Alec McCowen was a lauded British stage and screen actor who appeared in dozens of movies throughout his 50-year career. Born and raised in the English town of Tunbridge Wells, McCowen always had a desire to perform. His mother was a dancer and early on instilled in young Alec a passion for entertaining others. Thus, when it came time to receive his formal acting training, McCowen enrolled in London's prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). McCowen excelled at the RADA and soon developed a passion for stage acting. Beginning in the early 1940s, he started appearing in numerous plays throughout England. McCowen quickly developed a reputation as a noteworthy stage actor and by the early 1950s he was appearing in plays both in London and in New York City. In addition to his stage acting, McCowen landed his first film role in 1953 in the adventure drama "The Cruel Sea." Several more film roles in the 1950s followed, including "The Deep Blue Sea" (1955), "Time Without Pity" (1957) and "The Silent Enemy" (1958). Then in 1962 McCowen joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he began appearing in the playwright's most important work, thus adding further prestigious to his already remarkable stage-acting career. Over the course of the next several decades McCowen successfully juggled both film and stage work, appearing consistently in both films and plays throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s. His more notable film work during this period included roles in Kenneth Branagh's "Henry V" (1989), Martin Scorsese's Edith Wharton adaptation "The Age of Innocence" (1993), and a small role in Scorsese's Oscar-nominated historical epic "Gangs of New York," which would also be his last film appearance. McCowen died at his home in London on February 7, 2017. He was 91.
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