • Tiara Tahiti (1962).
  • Operation Crossbow (1965).
  • Africa Texas Style (1967).
  • Chuka (1967).
  • Emma Hamilton (1968).
  • Oh! What a Lovely War (1969).
  • Ryan’s Daughter (1970).
  • Young Winston (1972).
  • Trial by Combat (1976).
  • The Thirty Nine Steps (1978).
  • Zulu Dawn (1979).
  • Gandhi (1982).
  • Edge of the Wind (1985), TV play as General Blair.

Kenneth Williams

Kenneth Charles Williams (22 February 1926 to 15 April 1988) was an English actor of Welsh heritage. He was best known for his comedy roles and in later life as a raconteur and diarist. He was one of the main ensemble in 26 of the 31 Carry On films, and appeared in many British television programmes and radio comedies, including series with Tony Hancock and Kenneth Horne, as well as being a regular panellist on BBC Radio 4’s comedy panel show Just a Minute from its second series in 1968 until his death 20 years later.

Williams grew up in Central London in a working-class family; he claimed his father spoke Cockney. He served in the Royal Engineers during World War II, where he first became interested in becoming an entertainer. After a short spell in repertory theatre as a serious actor, he turned to comedy and achieved national fame in Hancock’s Half Hour. He sustained continued success throughout the 1960s and 1970s with his regular appearances in Carry On films, and subsequently kept himself in the public eye with chat shows and other television work.

Williams was fondly regarded in the entertainment industry; in private life, however, he suffered from depression. He kept a series of diaries throughout his life that achieved posthumous acclaim.

World War II

He was educated at The Lyulph Stanley Boys’ Central Council School, a state-owned Central school, in Camden Town, north London and subsequently became apprenticed as a draughtsman to a mapmaker. His apprenticeship was interrupted by the Blitz, and he was evacuated to Bicester, and the home of a bachelor veterinary surgeon. It provided his first experience of an educated, middle-class life, and he loved it. He returned to London with a new, vowel-elongated accent. In 1944, aged 18, he was called up to the British Army. He became a sapper in the Royal Engineers Survey Section, doing much the same work that he did as a civilian. When the war ended he was in Ceylon and he opted to transfer to the Combined Services Entertainment Unit, which put on revue shows. While in that unit he met Stanley Baxter, Peter Vaughan, Peter Nichols and John Schlesinger.

Jeri Ryan

Jeri Lynn Ryan (née Zimmermann; born 22 February 1968) is an American actress who played the former Borg drone Seven of Nine in Star Trek: Voyager, for which she was nominated four times for a Saturn Award and won in 2001. She has reprised her role as Seven of Nine in Star Trek: Picard.

Ryan also played Veronica “Ronnie” Cooke on Boston Public (2001–2004). She was a regular on the science fiction series Dark Skies (1997) and the legal drama series Shark (2006-2008). In 2009 she guest starred on the series Leverage as Tara Cole. From 2011 to 2013, she starred as Dr. Kate Murphy in the ABC drama series Body of Proof. In 2016, she began appearing as Veronica Allen on the Amazon Prime series Bosch.

Ryan was born Jeri Lynn Zimmermann on 22 February 1968, in Munich, West Germany, the daughter of Gerhard Florian “Jerry” Zimmermann, a master sergeant in the US Army, and his wife Sharon, a social worker. She has one older brother, Mark. Ryan grew up on Army posts in Kansas, Maryland, Hawaii, Georgia and Texas.

When she was 11, her father retired from the Army and the family settled in Paducah, Kentucky.

Thomas Jane

Thomas Jane (born Thomas Elliott III; 22 February 1969) is an American actor. He is known for appearing in the films Padamati Sandhya Ragam (1987), Boogie Nights (1997), Deep Blue Sea (1999), The Punisher (2004), The Mist (2007), Mutant Chronicles (2008), 1922 (2017), and The Predator (2018). Jane’s television roles include Mickey Mantle in the television film 61* (2001), and starring in the HBO series Hung (2009-2011) and the Syfy/Amazon Video series The Expanse (2015-2022). He is the founder of RAW Studios, an entertainment company that releases comic books he has written, the first of which was Bad Planet. He made his directorial debut with the crime thriller Dark Country (2009), in which he also starred.

Ed Flanders

Edward Paul Flanders (29 December 1934 to 22 February 1995) was an American actor. He is best known for playing Dr. Donald Westphall in the medical drama series St. Elsewhere (1982-1988). Flanders was nominated for eight Primetime Emmys and won three times in 1976, 1977, and 1983.

He received a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award for his performance in the 1973 production of A Moon for the Misbegotten.

After graduating from Patrick Henry High School (where he played hockey) in 1952, he enlisted in the US Army, where he served as an X-ray technician. After his service with the US Army ended, Flanders began his acting career on Broadway before moving on to guest parts in television series.

In addition to his six-year role as Dr. Donald Westphall, Flanders is noted as the actor who has played President Harry Truman more times, and in more separate productions, than any other. He portrayed Truman at the end of World War II and during the Korean War in Truman at Potsdam, Harry S. Truman: Plain Speaking, and MacArthur. In MacArthur, Flanders had second billing to Gregory Peck’s lead as General Douglas MacArthur.

In feature films, Flanders performed major roles in two dark movies based on novels by William Peter Blatty. In the first, The Ninth Configuration (1980), he plays Colonel Richard Fell, a self-effacing medic at a secret US Army psychiatric facility who assists Marine psychiatrist Colonel Vincent Kane (Stacy Keach). The film was based on Blatty’s 1978 novel of the same name, itself a reworking of his earlier, darkly satirical novel Twinkle, Twinkle, “Killer” Kane (1966). In 1990, Flanders played Father Dyer alongside star George C. Scott in Blatty’s The Exorcist III based on the novel Legion.

One of Flanders’s best-remembered TV guest roles was in the first season M*A*S*H episode “Yankee Doodle Doctor” (S01E06), playing film director Lieutenant Duane William Bricker, who is making a documentary about MASH units and visits the 4077th. After Hawkeye and Trapper sabotage his effort, Bricker abandons the project and leaves.

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