Edward Fox (1937-) b. Chelsea, London, England.
Edward Charles Morrice Fox was born on 13 April 1937 in Chelsea, London, the son of theatrical agent Robin Fox and Angela Muriel Darita Worthington, an actress and writer. He has two brothers, fellow actor James (who’s actor son Laurence appears in the TV crime drama Lewis) and film producer Robert. His grandfather was the dramatist Frederick Lonsdale and his great grandfather was the industrialist Samson Fox. Educated at Harrow, he went into the Army and served in the Coldstream Guards attaining the rank of Lieutenant, although, in his own words, “he wasn’t viewed as the right stuff”.
He eventually graduated from RADA and made his theatre debut in 1958 after which he joined and performed regularly with the Dundee Repertory Company, alongside Michael Culver, Glenda Jackson and Nicol Williamson. He made his first film appearance in 1962, a small role as an extra in The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, followed by another minor role in the Richard Harris film, This Sporting Life although during the 60s he enjoyed more success with his stage appearances, including one highly acclaimed performance as Hamlet.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s he set about establishing himself as a serious film actor and enjoyed some success with roles in major films such as Oh! What a Lovely War (1969), Battle of Britain (1969) and The Go-Between (1970) and then in 1973 he was cast as the assassin in The Day of the Jackal, the role that finally made his name. Suddenly, he was much in demand and a string of leading roles followed, including as General Brian Horrocks in the acclaimed A Bridge Too Far (1977) ( a role he has always maintained was a personal favourite) and with Robert Shaw and Harrison Ford in Force 10 From Navarone (1978).
Also that year he portrayed – with an uncanny resemblance – King Edward VIII in the TV drama, Edward and Mrs Simpson. Interestingly, his reputation for being a dapper and well-spoken, Edwardian-style English gentleman is reinforced by the fact that he still owns and wears some of the suits he wore during the making of the film, even though, as he himself says, they make him look ‘fusty’! In the1982 film Gandhi, he played the controversial Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer, the man ultimately responsible for the massacre at Amritsar in India. Never Say Never Again, the unofficial 1983 Bond film, saw him in the role of M and this was followed by roles with Laurence Olivier in The Bounty (1984) and as Faulkner in Wild Geese II (1985).
He continued to appear regularly in films and TV and on stage throughout the 90s and since the turn of the century, he has remained busy in films such as The Importance of Being Earnest (2002), Nicolas Nickleby (2002), The Republic of Love (2003), Stage Beauty (2004) and a TV adaptation of Oliver Twist in 2007. In 2003 he was awarded the OBE for his services to drama and more recently, he has re-affirmed his reputation with regular appearances on stage in the West End.
In particular, he has received much acclaim for his interpretation of T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets at major festivals, both at home and abroad.
In his personal life, Edward has been married twice, firstly to actresses Tracy Reed (1958-1961), by whom he has a daughter Lucy, Viscountess Gormanston and then to Joanna David, whom he married in July 2004, after a long-standing relationship and they have a son, Freddie and a daughter, actress Emilia, with whom he appeared in Republic of Love, playing her father! (Emilia is married to Richard Harris’ actor son, Jared).
He continues to be passionate about the things that matter to him and was recently on the Countryside March in London to support the pro-hunting lobby.