Oscar Actors: Knox, Alexander–Background, Career, Awards

Nov 30, 2020
Alexander Knox Career Summary:

Occupational Inheritance: No

Nationality: Canadian

Social Class: father minister

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Screen Image: character actor

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Politics: liberal

Death: 87

 

Alexander Knox (16 January 1907 – 25 April 1995) was a Canadian actor on stage, screen, and occasionally television. He was nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe for his performance as Woodrow Wilson in the biopic Wilson (1944).

Although his liberal views forced him to leave Hollywood because of McCarthyism, Knox had a long career. He starred in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979 BBC mini-series) as Control, Chief of the Circus and George Smiley’s mentor. He was also an author, writing adventure novels set in the Great Lakes area during the 19th century as well as plays and detective novels.

Knox was born in Strathroy, Ontario, where his father was the minister of the Presbyterian Church. He graduated from the University of Western Ontario. He moved to Boston, Massachusetts, to perform on stage with the Boston Repertory Theatre.

After the company folded following the stock market crash of 1929, Knox returned to London, Ontario, where, for the next two years, he worked as a reporter for The London Advertiser before moving to London, England, where, during the 1930s, he appeared in several films.

He starred opposite Jessica Tandy in the 1940 Broadway production of Jupiter Laughs and, in 1944, he was chosen by Darryl F. Zanuck to star in Wilson (1944), the biographical film about American President Woodrow Wilson, for which he won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor.

However, during the McCarthy Era, his liberal views and work with the Committee for the First Amendment hurt his career, but he was not blacklisted, and he returned to Britain.

Knox had major roles in The Sea Wolf (1941), None Shall Escape (1944), Over 21 (1945), Sister Kenny (1946), Europa ’51 (1952), and The Vikings (1958), as well as supporting roles late in his career, such as in The Damned (1963), Nicholas and Alexandra (1971), Joshua Then and Now (1985; his last film role) and the miniseries Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

He depicted Governor Hudson Inverest in “The Latin Touch”, the second episode of the first season of The Saint in 1962.

He wrote six adventure novels: Bride of Quietness (1933), Night of the White Bear (1971), The Enemy I Kill (1972), Raider’s Moon, The Kidnapped Surgeon and Totem Dream. He also wrote plays and at least three detective novels under a pseudonym before 1945.

Knox was married to American actress Doris Nolan (1916–1998) from 1944 until his death in 1995. They starred together in the 1949 Broadway play The Closing Door, which Knox also wrote. They had a son Andrew Joseph Knox (born 1947; died by suicide in 1987) who became an actor and appeared in Doctor on the Go, and who was married to Imogen Hassall.

Alexander Knox died in Berwick-upon-Tweed from bone cancer.

Complete Filmography
The Ringer (1931) (uncredited)
Rembrandt (1936) as Ludwick’s Assistant (uncredited)
The Tiger (1936 TV movie) as American Liaison Officer
Everyman (1937 TV movie) as Everyman
Polly (1937 TV movie) as Cawwawkee
Deirdre (1938 TV movie) as Naisi
The Gaunt Stranger (1938) as Dr. Lomond
The Four Feathers (1939) (uncredited)
Cheer Boys Cheer (1939) as Saunders
The Sea Wolf (1941) as Humphrey Van Weyden
This Above All (1942) as Rector
Commandos Strike at Dawn (1942) as German Captain
None Shall Escape (1944) as Wilhelm Grimm
Wilson (1944) as Woodrow Wilson
Over 21 (1945) as Max W. Wharton
Sister Kenny (1946) as Dr. McDonnell
The Judge Steps Out (1947) as Judge Thomas Bailey
The Sign of the Ram (1949) as Mallory St. Aubyn
Tokyo Joe (1949) as Mark Landis
I’d Climb the Highest Mountain (1951) as Tom Salter
Two of a Kind (1951) as Vincent Mailer
Saturday’s Hero (1951) as Professor Megroth
The Son of Dr. Jekyll (1951) as Dr. Curtis Lanyon
Man in the Saddle (1951) as Will Isham
Paula (1952) as Dr. Clifford Frazer
Europa ’51 (1952) as George Girard
The Sleeping Tiger (1954) as Dr. Cilve Esmond
The Divided Heart (1954) as The Chief Justice
The Night My Number Came Up (1955) as Owen Robertson
Alias John Preston (1955) as Dr. Peter Walton
Reach for the Sky (1956) as Mr. Joyce
High Tide at Noon (1957) as Stephen MacKenzie
Hidden Fear (1957) as Hartman
Davy (1958) as Sir Giles
Chase a Crooked Shadow (1958) as Chandler Brisson
The Vikings (1958) as Father Godwin
Intent to Kill (1958) as Dr. McNeil
Passionate Summer (1958) as Leonard Pawley
The Two-Headed Spy (1958) as Gestapo Leader Müller
Operation Amsterdam (1959) as Walter Keyser
The Wreck of the Mary Deare (1959) as Petrie
Oscar Wilde (1960) as Sir Edward Clarke
Crack in the Mirror (1960) as President
The Share Out (1962) as Col. Calderwood
The Longest Day (1962) as Maj. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith
The Damned (1963) as Bernard
In the Cool of the Day (1963) as Frederick Bonner
Man in the Middle (1964) as Col. Burton
Woman of Straw (1964) as Detective Inspector
Crack in the World (1965) as Sir Charles Eggerston
Mister Moses (1965) as Rev. Anderson
The Psychopath (1966) as Frank Saville
Modesty Blaise (1966) as Minister
Khartoum (1966) as Sir Evelyn Baring
Accident (1967) as University Provost
The 25th Hour (1967) as D.A.
Bikini Paradise (1967) as Commissioner Lighton
You Only Live Twice (1967) as American President (uncredited)
How I Won the War (1967) as American General
Villa Rides (1968) as President Madero
Shalako (1968) as Henry Clarke
Fräulein Doktor (1969) as Gen. Peronne
Run a Crooked Mile (1969 TV movie) as Sir Howard Nettleton
Skullduggery (1970) as Buffington
When We Dead Awaken (1970 TV movie) as Rubek
Puppet on a Chain (1971) as Colonel De Graaf
Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) as The American Ambassador
Truman at Potsdam (1976 TV movie) as Henry L. Stimson
Holocaust 2000 (1977) as Meyer
Churchill and the Generals (1979 TV movie) as Henry Stimson – Secretary of War
Suez 1956 (1979 TV movie) as John Foster Dulles
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979 TV mini-series) as Control – Chief of Circus
Cry of the Innocent (1980 TV movie) as Thornton Donegin
Gorky Park (1983) as General
Helen Keller: The Miracle Continues (1984 TV movie) as Mr. Gilman
The Last Place on Earth (1985 TV movie) as Sir Clements Markham
Joshua Then and Now (1985) as Senator Hornby