Jack Hawkins (1910 - 1973)

A photo of Jack Hawkins
Jack Hawkins
1910 - 1973
September 14, 1910
London, England United Kingdom
July 18, 1973
London, England United Kingdom
Jack Hawkins was born on September 14, 1910 in London, England United Kingdom. He died on July 18, 1973 in London, England United Kingdom at 62 years of age.
Updated: April 18, 2021
Jack Hawkins - Famous English Actor Born September 14, 1910 in Wood Green, London, England, UK Died July 18, 1973 in Chelsea, London, England, UK (post-operative complications) Birth Name John Edward Hawkins Height 5' 11" (1.81 m) In Britain, special Christmas plays called pantomimes are produced for children. Jack Hawkins made his London theatrical debut at age 12, playing the elf king in "Where The Rainbow Ends". At 17, he got the lead role of St. George in the same play. At 18, he made his debut on Broadway in "Journey's End". At 21, he was back in London playing a young lover in "Autumn Crocus". He married his leading lady, Jessica Tandy. That year he also played his first real film role in the 1931 sound version of Alfred Hitchcock's The Phantom Fiend (1932). During the 30s, he took his roles in plays more seriously than the films he made. In 1940, Jessica accepted a role in America and Jack volunteered to serve in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He spent most of his military career arranging entertainment for the British forces in India. One of the actresses who came out to India was Doreen Lawrence who became his second wife after the war. Alexander Korda advised Jack to go into films and offered him a three-year contract. In his autobiography, Jack recalled: "Eight years later I was voted the number one box office draw of 1954. I was even credited with irresistible sex appeal, which is another quality I had not imagined I possessed." A late 1940s film, The Black Rose (1950), where he played a secondary role to Tyrone Power, would be one of his most fortunate choices of roles. The director was Henry Hathaway who Jack said was "probably the most feared, yet respected director in America, for he had a sharp tongue and fired people at the drop of a hat. Years later, after my operation when I lost my voice, he went out of his way to help me get back into films. What I did not know was that during the filming of 'The Black Rose' he was himself suffering from cancer." In the 1950s came the film that made Hawkins a star, The Cruel Sea (1953). Suffering from life-long real-life seasickness, he played the captain of the Compass Rose. After surgery for throat cancer in 1966, requiring the removal of his larynx, Jack continued to make films. He mimed his lines and the voice was dubbed by either Charles Gray or Robert Rietty or Leo Genn. His motto during those last years came from Milton's "Comus", a verse play in which he acted early in his career in Regent's Park. The lines: "Yet where an equal poise of hope and fear does arbitrate the event, my nature is that I incline to hope, rather than to fear." Spouse (2) Doreen Lawrence (31 October 1947 - 18 July 1973) ( his death) ( 3 children) Jessica Tandy (22 October 1932 - 2 January 1940) ( divorced) ( 1 child) Trade Mark (1) Often played friendly World War II officers Trivia (18)
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Jack Hawkins
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Trade Mark (1) Often played friendly World War II officers Trivia (18) He died three months after an operation to insert an artificial voice box in April 1973. Underwent cobalt treatment for a secondary condition of the larynx in 1959 after making The League of Gentlemen (1960). Afterwards he took voice coaching and reduced the number of cigarettes he smoked each day from about sixty to five. However, while filming Guns at Batasi (1964) five years later his voice began to fail. It was not until Christmas 1965 that he was diagnosed with throat cancer, by which time the only possible treatment was a total laryngectomy in January of the following year. Ever since, with his approval, his performances were dubbed, often by Robert Rietty or Charles Gray. Hawkins continued to smoke after losing his voice. In the completely restored edition of Lawrence of Arabia (1962) in 1989, Gray also dubbed Hawkins's voice for the sound restoration in scenes which had been deleted from previous editions of the film. In the same film, Retry had also dubbed Gamil Ratib's voice at first place. He was voted Number 1 star at the British Box Office in 1954. Initially sought for the role of Melville Farr in Victim (1961), Hawkins turned the role down because he thought the part might compromise his masculine screen image. Dirk Bogarde, who