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General information  

  • Real name : Simon Charles Pendered MacCorkindale
  • Place of birth : Cambridgeshire
  • Date of birth : 12/02/1952
  • Place of death : London
  • Date of death : 14/10/2010

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  • MacCorkindale Simon

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Simon MacCorkindale (1952)

Simon Charles Pendered MacCorkindale

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  Summary  

Simon Charles Pendered MacCorkindale (12 February 1952–14 October 2010) was a British actor, film director, writer and producer. MacCorkindale spent much of his childhood moving around due to his father's commission with the Royal Air Force. Poor eyesight prevented him from following a similar career in the RAF, so he instead planned to become a theatre director. Training at the Theatre of Arts in London, MacCorkindale started work as an actor, making his West End debut in 1974. He went on to appear in numerous roles in television, including the series I, Claudius and Jesus of Nazareth, before starring as Simon Doyle in the film Death on the Nile . This proved to be a breakthrough role and allowed MacCorkindale to move to the United States, where he appeared in a variety of films and TV series including Quatermass , The Riddle of the Sands , The Sword and the Sorcerer and Jaws 3-D .

In 1983, MacCorkindale starred in the short-lived series Manimal as the lead character, Dr Jonathan Chase, before taking up the longer-running role of lawyer Greg Reardon in Falcon Crest. Throughout the late 1980s and 1990s he directed and produced many stage, TV and film productions through his company Amy International Artists, such as the film Stealing Heaven . Moving to Canada, MacCorkindale starred as Peter Sinclair in the series Counterstrike for three years. He returned to the UK in 2002 and joined the cast of the BBC medical drama Casualty, appearing in the role of Harry Harper for six years until 2008. He married actress Susan George in 1984 and died of colorectal cancer in 2010.

  Biography  

 early life
MacCorkindale was born on 12 February 1952 in Ely, Cambridgeshire, England, to Scottish parents Gilliver Mary (née Pendered) and Peter Bernard MacCorkindale OBE, who died in September 2007. He had a brother, Duncan, while his father was an RAF Group Captain station commander. MacCorkindale spent some of his childhood in Edinburgh, where his father was stationed for a period, although Peter MacCorkindale's changing postings necessitated 17 moves to places across Europe. As a result, he became an "independent" child. MacCorkindale attended Haileybury and Imperial Service College in Hertfordshire from 1965–70, where he was Head Boy and a member of the Air Training Corps. Originally intending to enlist in the RAF, he abandoned this plan at the age of 13 when his eyesight began to deteriorate. MacCorkindale considered joining the diplomatic corps to become an ambassador, but instead opted to become a stage director after developing an interest in theatre. MacCorkindale had been a fan of theatre since writing a play at the age of eight, joking that it was "unproduceable" because "it required an enormous cast and a considerable amount of rum drinking." Making his acting debut at the same age, he went on to appear on stage and work behind the scenes of numerous school and theatre group productions throughout his childhood. Persuading his parents that he would find a "sensible job" if a career as a director was not sustaining him financially by the age of 25, MacCorkindale decided not to study at university and instead attended the Studio 68 drama school at the Theatre of Arts in London. In his time at drama school, he took acting classes so that he "could better understand actors and, hopefully, be a more competent director." A "star pupil", MacCorkindale continued to act after graduating from the Theatre of Arts "until felt confident enough to" direct "a seasoned performer".

 career
 Early career and the United States

MacCorkindale started his acting career touring the UK with a repertory theatre group. His first professional stage role arrived in a 1973 run of A Bequest to the Nation at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry. He made his West End theatre debut in a production of Pygmalion in 1974, starring alongside Alec McCowen and Diana Rigg in the role of "Sarcastic Bystander". In 1973, the series Hawkeye, The Pathfinder had given MacCorkindale his first TV credit. He went on to appear in a number of other TV series, including Within These Walls, Sutherland's Law, I, Claudius and Jesus of Nazareth. MacCorkindale's film debut came in 1974 with Juggernaut, and his break when he was cast as Simon Doyle in the 1978 film adaptation of Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile at the age of 25. He became friends with co-star Bette Davis, reflecting, "There was a feeling of being in awe of these people but I had a certain amount of pioneer courage, so I didn't let it get to me. But there were days when I thought, 'I'm about to do a scene with this cinema legend, am I up to it?' But people were very gracious. I was never the whipping boy because I was less experienced." MacCorkindale won the London Evening Standard Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer for this part.

