John Mills

John Mills was an award-winning actor, dancer and producer whose career spanned eight decades with works like Great Expectations and Ryan’s Daughter.


John Mills was born on February 22, 1908, in Felixstowe, England, and worked as a dancer before hitting the big screen in the 1930s. He went on to establish a film career that lasted 80 years, winning an Oscar for Ryan’s Daughter and starring in projects like Great Expectations, Hobson’s Choice, The Swiss Family Robinson and Gandhi. He died on April 23, 2005. One of his daughters is actress Hayley Mills.

Early Commercial Success

Born in North Elmham, Norfolk, England, on February 22, 1908, John Mills first appeared on stage in 1929, becoming a popular actor in light comedies and musicals in the 1930s. Mills was best known as a film star, appearing in many patriotic war films as well as such epics as Scott of the Antarctic (1948), The Colditz Story (1954) and Oh! What a Lovely War (1969). For two generations, he represented the figure of a fundamentally decent and reliable Englishman and took few unsympathetic roles.

Later Career

Mills was awarded an Academy Award for his role as the village idiot in Ryan's Daughter (1970), and later appeared in Gandhi (1982) and Deadly Advice (1994). His stage career indicates a wider acting range, including The Petition at the National Theatre in 1986.

Mills was knighted in 1976, and received a BAFTA Fellowship for outstanding contributions to world cinema in 2002.

John Mills died on April 23, 2005, in Denham, Buckinghamshire, England. He was survived by his two daughters, actresses Juliet and Hayley.

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