John Mills

Biography

Mills was born at the Watts Naval School in North Elmham, Norfolk, England, and grew up in Belton, where his father was the headmaster of the village school[1] and in Felixstowe, Suffolk. He was educated at Norwich High School for Boys[2], where it is said that his initials can still be seen carved into the brickwork on the side of the building in Upper St. Giles Street. He made his acting debut on the stage of the Sir John Leman School in Beccles in a performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream when he played the part of Puck.[citation needed] Upon leaving school he worked as a clerk at a corn merchants in Ipswich. Mills took an early interest in acting, making his professional debut at the London Hippodrome in The Five O'Clock Girl in 1929. He also starred in the Noël Coward revue Words and Music. He made his film debut in The Midshipmaid (1932), and appeared as Colley in the 1939 film version of Goodbye, Mr Chips, opposite Robert Donat. In September 1939, at the start of World War II, Mills enlisted in the Royal Engineers.[3] He was later commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. But in 1942 he received a medical discharge because of a stomach ulcer.[3] He starred in Noël Coward's In Which We Serve. Mills took the lead in Great Expectations in 1946, and subsequently made his career playing traditionally British heroes such as Captain Scott in Scott of the Antarctic (1948). Over the next decade he became particularly associated with war dramas, such as The Colditz Story (1954), Above Us the Waves (1955) and Ice-Cold in Alex (1958). He often acted in the roles of people who are not at all exceptional, but become heroes due to their common sense, generosity and right judgment. From 1959 through the mid-1960s, Mills starred in several films alongside his daughter Hayley. Their first film together was the 1959 crime drama Tiger Bay, in which John plays a police detective investigating a murder that Hayley's character witnessed. Following Hayley's rise to fame in Pollyanna (1960) and the 1961 family comedy The Parent Trap, John and Hayley again starred together, in the 1965 teen sailing adventure The Truth About Spring, the 1964 drama The Chalk Garden (with Deborah Kerr in the lead role), and the 1966 comedy-drama The Family Way, in which John plays an insecure, overbearing father and Hayley plays his son's newlywed wife. As Col. Barrow in Tunes of Glory, Mills won the best Actor Award at the 1960 Venice Film Festival. For his role as the village idiot in Ryan's Daughter (1970) — a complete departure from his usual style — Mills won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. His most famous television role was probably as the title character in Quatermass for ITV in 1979. Also on the small screen, in 1974 he starred as Captain Tommy "The Elephant" Devon in the six-part television drama series The Zoo Gang, about a group of former underground freedom fighters from World War II, with Brian Keith, Lilli Palmer and Barry Morse. Mills also starred as Gus: The Theatre Cat in the filmed version of the musical Cats in 1998. In 2000, Mills released his extensive home movie footage in a documentary film entitled Sir John Mills' Moving Memories, with interviews with Mills, his children Hayley, Juliet and Jonathan and Richard Attenborough. The film was directed and edited by Marcus Dillistone, and features behind the scenes footage and stories from films such as Ice-Cold in Alex and Dunkirk. In addition the film also includes home footage of many of John Mills' friends and fellow cast members including Laurence Olivier, Harry Andrews, Walt Disney, David Niven, Dirk Bogarde, Rex Harrison and Tyrone Power. Mills' last cinema appearance was playing a tramp in Lights 2 (directed by Marcus Dillistone); shot at Pinewood Studios, he was photographed by cinematographer Jack Cardiff. They had last worked together on Scott of the Antarctic in 1948. Their combined age was 186 years, a cinema record. Altogether he appeared in over 120 films.

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Known For
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Swiss Family Robinson

Father Robinson

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Zulu Dawn

Sir Henry Bartle Frere

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Great Expectations

Pip

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When the Wind Blows

Jim (voice)

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Ice Cold In Alex

Captain Anson

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Ryan's Daughter

Michael

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Hobson's Choice

Willie Mossop

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The Colditz Story

Pat Reid

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We Dive At Dawn

Lt Freddie Taylor - Captain

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Tunes of Glory

Lt. Col. Basil Barrow

Starring In
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La Cha Cha

Musician (Trumpet)

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Invasion Planet Earth

Man in Alley

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Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff

Self - Interviewee (archive footage)

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Oscarverleihung 2006

Himself - Memorial sequence (archive footage)

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Bright Young Things

Man Taking Cocaine at Party

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Forever Ealing

Himself (uncredited)

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Cliff Richard - An Audience With Cliff Richard

Himself

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Cats - The Musical

Gus the Theatre Cat

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Bean: The Movie

Chairman (as Sir John Mills)

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To Be on Camera: A History with Hamlet

Self

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Hamlet

Old Norway

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The Grotesque

Sir Edward Cleghorn

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Deadly Advice

Jack the Ripper

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Bob Monkhouse - An Audience With Bob Monkhouse

Himself - Audience Member

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Martin Chuzzlewit

Mr. Chuffey (4 episodes, 1994)

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Frankenstein

De Lacey

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Le complot du renard

Brig. Dougal Munro

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The Lady and the Highwayman

Sir Lawrence Dobson

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Who's That Girl?