eventually played Farr, opined that Hawkins feared the role of a gay barrister would "prejudice his chances of a knighthood.". Resented the idea that he was typecast in war movies, pointing out in his 1973 autobiography "Anything for a Quiet Life" that he had in fact played fewer military roles than John Mills, Trevor Howard and Richard Attenborough. Made Guns at Batasi (1964), Judith (1966), Masquerade (1965) and The Poppy Is Also a Flower (1966) while suffering from cancer of the larynx. By the time he started filming The Wednesday Play: The Trial and Torture of Sir John Rampayne (1965), Hawkins had begun to cough up blood. His final role using his own voice was in a few episodes of Dr. Kildare (1961), where he managed to give a very accurate performance as a man who had just suffered a heart attack. Hawkins joined the Royal Welch Fusiliers in 1940, was commissioned and served with the Second British Division in India. In 1944 he was seconded to GHQ India and soon afterwards succeeded to the command, as a colonel, of ENSA administration in India and South East Asia. He was demobilized in 1946. He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1958 Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to drama. In his will published on September 20 1973 he left just £13,019 gross but the net amount was shown as nil. This was a result of high UK taxes and a reduction in his income following the surgery in 1966 which resulted in the loss of his voice. The family home at 34 Ennismore Gardens, South Kensington was left to his wife and his three children were provided for through a trust fund. His memorial service took place on what would have been his sixty-third birthday on 14 September 1973 at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London. The address was read by Kenneth More and Richard Attenborough read the lesson. He had a daughter, Susan with Jessica Tandy and two sons, Nicholas & Andrew Hawkins, with Doreen Lawrence. He was a student at the Italia Conti Drama School in London, England. Provided the official celebrity opening of the Aldersley Municipal Sports Stadium, Wolverhampton on 9 June 1956. The stadium now forms part of Aldersley Leisure Village. He appeared in three Best Picture Academy Award winners: The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Ben-Hur (1959) and Lawrence of Arabia (1962). Alec Guinness also appeared in both The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) and Lawrence of Arabia (1962). Jack Hawkins also appeared in one other Best Picture nominee: Nicholas and Alexandra (1971). Jack Hawkins confessed in his autobiography that he was a heavy smoker. During his illness, he dropped from sixty to five cigarettes daily. He was the original lead in Simba (1955) but was replaced by Dirk Bogarde. He has appeared in three films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Ben-Hur (1959) and Lawrence of Arabia (1962). A memorial service was held for him at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London on 14 September 1973. Personal Quotes (8) I adored it from the first moment. The excitement, the thrill, the smell of the theatre went right down to one's toes. Above all, I was taught to love and respect words. Each word had to be the right word; and each had to be spoken in a way that its weight and importance demanded. I think that no actor should take Hollywood too seriously, but at the same time, it would be wrong to underestimate its professionalism. Really, Hollywood is a caricature of itself, and in particular, this is true of the front-office types at the studios. Their enthusiasm towards you is measured precisely to match the success of your last film. Every time an army, navy or air force part comes up they throw it at me. There is nothing left now but the women's services! (1956) All of us in the film were sure that we were making something quite unusual, and a long way removed from the Errol Flynn-taking-Burma-single-handed syndrome. This was the period of some very indifferent American war movies, whereas The Cruel Sea (1953) contained no false heroics. That is why we all felt that we were making a genuine example of the way in which a group of men went to war. [on Lafayette (1962)] A totally forgettable film . . . the only bit of acting I have ever done solely for the money. [replying to criticism of his portrayal of Gen. Sir Edmund Allenby in Lawrence of Arabia (1962)] I agree that the character has been slanted slightly, but Lady Allenby must remember that this is a film about Lawrence - not the Field Marshall. [asked why he risked his reputation on the TV series The Four Just Men (1959)] I risk my reputation every time, why not on TV?

