Sarah Miles (born 31 December 1941) is an English theatre and film actress. Her best-known films include The Servant (1963), Blowup (1966), Ryan's Daughter (1970), The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing (1973), White Mischief (1987) and Hope and Glory (1987). For her performance in Ryan's Daughter, Miles received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress.
Sarah Miles, 1980
|Born||31 December 1941 (age 78)|
Ingatestone, Essex, England
(1988–1995; his death)
Sarah Miles was born in the town of Ingatestone, Essex, in south east England; her brother is film director, producer, and screenwriter Christopher Miles. Miles's parents were Clarice Vera Remnant and John Miles, of a family of engineers; her father's inability to secure a divorce from his first wife meant Miles and her siblings were born illegitimate. Through her maternal grandfather Francis Remnant, Miles claims to be the great-granddaughter of Prince Francis of Teck (1870–1910), thus a second cousin once removed of Queen Elizabeth II.
Unable to speak until the age of nine because of a stammer and dyslexia, she attended Roedean, and three other schools, but was expelled from all of them. Miles enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) at the age of 15. Shortly after finishing at RADA, Miles debuted as Shirley Taylor, a "husky wide-eyed nymphet" in Term of Trial (1962), which featured Laurence Olivier; she was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer.
16 June 1965 saw the release of Ken Annakin's Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines. In the British period comedy film, Miles is featured among an international ensemble cast including Stuart Whitman, James Fox, Robert Morley, Terry-Thomas, Red Skelton, Benny Hill, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Gert Fröbe and Alberto Sordi. The film, revolving around the craze of early aviation circa 1910, is about a pompous newspaper magnate (Morley) who is convinced, by his daughter (Miles) and fiancée (Fox), to organize an air race from London to Paris. A large sum of money is offered to the winner, hence it attracts a variety of characters who participate. The film received positives reviews, described as funny, colourful and clever, capturing the early enthusiasm for aviation. It was treated as a major production, one of only three full-length 70 mm Todd-AO Fox releases in 1965 with an intermission and musical interlude part of the original screenings. Because of the Todd-AO process, the film was an exclusive roadshow feature initially shown in deluxe Cinerama venues, where customers needed reserved seats purchased ahead of time. The film grossed $31,111,111 theatrically and on home video $29,950,000. Audience reaction both in first release and even today, is nearly universal in assessing the film as one of the "classic" aviation films.
In 1966, Miles gained another BAFTA nomination, this time as Best Actress. She had a "peripheral" part in Michelangelo Antonioni's Blowup. At Antonioni's death in 2007, she referred to him as "a rogue and a tyrant and a brilliant man".
After acting in several plays from 1966 to 1969, Miles was cast as Rosy in the leading title role of David Lean's Ryan's Daughter (1970). It was critically savaged, which discouraged Lean from making a film for some years, despite her performance gaining her an Oscar nomination and an Oscar win for John Mills, and the film making a substantial profit. In Terence Pettigrew's biography of Trevor Howard, Miles describes the filming of Ryan's Daughter in Ireland in 1969. She recalls, "My main memory is of sitting on a hilltop in a caravan at six in the morning in the rain. There was no other actor or member of the crew around me. I would sit there getting mad, waiting for either the rain to stop or someone to arrive. Film-acting is so horrifically belittling."
On 11 February 1973, while filming The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing, aspiring screenwriter David Whiting, briefly one of her lovers, was found dead in her motel room. She was acquitted of culpability in his death. Miles later commented: "It went on for six months. Murder? Suicide? Murder! Suicide! Murder! Suicide! And, gradually, the truth came out, which I'm not going to speak about, but it certainly wasn't me. I had actually saved the man from three suicide attempts, so why would I want to murder him? I really can't imagine."
Her performance as Anne Osborne in The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea (1976) was nominated for a Golden Globe. Interviewer Lynn Barber wrote of Miles' appearances in Hope and Glory, White Mischief, and her two earliest films that she "has that Vanessa Redgrave quality of seeming to have one skin fewer than normal people, so that the emotion comes over unmuffled and bare."