The following year, MacCorkindale played astronomer Joe Kapp in the fourth episode of Nigel Kneale's Quatermass TV serial, starring alongside John Mills. He had previously starred in an episode of Kneale's series Beasts and enjoyed appearing in the role of Kapp, finding it a change from the typecast romantic roles that he had become accustomed to playing, while noting that it was "challenging" conveying the character's strong Jewish faith. Kneale later expressed disappointment with MacCorkindale's performance, commenting, "We had him in Beasts playing an idiot and he was very good at that". MacCorkindale also starred as sailor Arthur Davies in The Riddle of the Sands .

Following the success of Death on the Nile, MacCorkindale moved to the United States in 1980. Although warned that it would be a "negative", MacCorkindale refused to adopt an American accent for his work, believing that his British diction would help fill a "niche". However, for two years he failed at the audition stage for all major parts on account of his nationality. The American Broadcasting Company told MacCorkindale that he was not an "eight o'clock actor", meaning that "at that time of night they didn't want viewers watching someone who sounded intellectual or who had an accent that was alien to their ears and, therefore, hard work when it came to listening." He was eventually cast in the adventure series Manimal for NBC in 1983, in which he played the lead character Professor Jonathan Chase, an Englishman who assists police in the fight against crime with his ability to transform into animals. The role impressed MacCorkindale, who considered Chase to be a "very cerebral individual". He also "found himself in the first wave of UK stars to make it big in America," along with Joan Collins in Dynasty, which led to a further influx of British actors finding work in the US. Filming would often run for as much as 14 to 16 hours per day, and MacCorkindale would sometimes be required to work at weekends to be made up with the prosthetics necessary for Manimal's transformation sequences. The low ratings that resulted in the cancellation of Manimal after one season and eight episodes was in part due to NBC broadcasting the series at the same time as Dallas on CBS, Manimal losing out to the more popular "soap". Budget cuts also contributed to the series' cancellation as it was the network's most expensive series. Manimal has since acquired a global cult following.

MacCorkindale appeared in the films Caboblanco and The Sword and the Sorcerer . Later, he starred as Philip FitzRoyce in the third part of the Jaws film series, Jaws 3-D , but subsequently his film career stalled to a certain extent as he appeared in more TV roles. Following Manimal, he was given parts in series such as Dynasty, Fantasy Island, Hart to Hart, Matt Houston and The Dukes of Hazzard. He also played David Clement, an aristocrat, in the mini-series Manions of America. In the 1980s he directed three performances of the play Sleuth, starring Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Howard Keel and James Whitmore, and a Los Angeles production of The Merchant of Venice, and starred in the one-man show The Importance of Being Oscar at the Globe Playhouse in 1981. He received another substantial TV acting role in 1984 when he was cast as Angela Channing's lawyer Greg Reardon in the soap opera Falcon Crest, without requiring an audition. MacCorkindale asked for the character, originally an American named Brad, to be rewritten as English, and also directed one episode. He rejected a contract extension after appearing in 59 episodes and left the series in 1986 because he "felt that the work I was doing was fun and lucrative but not as stretching as I felt I wanted or needed. I also was finding fault with much of the work, not only Falcon Crest, but everything. I was actually ready to quit acting and try producing so I could put myself on the line."

In the mid-1980s he was considered for the role of James Bond as a possible successor to actors Sean Connery and Roger Moore, but was not cast.

 Canada and return to the United Kingdom
After his departure from Falcon Crest, MacCorkindale returned to the UK in 1986 to form a production company. The following year, he established Amy International Artists, based at Shepperton Studios, with his wife Susan George, and also Anglo Films International. He subsequently directed, wrote and produced a number of projects for Amy International, including the 1988 film Stealing Heaven , and the 1989 film Djavolji Raj , which stars George and features romantic theme music composed by MacCorkindale. MacCorkindale and George purchased the rights to each project because they wished to "make the pictures that we just totally and literally believe in", regardless of their commercial success. MacCorkindale continued to act and became involved in a number of projects in Canada, which he felt "could be at the crossroads of international production." From 1990 to 1993, MacCorkindale played former Scotland Yard inspector Peter Sinclair on the USA Network series Counterstrike, filmed in Toronto. He was offered the part by producer Robert Lantos, who wanted to work with MacCorkindale while for his part the actor wished to return to acting after three years running Amy International. With production complete on several episodes, feeling that the show was "too plot-driven rather than character-driven", MacCorkindale thereafter became a writer for the series. He was appointed an executive production consultant that ensured that he "could make quicker [on-set] judgments on behalf of the production." Following Counterstrike, MacCorkindale appeared in the final episode of Canadian TV drama E.N.G., whereafter his "media tycoon" character was planned to be the star of a spin-off alongside actress Sara Botsford, but the project was abandoned. MacCorkindale then wrote the screenplay for a biopic of the missing peer Lord Lucan, which he also planned to produce and act in, although financial problems resulted in the cancellation of the project in 1996. He starred in numerous TV films throughout the 1990s, including a part as the villain in the Canadian series The Girl Next Door. MacCorkindale was glad to "gradually to villains" as "that's more fun than the straitlaced hero." MacCorkindale also reprised the role of Dr Chase from Manimal in an episode of Night Man in 1998, which incorporated computer-generated imagery for the transformations as opposed to prosthetic makeup, and also directed an episode of the series. Other late-1990s appearances include the TV series Earth: Final Conflict and the 2000 TV film The Dinosaur Hunter. Working in partnership with Chris Bryant, MacCorkindale wrote and directed the TV film The House That Mary Bought in 1995, and with Paul Stephens co-produced the 1998 film Such a Long Journey, for which he was nominated for the Genie Award for Best Motion Picture. He served as co-executive producer for the 2000 syndicated TV series Queen of Swords, and as co-producer for the 2002 series Adventure Inc.. MacCorkindale also co-produced the third series of Relic Hunter in 2002.

