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Subject: Archive: Michael Rennie, June 10, 1971


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Date Posted: Sunday, June 10, 01:11:45pm


LONDON, June 10¡ªMichael Rennie, the actor, Who played Harry Lime in the television series ¡°The Third Man,¡± died today In Harrogate, Yorkshire. He was 62 years old.

Mr. Rennie, a United States citizen since 1960, was born in Yorkshire and was visiting his mother when he died.

Smooth and Debonair

Mr. Rennie was a smooth, dgbonair actor, Who played Variety of roles in television and on the screen and stage.

He was probably best©\known, however, for his suave and sophisticated portrayal of the romantic international spy, Harry Lime, in ¡°The Third Man,¡± one of the most popular television series ever made. The series was highly successful in Europe and Australia as well as here.





In 1961, Mr. Rennie co©\starred as Dirk Winsten, a handsome film actor whose fortune was on the ebb, in the Jean Kerr comedy ¡°Mary, Mary,¡± and later took the same role in the movie of the play.
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¡°I'm getting my first chance to play comedy in this coun try,¡± he said then. ¡°Hollywood brought me over for the movies more than a dozen years ago. I've made plenty of films here and had good roles, but I never was given the opportunity to play comedy.

As a matter of fact, this is my first stage role of any sort in this country. I've been under Hollywood contract all of the time until recently and never had enough time off to do a play.¡±

No allowance had been made for casting a Briton in the role. But this seemed to make no difference.

¡°It isn't that I have scarcely any accent,¡± Mr. Rennie ex plained, ¡°after spending years over here. The fact is that arrived with little of what most people think, of as a pronounced British accent. As I recall it, it seems to me that I never had much of it. At least not to the extreme that you some times hear.

¡°I was trained in British repertory companies and learned to speak well. Then made some British movies, felt I might have a future in films and realized that if I wanted to get ahead in that field I'd have to go to Hollywood eventually.

¡°And I knew that if I wanted to succeed there, I'd have to be able to play something be sides British roles. So, even before I got my chance to go to Hollywood, I was consciously making an effort to erase what accent I felt I might have had at the time.

¡°Of course, I still get an occa sional letter from my mother, who may see me in a film or in one of the television epi sodes, rather chiding me for talking so much like an Amer ican.¡±

Mr. Rennie was born at Bradford, Yorkshire. He was English on his mother's side and Scottish on his father's.





A desire to leave his family wool business, which was start ed more than 150 years ago, led Mr. Rennie to the offices of Gaumont©\British in London. His request to act in films was accepted, and the Cambridge educated tyro performed a year before the cameras in a variety of roles at a minuscule salary.

Mr. Rennie thed joined a Yorkshire stock company to expand his knowledge of act ing. A little laterr he became, the star of the York Repertory Company and performed con temporary works, including ¡°Pygmalion,¡± in which he played Professot Higgins many, times.

His career was interrupted by World War II, in which he, served as a flying officer in the Royal Air Force and as an instructor of American pi lots in Georgia for several years.

After the war, he resumed film©\making, appearing with Margaret Lockwood in ¡°I'll Be Your Sweetheart,¡± in which he sang. He also had a part in another of Miss Lockwood's British movies, ¡°The Wicked Lady.¡±

These pictures led to a 20th Century©\Fox contract and Mr. Rennie's departure for Holly wood, where he made more than 50 films. Notable among his films were ¡°Trio,¡± ¡°The Day the Earth Stood Still,¡± ¡°Des irde,¡± ¡°Third Man on the Moun tain,¡± ¡°Seven Cities of Gold,¡± ¡°The Robe,¡± ¡°The Lost World¡± and ¡°Les Miserables.¡±

Others were ¡°King of the Khyber Rifles,¡± ¡°Soldier of For tune,¡± ¡°Rains of Ranchipur¡± and ¡°Island in the Sun.¡± Most recent were ¡°Ride Beyond Ven geance,¡± ¡°The Devil's Bri gade¡± and ¡°The Power,¡± the last in 1968.

In American television Mr. Rennie had appeared on ¡°Play house 90,¡± ¡°Climax¡± and ¡°Wagon Train.¡±

He married several times and had a son, David.

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