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Military Service

Hawkins joined the Royal Welch Fusiliers in 1940, was commissioned and served with the Second British Division in India. In 1944 he was seconded to GHQ India and soon afterward succeeded to the command, as a colonel, of ENSA administration in India and South East Asia. He was demobilized in 1946.

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Jack Hawkins, the Actor, Is Dead at 62 July 19, 1973 LONDON, July I8 — Jack Hawkins, one of the most distinctive and durable British film and stage actors, died here today in St. Stephen's Hospital. He was 62 years old. A spokesman for the hospital, to which Mr. Hawkins was admitted more than a month ago, said the cause of death was “a secondary hemorrhage, which occurred after an operation to fit an appliance to improve his speaking voice.” Seven years ago, Mr. Hawk ins, a versatile actor then at the height of his movie career, had his larynx removed in an operation for cancer of the throat. The operation deprived him of his natural voice, but with the help of a therapist, he developed a new “voice” and acted in half a dozen more films. Thoroughly British Over a period of four decades, beginning with his first appearance on the London stage at the age of 13, the slender, ruggedly handsome and—to American audiences, at least— thoroughly British Mr. Hawk ins appeared in more than 60 plays and nearly as many films. He had a wide variety of roles, but most often he was cast as the solid, responsible British military man or police inspector, a reassuring image of the Royal Air Force, the Army, the Navy or Scotland Yard at their best. In “The Bridge on the River Kwai” he played the leader of the commando unit sent to blow up the bridge laboriously constructed by prisoners of the Japanese during World War II. In “The Cruel Sea,” he starred as the doughty captain of a corvette in the heat of the Battle of the Atlantic. In “Lawrence of Arabia” he had the role of General Allenby. Not all his film appearances required him to portray figures of Establishment respectability, however. In “The League of Gentlemen” he was the organizer of a gang of elegant but shady Army veterans who turned to robbery after being demobbed. And he played an occasional heel or cad in run of‐the‐mill comedy‐dramas. It was early in 1966 that Mr. Hawkins's career appeared to be ended when he was found to have throat cancer. But a year after his larynx had been removed, Mr. Hawkins returned to films. He had learned to speak by using his diaphragm and stomach muscles, which served him sufficiently for delivering brief lines. When long er speaking parts were called for another actor's voice was dubbed for him. The voice he had lost was a distinctive one—a film critic once described him as “the actor with a voice like a dinner gong.” When he had relearned to speak by gulping in air and burping out the words, he took a characteristically philosophic view of the result. “The most I can hope for is to vary the pitch of the sounds,” he said. “The actual croaking quality, I'm afraid, is here to stay. It's a damned nuisance, but there you are.” Among his most recent films, in all of which his voice was dubbed, were “Nicholas and Alexandra,” “Young Winston,” “Waterloo” and “Jane Eyre.” Last April, in New York, surgeons attempted to restore Mr. Hawkins's speaking capability by implanting an artificial voice box in his throat. But the operation was not a success, and he was hospitalized in London for another operation. Made Debut in 1923 Born in London on Sept. 14, 1910, Mr. Hawkins made his first appearance at the Holborn Empire Theater in December 1923, in a walk‐on part in “Where the Rainbow Ends.' The next year, when he was 14 years old, he was auditioned by George Bernard Shaw and played the role of the page in the playwright's “Saint Joan.” By the age of 18 he was performing regularly in shows in London's West End. At 19 he appeared with Laurence Olivier (now Lord Olivier) in “Beau Geste” and, on Broadway, in “Journey's End.” From then until the beginning of World War II he appeared regularly on the London and New York stages. In 1940 he joined the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and served in India. He became a colonel in charge of the Brit ish equivalent of the U.S.O., arranging entertainment for troops stationed in India. Among his other post‐World War II films were “Ben‐Hur” and “Oh, What a Lovely War!” Mr. Hawkins married twice. He was divorced from his first wife, the actress Jessica Tandy, whom he married in 1932. They had one daughter. He married Doreen Lawrence, a former actress, in 1947 and they had two sons and a daughter. In 1958, in recognition of his achievement in the theatrical world, he was made a commander of the Order of the British Empire. Jack Hawkins died on July 18, 1973 in London, England United Kingdom at age 62. He was born on September 14, 1910 in London, England United Kingdom.

1910 - 1973 World Events

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In 1910, in the year that Jack Hawkins was born, Thomas Edison introduced his kinetophone, which he hoped would make "talkies" a reality. But the sound wasn't synchronized to the pictures and only 45 Kinetophones were made.

In 1935, when he was 25 years old, the BOI's name (the Bureau of Investigation) was changed to the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and it officially became a separate agency with the Department of Justice. J. Edgar Hoover, the Chief of the BOI, continued in his office and became the first Director of the FBI. The FBI's responsibility is to "detect and prosecute crimes against the United States".

In 1941, at the age of 31 years old, Jack was alive when in his State of the Union address on January 6th, President Roosevelt detailed the "four freedoms" that everyone in the world should have: Freedom of speech, Freedom of worship, Freedom from want, and Freedom from fear. In the same speech, he outlined the benefits of democracy which he said were economic opportunity, employment, social security, and the promise of "adequate health care".

In 1951, at the age of 41 years old, Jack was alive when on April 5th, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (husband and wife) were sentenced to death for treason. They were executed on June 19th. American citizens, they were convicted of spying for the Soviet Union. Their two young sons were adopted by a high school teacher and his wife.

In 1973, in the year of Jack Hawkins's passing, on August 15th, amidst rising calls for the impeachment of President Richard Nixon, Congress imposed an end to the bombing of Cambodia.

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