Filming White Mischief on location in Kenya in 1987, Miles worked for the second and last time with Trevor Howard, who had a supporting role, but was by then seriously ill from alcoholism. The company wanted to fire him, but Miles was determined that Howard's distinguished film career would not end that way. In an interview with Terence Pettigrew for his biography of Howard, she describes how she gave an ultimatum to the executives, threatening to quit the production if they got rid of him. The gamble worked. Howard was kept on. It was his last major film; he died the following January.
Personal life and familyEdit
Miles was married twice to the British playwright Robert Bolt, 1967–1975 and 1988–1995. He wrote and directed the film Lady Caroline Lamb, in which Miles played the eponymous heroine, and wrote Ryan's Daughter, as well. After his stroke, the couple reunited and Miles cared for him. "I would be dead without her", Bolt said in 1987, "When she's away, my life takes a nosedive. When she returns, my life soars." The couple had a son, Tom, who is now a watch dealer.
In 2016, she reported that she had written a sequel to Ryan's Daughter.
|1965||Sunday Night At The London Palladium||Herself|
|1983||Walter and June||June|
|1990||A Ghost in Monte Carlo||Emilie/Mme. Bluet|
|1994||Dandelion Dead||Catherine Armstrong||TV mini-series|
|2004||Poirot: The Hollow||Lady Angkatell|
Sarah Miles has written the following books:
- A Right Royal Bastard, Sarah Miles, Macmillan, 1993, p. 26
- Sarah Miles, A Right Royal Bastard (1993), p. 20: "Clarice... the eldest child of Francis (Frank) Remnant, bastard son of Prince Francis of Teck, Queen Mary's brother. Sexy old Frank, as he was known, came over when Mary married Prince George, who became George V, and had a cuddle with the seamstress in the White Lodge at Richmond."
- Rhoda Koenig, BOOK REVIEW Confessions of a willful Pusscat: 'A Right Royal Bastard' dated Sunday 12 December 1993 at independent.co.uk. Retrieved 2 December 2011
- Barry Egan "I can't wait to get off this planet", The Independent (Ireland), 16 September 2007 archived 13 April 2010
- Lynn Barber "Interview: Out to lunch with Sarah", The Independent, 12 July 1992
- David Thomson A New Biographical Dictionary of Film, London: Little Brown, 2002, p.594
- Crowther, Bosley (17 June 1965). "Movie Review: Those Magnificent Men In their Flying Machines (1965)". The New York Times.
- "Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines – Or How I Flew from London to Paris in 25 Hours 11 Minutes". Variety. 1 January 1965. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
- "Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines – Or How I Flew from London to Paris in 25 Hours 11 Minutes: TV Guide Review". TV Guide.com. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
- "Director's Voice-over Commentary". Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines DVD, 2004.
- Munn (1983), p. 161.
- "Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines, Box Office Information". The Numbers. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
- Silverman, Stephen M (1988). The Fox that got away : the last days of the Zanuck dynasty at Twentieth Century-Fox. L. Stuart. p. 324.
- Hardwick & Schnepf (1989), p. 58.
- "Blow-Up director Antonioni dies", BBC News, 31 July 2007
- Terence Pettigrew Trevor Howard: A Personal Biography, London: Peter Owen, 2001, p.149
- Christopher Hastings "Sarah Miles: Sex, Spooks and Steven Spielberg", The Sunday Telegraph, 7 September 2008
- Ron Rosenbaum, "The Corpse as Big as the Ritz", The Secret Parts of Fortune (reprinted from Esquire)
- Calder, John (23 February 1995). "Obituary: Robert Bolt". The Independent. Retrieved 6 February 2012.
- John Stark "Sarah Miles Stars in An Incredible Story of Scandal and Love—and No, It's Not Her New Film, Hope and Glory, It's Her Life", People, 28:21, 23 November 1987
- "Case Study". Caroline Phillips. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
- Barry Egan (16 September 2007). "I can't wait to get off this planet". Retrieved 25 January 2020.
- O'Sullivan, Majella (19 March 2016). "'I was so innocent in the 60s, but Robert Mitchum corrupted me'". The Independent. Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Limited. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
- VHS Tape – 1992 R&G VIDEO L.P. Sherman Oaks, CA 91403. ISBN 1-56068-536-0
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