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MALCOLM MCDOWELL is arguably among the most dynamic and inventive of world-class actors, yet also one capable of immense charm, humor, and poignancy. McDowell has created a gallery of iconographic characters since catapulting to the screen as Mick Travis, the rebellious upperclassman in Lindsay Anderson’s prize-winning sensation If.... His place in movie history was subsequently secured when Stanley Kubrick finally found the actor he was searching for to play the gleefully amoral Alex in A Clockwork Orange, when McDowell himself conceived the idea for Mick Travis’ further adventures in Anderson’s Candide-like masterpiece O Lucky Man!, and when he wooed Mary Steenburgen and defeated Jack the Ripper as the romantically inquisitive H.G. Wells in Time After Time. Those legendary roles are among the ones that have endured with legions of filmgoers, while new adherents have been won over by his tyrannical Soran (who destroys Capt. Kirk) in Star Trek: Generations; his Machiavellian Mr. Roarke in Fantasy Island; and his comically pompous professor Steve Pynchon in the critically hailed CBS television series Pearl, starring opposite Rhea Perlman.
For his motion picture work, the American Cinematheque honored him with a retrospective in June 2001, highlighted by showings of his electrifying performances in two major works. The first is Paul McGuigan’s Gangster No. 1, in which McDowell and Paul Bettany portray the consumed, driven title character and which afforded McDowell the chance to create a character both on-screen and through nuanced voice-over. The second is Russian director Karen Chakhnazarov’s acclaimed and rarely seen Assassin of the Tsar, which Vincent Canby called “a remarkable mystical and psychological exploration of the murder of the Romanov family.” About McDowell’s performance as the conflicted Yurovsky, the man who carried out the crime, The New York Times said, “Not since reaching his mature years has McDowell given such a fine, strong, crafty performance. It is acted with immense skill.”
McDowell’s distinctive motion-picture characterizations also include Richard Lester’s Royal Flash, Paul Schrader’s Cat People, Rachel Talalay’s Tank Girl, Joseph Losey’s Figures in a Landscape, Bryan Forbes’ The Raging Moon, and the Chaplinesque studio boss in Blake Edwards’ Sunset. His film credits are further highlighted by his compellingly sinister Caligula; the brilliant literary editor Maxwell Perkins in Martin Ritt’s Cross Creek; his cameo in Robert Altman’s The Player; and his final incarnation of Mick Travis in Britannia Hospital, the third film in Anderson’s trilogy marking the disintegration of British culture.
McDowell’s film work also includes Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius, In Good Company, I Spy, Robert Altman’s The Company; Robert Downey Sr.’s Hugo Pool with Sean Penn, Robert Downey Jr., and Cathy Moriarty; Just Visiting, Mr. Magoo, Hugh Hudson’s My Life So Far, Blue Thunder, Neil Marshall’s Doomsday in 2007, Rob Zombie’s Halloween I & II, and the voice of villain Dr. Calico in Disney’s 2008 box-office hit Bolt.
On television, McDowell has continued having recurring appearances as Terence on the hit HBO series, Entourage, as Linderman on NBC’s Heroes, and in summer of 2011, Malcolm will star in TNT’s newest series, Franklin & Bash, as Stanton Infeld. Franklin & Bash is the highest-rated test pilot in the history of TNT.