Michael Rennie was an English theatre, film, and television actor best known for his starring role as Klaatu from 1951’s classic science fiction movie The Day the Earth Stood Still. Additionally he appeared in several other movies with his close friend Tyrone Power.
He was born August 25th 1909 and died June 7th 1971. Most of his wealth came from being an accomplished movie actor.
Early Life and Education
Michael Rennie was an English actor best known for his portrayal of Klaatu in the 1951 science fiction movie, The Day the Earth Stood Still. Additionally, he made appearances both on stage and television.
He started his career in car salesman and factory management before making the leap into acting. He studied at Leys School and gained experience through performing repertory theatre productions.
Rennie married twice; first to Joan England (1938-1945) and later Maggie McGrath (m. 1947-1960). With each wife, Rennie had one child; his mistress Renee Gilbert gave him another, Renee Gilbert becoming his mistress after Rennie had died; however, their two families remained close even until his passing away. Rennie was known to be an advocate of peace and an avid patron of the arts.
As a young man, Michael knew he wanted to make an impactful statement by travelling and studying Law and Economics at University of Western Australia and Oxford. To this end, his path led him towards Law as well as Economics degrees at these respective institutions.
McKinsey & Company offered him employment, where he served as a management consultant for six months before realizing he enjoyed working with people more.
Gainsborough then cast him as Klaatu, a friendly alien visitor in their classic science fiction film The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). They then paired him up with their most prominent female star Phyllis Calvert for the 1947 melodrama The Root of All Evil; additionally he played an American spy in Phone Call from a Stranger as well as providing narration for various films.
Achievement and Honors
Rennie had become a leading actor by the time of his performance in George Bernard Shaw’s 1945 production of Caesar and Cleopatra, where his role garnered widespread acclaim and female fans mobbed him during a publicity tour. Gainsborough Productions then cast him with one of their star female performers Phyllis Calvert for The Root of All Evil (1947).
Rennie first came to global fame after portraying Klaatu in the 1951 science fiction classic The Day the Earth Stood Still, earning him critical acclaim and leading to more than 50 other film roles.
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Michael Rennie was an English film, television, and stage actor best known for his iconic portrayal of Klaatu in The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). Additionally he made over 50 other films during his career and appeared in multiple American television series.
He began his acting apprenticeship by touring British repertory theatre. Later he auditioned as the leading male in several films before landing one of his most enduring roles: Dirk Winsten in Mary Mary – the satirical Broadway comedy from 1959.
Rennie was a life-long smoker and suffered from respiratory illnesses for much of his life, succumbing to emphysema at age 61. Rennie married twice: Maggie McGrath and Joan England (he had one son from each).
Rennie made his film debut as Klaatu in The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and went on to appear in numerous other projects throughout his career.
Rennie was also renowned as a television actor. He made his mark as Harry Lime in an American-made series loosely based on The Third Man (1959-65) (1959-61).
Rennie led a relatively private life. From 1946 to 1960 he was married to Maggie McGrath and they shared one child. Rennie was also widely respected for his charitable efforts, contributing funds towards organizations including AIDS research. Rennie passed away peacefully at home in Harrogate on June 10, 1971 at age 61 after having his body cremated before being interred at Harlow Hill Cemetery nearby in Harrogate.