Jack Hawkins – MovieActors.com
Hawkins in THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI.
About Jack Hawkins (1910 – 1973)
John Edward Hawkins was born on September 14th, 1910, in Wood Green, London, England, the son of a builder.
Jack Hawkins' talent as a thespian emerged quite early in his life. His father enrolled him in London's The Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts; an independent school for talented children, aged ten to nineteen years old. Jack made his professional London stage theatrical debut as the Elf King in WHERE THE RAINBOW ENDS at age 12.
At 18, Jack made his stage debut on Broadway in JOURNEY'S END. At 21, Jack Hawkins went back to London to play in AUTUMN CROCUS. In this London stage production of AUTUMN CROCUS, Jack co-starred with his wife to be, Jessica Tandy. They married in October of 1932. They had one daughter, Susan.
During the 1930s, Jack was more seriously focused on his stage career, and just dabbled in film projects, playing mostly lesser supporting actor roles. His first meaningful excursion into film acting was in Alfred Hitchcock's 1932 sound version British film,THE LODGER;(released in America as PHANTOM FIEND), where he had a strong supporting actor role, playing the character of Joe Martin.
A film version of AUTUMN CROCUS was released in 1934, with Jack being asked to play the role of Alaric, not a starring role but as a lesser supporting actor, which was fine with him.
Jack and Jessica's marriage ended in 1940, probably because of too much time apart due to performances. Jessica was cast in a film role and left for America, while Jack Hawkins volunteered for the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Jack was given the responsibility to schedule entertainment for the British troops in India. Jack rose to the rank of Colonel, became responsible for Southeast Asia as well.
One of the actresses that went to India, was Doreen Lawrence. Jack and Doreen were married after World War 2 ended in 1947. Doreen retired from acting after her marriage to Jack. They had two children together; Nicholas & Andrew, plus Jack's daughter Susan, who lived with them as well. The family lived at their South Kensington home, outside of London. Doreen and Jack stayed together as a loving couple until Jack died in 1973.
After World War 2 ended, Jack was urged by a British film Producer, Sir Alexander Kordea to become more serious about a film career, though Jack had been in 18 films, in between stage performances. After Kordea offered Jack a three year contract, Jack jumped into film more forcefully, as a supporting character actor, usually playing men of authority quite effectively.
The 1950 film that first made him very popular as an actor was THE CRUEL SEA. By 1954, Jack Hawkins was voted the number one actor in British films, playing men in stern authority often sympathetically, as only he could play them.
On speaking his lines, Jack shared in an interview, "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."
As a result of his exhibited thespian talent; on stage and in films, Jack was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1958 Queen's Honours List for his services to drama.
Jack continued to find much success playing strong supporting roles in films of the 50's and 60's, and in television projects as well. He was great in such award-winning films as BEN-HUR;(1959), LAWRENCE OF ARABIA;(1962), AND THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI;(1957)
Occasionally, Jack was listed in the billing of the main featured stars, such as in the 1955 film; LAND OF THE PHAROHS, the 1960 film; THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN, the 1964 film; GUNS AT BATASI, two 1965 projects; the film, MASQUERADE, & television play, THE TRIAL AND TORTURE OF SIR JOHN RAMPAYNE, and the 1966 film; JUDITH.
Jack Hawkins passed away on July 18th, 1973, in London England UK, after a long battle with the effects of throat cancer. He died three months after an artificial voice box was inserted.
Jack was diagnosed with cancer in 1965, and he had a laryngectomy. In his following film projects, Jacked mimed his lines, and his voice on screen was dubbed by either Robert Rietty or Charles Gray.
Being a disciplined actor, Jack was working up until his death. His last television project was a 1974 TV Mini-series, QB Vii; (filmed in 1973), where Jack played a justice. For this performance, he was nominated for a Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actor Primetime Emmy.
Apparently, despite his illness, he found the energy to write his autobiography, ANYTHING FOR A QUIET LIFE, which was published after his death.
His motto that Jack lived by during those last years came from Milton's "Comus"; a verse play in which he performed in, early in his career in Regent's Park. "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."
Jack Hawkins's notable movie credits include...
TALES THAT WITNESS MADNESS (1973)
YOUNG WINSTON (1972)
MONTE CARLO OR BUST (1969)
THE PRISONER (1967)
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962)
THE LEAGUE OF GENTLTMEN (1959)
THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957)
TWICE UPON A TIME (1953)
A SHOT IN THE DARK (1933)
Jack Hawkins in THE
BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI.
Jack Hawkins in THE PRISONER (1967).