Montgomery Bell (as Sir John Mills)

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When the Wind Blows

Jim (voice)

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Hold The Dream - Barbara Taylor Bradford

Henry Rossiter

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Murder with Mirrors

Lewis Serrocold

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Sherlock Holmes and the Masks of Death

Doctor Watson

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A Woman Of Substance - Barbara Taylor Bradford

Henry Rossiter (2 episodes, 1985)

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Sahara

Cambridge

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Gandhi

The Viceroy

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Tales of the Unexpected, Set 1

Sam Morrissey / ... (3 episodes, 1980-1982)

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Zulu Dawn

Sir Henry Bartle Frere

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The Quatermass Conclusion

Prof. Bernard Quatermass

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The Thirty-Nine Steps

Scudder

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Dr. Strange

Thomas Lindmer

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The Big Sleep

Inspector Carson

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The Devil's Advocate

Monsignor Blaise Meredith (as Sir John Mills)

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Ein Mann Rechnet Ab

Mike McAllister

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Young Winston

General Kitchener

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Dulcima

Mr. Parker

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Adam's Woman

Sir Philip MacDonald

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Ryan's Daughter

Michael

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Run Wild, Run Free

The Moorman

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Oh! What a Lovely War

Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig

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Lady Hamilton - Zwischen Schmach und Liebe

Lord William Hamilton

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A Black Veil for Lisa

Inspector Franz Bulon

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Chuka

Col. Stuart Valois

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The Family Way

Ezra Fitton

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The Wrong Box

Masterman Finsbury

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King Rat

Smedley-Taylor

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Operation Crossbow

General Boyd

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The Pirates of Spring Cove

Tommy Tyler

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Mujer sin Pasado

Maitland

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The Valiant

Capt. Morgan

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Tiara Tahiti

Lt. Col. Clifford Southey

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The Parent Trap

Mitch Evers' golf caddy (uncredited)

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The Singer Not the Song

Father Michael Keogh

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Flame in the Streets

Jacko Palmer

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Swiss Family Robinson

Father Robinson

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Tunes of Glory

Lt. Col. Basil Barrow

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Tiger Bay

Superintendent Graham

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I Was Monty's Double

Major Harvey

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Ice Cold In Alex

Captain Anson

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Dunkirk

Cpl. 'Tubby' Bins

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Town on Trial

Supt. Mike Halloran

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The Circle

Dr. Howard Latimer

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War and Peace

Platon Karataev

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Around the World in 80 Days

London Carriage Driver

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The Baby and the Battleship

Puncher Roberts

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Above Us the Waves

Cmdr. Fraser

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The End of the Affair

Albert Parkis

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Escapade

John Hampden

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The Colditz Story

Pat Reid

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Hobson's Choice

Willie Mossop

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The Long Memory

Phillip Davidson

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Die Bombe im U-Bahn Schacht

Terence Sullivan

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Morning Departure

Lt. Cmdr. Armstrong

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The History of Mr. Polly

Alfred Polly

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The October man

Jim Ackland

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Great Expectations

Pip

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Scott of the Antartic

Captain R.F. Scott R.N.

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Waterloo Road

Jim Colter

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The Way to the Stars

Peter Penrose

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This Happy Breed

Billy Mitchell

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We Dive At Dawn

Lt Freddie Taylor - Captain

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In Which We Serve

Ordinary Seaman Blake / Shorty Blake

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Old Bill and Son

Young Bill Busby

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Bombsight Stolen

Flt·Lieut. Perry

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Goodbye, Mr. Chips

Peter Colley - as a Young Man

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The Green Cockatoo

Jim Connor

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You're in the Army Now

Cpl. Bert Dawson

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Nine Days a Queen

Lord Guilford Dudley

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Royal Cavalcade

Young Enlistee

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Born for Glory

Albert Brown

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Strictly Dynamite

John Mills (as The Mills Brothers)

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Operator 13

Singer (uncredited)

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The Big Broadcast

John Mills (uncredited)

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