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John Mills

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This article is about the British actor. For the 18th-century British encyclopedist, see John Mills (encyclopedist). For the philosopher with a similar name, see John Stuart Mill.
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John Mills as Professor Bernard Quatermass in the Thames Television science-fiction serial Quatermass (1979).
Sir John Mills (22 February, 190823 April, 2005) was a British actor. Born Lewis Ernest Watts Mills at the Watts Naval School in North Elmham, Norfolk and he grew up in Felixstowe, Suffolk. He was educated at the Norwich School for Boys.

Mills took an early interest in acting, making his professional debut at the London Hippodrome in 1927. He made his film debut in The Midshipmaid (1932), and came to prominence as Colley in the 1939 film version of Goodbye, Mr Chips, opposite Robert Donat. He took the lead in Great Expectations in 1946, and subsequently made his career playing traditionally British heroes such as Captain Robert Falcon Scott in Scott of the Antarctic (1948). He often acted in the roles of people who are not at all exceptional, but become heroes due to their common sense, generosity and right judgement.

He was married twice:

For his role as the village idiot in Ryan's Daughter (1970) - a complete departure from his usual style - Mills won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Altogether he appeared in over a hundred films. He was appointed a CBE in 1960, and in 1976 he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. His most famous television role was probably as the title character in Quatermass for ITV in 1979, but in 1974 he starred as Capt. Tommy 'The Elephant' Devon in a TV series The Zoo Gang, about a group of ageing adventurers, all of whom had been spies during the war.

He also starred as Gus the Theatre Cat in the filmed version of the musical Cats in 1998. In 2002 he received a Fellowship of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), the highest award given by the Academy, and was named a Disney Legend by The Walt Disney Company.

In the years before his death, he appeared on television only on special occasions, his sight having failed almost completely in 1992. He died aged 97 on 23 April 2005 at his home in Denham, Buckinghamshire following a chest infection.

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