Date of Birth : Dec 15th 1909
Born in Canterbury, England, he served in the Royal Navy for over twenty years, attaining the rank of Commander. During his time in the Navy, he became a champion boxer and rugby player, and when he was discharged he was one of the youngest men ever to obtain the rank of Command in the Royal Navy. Gwillim began his acting career in earnest in the ’50s, working on both stage and screen. Onstage, he appeared both at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford and at the Old Vic. He performed in an extensive amount of theatre, both classics and modern plays, in the the West End of London and on Broadway. Some of his most notable roles include: playing in Sir Ralph Richardson’s production of The Merchant of Venice; The Right Honourable Gentleman with lifelong friend Anthony Quayle; a revival of My Fair Lady with Rex Harrison, playing Colonel Pickering; John Gielgud’s The Constant Wife, with Ingrid Bergman; and The Iceman Cometh, with James Earl Jones.
Gwillim also featured in over sixty films and television series, usually war films or historical epics. His military background, commanding presence and deep, booming voice typecast him as soldiers and authority figures. Some of his most notable roles include playing a warship captain in Sink the Bismarck! (1960), the obnoxious club secretary in Lawrence of Arabia (1962), King Aeetes in Jason and the Argonauts (1963), an RAF officer in the James Bond film Thunderball (1965), the Lord High Judge in A Man for All Seasons (1966), and General Harold Alexander in Patton (1970). He also had a recurring role on the TV series Danger Man, The Saint, and The Troubleshooters.