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Sir John Mills CBE was an English actor who appeared in more than 120 films in a notorious career spanning seven decades. He portrayed Gus, The Theare Cat, in the video production of Cats.

Career

John made professional début at the London Hippodrome in The Five O'Clock Girl in 1929. He also starred in the Noël Coward revue Words and Music. He made his film début in The Midshipmaid (1932), and appeared as Colley in the 1939 film version of Goodbye, Mr Chips, opposite Robert Donat. In 1942, he starred in Noël Coward's In Which We Serve. He ssubsequently made his career playing traditionally British heroes such as Captain Scott in Scott of the Antarctic (1948). Over the next decade he became particularly associated with war dramas, such as The Colditz Story (1954), Above Us the Waves (1955) and Ice Cold in Alex (1958).

From 1959 through the mid-1960s, Mills starred in several films alongside his daughter Hayley. As Colonel Barrow in Tunes of Glory, Mills won the best Actor Award at the 1960 Venice Film Festival. For his role as the village idiot in Ryan's Daughter (1970) — a complete departure from his usual style – Mills won an Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Mills also starred as Gus: The Theatre Cat in the filmed version of the musical Cats in 1998.

In 2000, Mills released his extensive home cine-film footage in a documentary film entitled Sir John Mills' Moving Memories, with interviews with Mills, his children Hayley, Juliet and Jonathan and Richard Attenborough. The film was produced and written by Jonathan Mills, directed and edited by Marcus Dillistone, and features behind the scenes footage and stories from films such as Ice Cold in Alex and Dunkirk.

Mills's last cinema appearance was playing a tramp in Lights 2 (directed by Marcus Dillistone); the cinematographer was Jack Cardiff. They had last worked together on Scott of the Antarctic in 1948. Their combined age was 186 years, a cinema record.

Casting Cats Sir John Mills as Gus

Casting Cats Sir John Mills as Gus

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Personal life

John married and later divorced actress Aileen Raymond, subsequently marrying dramtaist Mary Hayley Bell in 1941. They had two children.

Despite having always voted Conservative, Mills publicly supported Tony Blair's Labour Party in the 2001 General Election.

Death

John died aged 97 on 23 April 2005 in Denham, Buckinghamshire, following a chest infection. Lady Mills died on 1 December 2005. Sir John and Lady Mills are buried in Denham Churchyad.

Credits

  • The Midshipmaid (1932)
  • Britannia of Billingsgate (1933)
  • The Ghost Camera (1933)
  • The River Wolves (1934)
  • Blind Justice (1934)
  • The Lash (1934)
  • A Political Party (1934)
  • Doctor's Orders (1934)
  • Those Were The Days (1934)
  • Car of Dreams (1935)
  • Royal Cavalcade (1935)
  • Brown on Resolution (later reissued in the UK as Forever England) (1935)
  • Charing Cross Road (1935)
  • The First Offence (1936)
  • Tudor Rose (1936)
  • O.H.M.S. (1937)
  • The Green Cockatoo (1937)
  • Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)
  • All Hands (1940, short film)
  • Cottage to Let (1941)
  • Old Bill and Son (1941)
  • The Big Blockade (1942)
  • The Black Sheep of Whitehall (1942)
  • The Young Mr. Pitt (1942)
  • In Which We Serve (1942)
  • We Dive at Dawn (1943)
  • This Happy Breed (1944)
  • Victory Wedding (1944, short film)
  • Information Please (1944, short film)
  • Waterloo Road (1945)
  • The Way to the Stars (1945)
  • Great Expectations (1946)
  • So Well Remembered (1947)
  • The October Man (1947)
  • Scott of the Antarctic (1948)
  • The History of Mr Polly (1949)
  • The Rocking Horse Winner (1949, also produced)
  • Morning Departure (1950)
  • Mr. Denning Drives North (1952)
  • The Gentle Gunman (1952)
  • The Long Memory (1952)
  • Hobson's Choice (1954)
  • Escapade (1955)
  • The Colditz Story (1955)
  • The End of the Affair (1955)
  • Above Us the Waves (1955)
  • The Baby and the Battleship (1956)
  • War and Peace (1956)
  • Around the World in Eighty Days (1956)
  • It's Great to Be Young (1956)
  • Town on Trial (1957)
  • The Vicious Circle (1957)
  • Ice Cold in Alex (1958)
  • Dunkirk (1958)
  • I Was Monty's Double (1958)
  • Summer of the Seventeenth Doll (1959)
  • Tiger Bay (1959) — (with daughter Hayley Mills)
  • Swiss Family Robinson (1960)
  • Tunes of Glory (1960)
  • The Singer Not the Song (1961)
  • Flame in the Streets (1961)
  • Tiara Tahiti (1962)
  • The Valiant (1962)
  • The Chalk Garden (1964) – (with daughter Hayley Mills)
  • The Truth About Spring (1964) – (with daughter Hayley Mills)
  • King Rat (1965)
  • Operation Crossbow (1965)
  • The Family Way (1966) – (with daughter Hayley Mills)
  • The Wrong Box (1966)
  • Africa Texas Style (1967)
  • Chuka (1967)
  • La morte non-ha sesso (1968)
  • Emma Hamilton (1968)
  • Oh! What a Lovely War (1969)
  • Run Wild, Run Free (1969)
  • Adam's Woman (1970)
  • Ryan's Daughter (1970)
  • Dulcima (1971)
  • Lady Caroline Lamb (1972)
  • Young Winston (1972)
  • Oklahoma Crude (1973)
  • The Human Factor (1975)
  • Trial by Combat (1976)
  • The Devil's Advocate (1977)
  • The Big Sleep (1978)
  • The Thirty Nine Steps (1978)
  • Dr. Strange (1978, TV film)
  • Zulu Dawn (1979)
  • The Quatermass Conclusion (1979)
  • Gandhi (1982)
  • The Adventures of Little Lord Fauntleroy (1982, TV film)
  • Sahara (1983)
  • The Masks of Death (1985, TV film)
  • Murder with Mirrors (1985, TV film)
  • Edge of the Wind (1985, TV film)
  • Hold the Dream (1986, TV film)
  • When the Wind Blows (1986)
  • Who's That Girl (1987)
  • Ending Up (1989, TV film)
  • The Lady and the Highwayman (1989, TV film)
  • Night of the Fox (1990, TV film)
  • Harnessing Peacocks (1992, TV film)
  • Frankenstein (1992, TV film)
  • The Big Freeze (1993)
  • Deadly Advice (1994)
  • The Grotesque (1995)
  • Hamlet (1996)
  • Bean (1997)
  • Cats (1998)
  • The Gentleman Thief (2001, TV film)
  • Bright Young Things (2003)
  • Lights 2 (2005, Short film)

Television:

  • Dundee and the Culhane (1967)
  • The Zoo Gang (1974)
  • Quatermass (1979)
  • Young at Heart (1980–1982)
  • Martin Chuzzlewit (1994)

Stage:

  • The Good Companions (1974)
  • Great Expectations (1976)
  • Goodbye, Mr. Chips
  • Of Mice and Men

Trivia

  • Mills was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1960. In 1976 he was knighted by the Queen.
  • In 2002, he received a Fellowship of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), their highest award, and was named a Disney Legend by the Walt Disney Company.