Oscar nominee Elliott dies of AIDS problems

Denholm Elliott, 70, distinguished British screen and stage actor, died Oct. 6 at his home in Ibiza, Spain, of complications arising from AIDS.

Best known for his 1980s roles in such films as Steven Spielberg’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and James Ivory’s “A Room With a View,” Elliott had been a mainstay of British cinema since the late ’40s. He had solid early roles in David Lean’s “The Sound Barrier,” Charles Frend’s “The Cruel Sea,” and George More O’Ferrall’s Graham Greene adaptation “The Heart of the Matter,” and even had a romantic lead toplining in Wolf Rilla’s 1956 drama “Pacific Destiny.”

Ismail Merchant, who produced two films with Elliott, “A Room With a View” and “Maurice,” said: “He was an all-giving person, full of life. … He had an affection and feeling for other actors, which is very unusual in our business.”

Elliott was nominated for an Oscar for his supporting role in “A Room With a View.”

Popular on Variety

Born in London, Elliott graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and spent much of World War II in a prisoner-of-war camp, later bringing great authority to military roles. He made his stage debut in 1945 and screen debut in 1949.

His early stage credits include a stint opposite Laurence Olivier in “Venus Observ’d,” and most recently on the London stage in David Mamet’s two-hander “A Life in the Theater.”

He had many memorable film assignments in both Britain and Hollywood in the ‘ 60s, as Alan Bates’ tutor in getting ahead in Clive Donner’s black comedy “Nothing But the Best,” in Bryan Forbes’ made-in-Hollywood “King Rat,” Lewis Gilbert’s “Alfie,” William Friedkin’s “The Night They Raided Minsky’s,” Donner’s “Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush” and Robert Aldrich’s “Too Late the Hero.”

During the ’70s he appeared opposite Bette Davis in the TV movie “Madame Sin, ” with Claire Bloom in Patrick Garland’s version of Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House,” opposite Sean Connery in Richard Lester’s “Robin and Marian” and “Cuba,” in Franklin J. Schaffner’s “The Boys from Brazil” and in Nicolas Roeg’s “Bad Timing.”

The last decade he co-starred with Sting in Richard Loncraine’s “Brimstone and Treacle” as well as Loncraine’s comedy “The Missionary,” John Landis’ hit “Trading Places,” Bill Murray’s remake of “The Razor’s Edge,” telefilm “The Happy Valley” and opposite Nicole Kidman in the TV miniseries “Bangkok Hilton.”

Among his best roles were Dennis Potter’s TV movie “Blade on the Feather,” directed by Loncraine, and as a dissolute British accountant stationed in the Far East in Peter Bogdanovich’s 1978 “St. Jack.” His final feature film was Bogdanovich’s adaptation of “Noises Off.”

Other recent credits include Woody Allen’s “September,” the TV adaptation of Dickens’ “Bleak House,” a telefilm of Robert Ludlum’s “The Bourne Identity” and Spielberg’s “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.”

He won several awards, including back-to-back British Film and Television Academy awards (equivalent to Hollywood’s Oscar) for supporting parts in “A Private Function” and “Defence of the Realm.”

His first marriage to actress Virginia McKenna ended in divorce. Survived by his second wife, Susan Robinson, a son and a daughter.

More Scene

  • Logan Lerman Jordan Peele Al Pacino

    Al Pacino and Carol Kane Had a ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ Reunion on the ‘Hunters’ Set

    Nearly 45 years after Al Pacino and Carol Kane appeared in Sidney Lumet’s classic film “Dog Day Afternoon,” an Amazon Prime Video series about Nazi-hunters in 1977 New York City has brought them back together. Go figure. “I’m proud to be working with him again,” Kane told Variety at the “Hunters” premiere on Wednesday night [...]

  • Anya Taylor Joy Emma Premiere

    Anya Taylor-Joy on Playing Jane Austen's Clever, Callous Protagonist in 'Emma'

    It was an evening of elegance at the Los Angeles premiere of Focus Features’ “Emma” on Tuesday night. The red carpet was lined with pastel floral arrangements at the DGA Theater, priming visitors to be transported to the ornate pageantry of Georgian-era England, as depicted in this new adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic tale. Anya [...]

  • Tom Holland Chris Pratt Onward Premiere

    Tom Holland and Chris Pratt Show Off Real-Life Bond at Pixar's 'Onward' Premiere

    Pixar’s new movie “Onward” marks a reunion of sorts for Tom Holland and Chris Pratt. The two actors, who both have ties to Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe and most recently teamed in “Avengers: Endgame” as Spider-Man and Star-Lord, play brothers in the animated fantasy adventure. Their friendship has become a highlight of “Onward’s” promotional tour [...]

  • Da’Vine Joy Randolph

    Da’Vine Joy Randolph Praises Hulu's 'High Fidelity' for Telling a Realistic New York Story

    If HBO’s “Girls” characterized a certain type of young, disaffected millennial, fumbling cluelessly around a gentrifying Brooklyn, and if “Sex and the City” used Manhattan as a tantalizing playground for a class of well-connected, glamorous and decidedly 90s-bound women, both shows had one thing in common: they were painfully, inevitably white. “We’re gonna fix that!,” [...]

  • Harrison Ford Call of the Wild

    Why Harrison Ford Wanted to Play John Thornton in ‘The Call of the Wild’

    Joining legends like Charlton Heston and Clarke Gable, who have played the role of John Thornton in “The Call of the Wild,” Harrison Ford now stands next to a CGI-enhanced version of the dog named Buck in the latest adaptation of Jack London’s classic 1903 novel. “I thought the film has a lot to say [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content