Having rejected an offer to play Captain Jonathan Archer in the science-fiction TV series Star Trek: Enterprise, MacCorkindale returned again to the UK and in 2002 joined the cast of the BBC One medical drama Casualty, in the role of clinical lead consultant Harry Harper. Following his casting, he said in an interview with the Daily Record that he was a long-time fan of the series, commenting that it was "great to be joining an established show with a great bunch of people." In contrast, Neil Bonner of the Liverpool Daily Post quoted him as stating that he had never seen an episode of the show in its then-16-year history. MacCorkindale was surprised to be offered the role of Harper given the many years that he had spent working in North America, but having settled in Exmoor found Bristol to be an accessible production base. MacCorkindale was "never too comfortable as a young actor" and "always felt that ." Wanting to return to a TV acting role, he signed on for Casualty. MacCorkindale commented that he "loved time on Casualty," and spent time researching all the medical terminology that his character used to ensure that he understood it. He also appeared as Harper in the Casualty spin-off series Holby City and Casualty@Holby City. Many reviewers were disparaging of MacCorkindale's performances in Casualty: Rupert Smith of The Guardian deemed MacCorkindale "fantastically wooden", while fellow Guardian journalists Sarah Dempster and Jim Shelley commented on MacCorkindale's "loud" delivery of his lines. Shelley described the character of Harper as a "human Foghorn Leghorn", while according to Dempster, Casualty was "above all about Simon MacCorkindale, shouting. Then panting, alarmingly, as he peers through some blinds. And then shouting again."

In January 2007, MacCorkindale was given a five-month sabbatical from Casualty because a plotline required that his character be temporarily removed from the series. He took the opportunity to tour the UK in a revival of the Agatha Christie murder mystery play The Unexpected Guest. He then returned to Casualty, but having re-discovered his "taste" for theatre, left the series permanently in 2008 to appear as Andrew Wyke in a UK tour Anthony Shaffer's Sleuth. By the time that MacCorkindale quit Casualty, he had appeared in 229 episodes of the series. In August 2008, he replaced Simon Burke as Captain Georg Ludwig von Trapp in the London Palladium production of The Sound of Music, remaining with the show until its closure in February 2009. After small parts in the films 13 Hrs and A Closed Book, he returned to TV as Sir David Bryant in the 2010 series of New Tricks, in what proved to be his final TV appearance.

 personal life
MacCorkindale was married twice. His first wife was actress Fiona Fullerton; the couple married in 1976 and divorced in 1982. Following his divorce from Fullerton, MacCorkindale re-connected with an old friend, actress Susan George, whom he had first met in 1977; they married secretly in Fiji on 5 October 1984, and later held a second ceremony with family and friends in Berkshire, England. They had no children. With George, MacCorkindale lived on and managed an Arabian stud farm based on Exmoor.

 death
MacCorkindale was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2006, and underwent an operation to remove a section of his bowel during a two-week break from filming Casualty. Although the cancer was excised and MacCorkindale went into remission following the surgery, one year later doctors discovered that the cancer had metastasised to his lungs. MacCorkindale continued to act during his treatment, returning to film his final series of Casualty in late 2007; he did not disclose his illness to his colleagues, and found it surreal when scripts required his character to inform patients that they had cancer or another incurable disease. MacCorkindale spent much of his fortune on private cancer treatment in the United States, but to no avail. In November 2009, he publicly revealed that the disease was terminal, and died on 14 October 2010 at a clinic in London.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Simon MacCorkindale", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.