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Denholm Elliott
Born Denholm Mitchell Elliott
31 May 1922(1922-05-31)
Ealing, London, England, UK
Died 6 October 1992 (aged 70)
Ibiza, Spain
Occupation Actor
Years active 1949–1992
Spouse(s) Virginia McKenna (1954)
Susan Robinson (1962-1992)
(his death)

Denholm Mitchell Elliott, CBE (31 May 1922 – 6 October 1992) was an English actor of stage and screen, with over 120 major film and TV credits.[1]. Today he is probably most known for his roles in the Indiana Jones movies as Dr. Marcus Brody.


Early life

Elliott was born in London, England, the son of Nina (née Mitchell) and Myles Laymen Farr Elliott.[2] He attended Malvern College and trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

In the Second World War, he joined the Royal Air Force, training as a sergeant radio operator and gunner and serving with No. 76 Squadron RAF under the command of Leonard Cheshire.[3] On the night of 23/24 September 1942, his Handley Page Halifax bomber took part in an air raid on the U-boat pens at Flensburg, Germany. The aircraft was hit by flak and subsequently ditched in the North Sea near Sylt. Elliot and two other crew members survived and he spent the rest of the war in a prisoner of war camp in Silesia and during this time became involved in amateur dramatics.[4]


After the war, he made his film debut in Dear Mr. Prohack (1949). He went on to play a wide range of parts, often playing ineffectual and occasionally seedy characters, such as the journalist Bayliss in Defence of the Realm, the abortionist in Alfie, and the washed-up film director in The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz.

He made many television appearances, notably in plays by Dennis Potter, including Follow the Yellow Brick Road (1972), Brimstone and Treacle (1976) and Blade on the Feather (1980). He took over for an ill Michael Aldridge for one season of The Man in Room 17 (1966) and also appeared in the series Thriller (1975).

In the 1980s he won three consecutive BAFTA awards as best supporting actor for Trading Places as Dan Aykroyd's kindly butler, A Private Function and Defence of the Realm, as well as an Academy Award nomination for A Room with a View. He also became familiar to a wider audience as the well meaning but addlepated Dr. Marcus Brody in Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

He also starred with Katharine Hepburn and Harold Gould in the 1986 television movie, Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry.

In 1988, Elliott was awarded the CBE for his services to acting. His career included many stage performances, including with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Personal life

Privately bisexual,[5] Elliott was married twice, the first time to the British actress Virginia McKenna for a few months in 1954, and the second an open marriage to actress Susan Robinson, with whom he had two children.[5] His daughter Jennifer Elliott (born in 1964) died by suicide (hanging) in 2003.[5] Denholm Elliott was diagnosed with HIV in 1987,[5] and died in 1992 of AIDS-related tuberculosis at his home on Ibiza, Spain. He was cremated. His widow Susan Elliott set up a charity, the Denholm Elliott Project, in his honour and collaborated on his biography.[6] She also worked closely with the UK Coalition of People living with HIV and AIDS. Susan Elliott died on April 12, 2007 following a fire in her flat in London.[5]



  1. ^ "British Film Institute biography". Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
  2. ^ "Denholm Elliott Biography (1922-1992)". Filmreference. 
  3. ^ "Encyclopaedia Britannica". Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
  4. ^ Falconer, Jonathon (1998). The Bomber Command Handbook 1939-1945. Stroud: Sutton Publishing Limited. ISBN 0750918195. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Susan Elliott (obituary)". 2007-04-24. 
  6. ^ Susan Elliott with Barry Turner: "Denholm Elliott: Quest for Love" (1994)

External links



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