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April 14, 1924 to June 14, 2003
Philip Stones (he was to drop the final "s" for
professional purposes) was born at Kirkstall, Leeds, on April 14, 1924, the
youngest of four sons of a secondary school headmaster. Philip's father was one
of 14 children, almost all of whom were teachers and who formed an amateur
called The Musical Stones, with which Philip performed as a young boy. He went
to school in Leeds, but left when he was 14, taking a job with a local
engineering company, Jonas Woodhead & Sons. In 1943 he began to study part
time at the Leeds College of Music and Drama, and served in the RAF in the
latter part of the war.
In 1947 he went to London, making his West End debut in The Sleeping Clergyman at the Criterion. His career might have ended there, however, for in the same year he contracted TB, and spent several years being treated in various sanitariums; finally, he had half a lung removed.
Stone abandoned acting, and returned to work at Jonas Woodhead. Then, in 1953, he was asked to direct an amateur cast in a play at the Leeds Arts Centre. Among the actors was a nurse, Margaret Pickard, and within three weeks she and Stone were engaged.
Margaret encouraged her husband to return to acting, and by 1960 they had moved to London. His big break came in 1966, with the screening of ITV's The Rat Catchers, a series which aimed to debunk the image (promoted in shows such as The Man From UNCLE and The Avengers) of espionage as a glamorous profession; the idea was to make The Rat Catchers so convincing that "real spies will be able to watch it without feeling irritated".
Stone's role was that of a cold-blooded brigadier, the leader of a shadowy group of three spies described as "members of a reprisal unit engaged in the defense of Britain and the Western Alliance".
During a prolific career on the stage, Stone appeared in Roy Minton's Death in Leicester (King's Head, Islington, 1971), and was praised for his performance in J B Priestley's An Inspector Calls (Mermaid, 1973), in which he played the lead role.
In 1975 he appeared in John Antrobus's Mrs. Grabowski's Academy (Theatre Upstairs) as "a fugitive, opera-singing commandant disguised in turn as a bird, a salmon and a banana"; and, in the same year, he was the detective in Joe Orton's Loot, directed by Albert Finney at the Royal Court.
He played Thersites in Troilus and Cressida (Young Vic, 1976).
In 1977 Stone directed, and appeared in, Pirandello's The Man With a Flower in His Mouth at the Lyttleton. Two years later he gave a "beautifully eloquent and restrained performance" as the Father in Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author at the Greenwich.
He was a particularly malevolent villain in Francis Durbridge's House Guest (Savoy, 1981); while in 1989 his portrayal of Sir Charles Russell in The Royal Baccarat Scandal at Chichester caught the sharp eye of Lord Hailsham, who pointed out that Stone had been kitted out in the stuffed gown
of junior counsel instead of a QC's silk.
Stone also continued to appear on television. In 1973 he played what one critic described as a "beautifully feline" barrister in ITV's Justice, starring Margaret Lockwood. In the 1996 television film Moses, he was the father of Ben Kingsley, who played the prophet.
Always a lover of music, Stone wrote and performed two shows (monologues accompanied by music and song) under his own company Philip Stone Productions: Warlock: the Enigma, and Beginnings and Endings in 1991 at his church in Ealing where is premiered. He then put it on in smaller venues on his own. If you want to know more about him the script of B&E's tells you a lot. He was totally absorbed with his acting and traded off the idea of never "acting" just saying the words - which he did with great affect.
He was most proud of his work for Stanley Kubrick, who first saw Stone when he was playing a leading role in The Contractor, directed by Lindsay Anderson at the Royal Court in 1969. Impressed by Stone's performance, Kubrick invited him to play the father to Malcolm McDowell's Alex in A Clockwork Orange (1971). He was the only actor to appear in three of Kubrick's movies in a row, continuing with: Barry Lyndon (1975), which featured five ACO actors, and The Shining (1980), in which he was Delbert Grady, the original caretaker who appeared to Jack in the red bathroom. He worked again with Malcolm McDowell and Lindsay Anderson playing multiple roles in O Lucky Man! (1973) which also featured Warren Clarke. Once again he worked with Malcolm in Voyage of the Damned (1976). In S.O.S. Titanic (1979) he worked with three ACO actors including Warren Clarke, Aubrey Morris and Madge Ryan. He reunited for one last time with Warren Clarke 26 years after ACO in Dalziel and Pascoe (1997).
He died at the age of 79 on Sunday June 14, 2003 and will be remembered as one of the great character actors. His wife Margaret died in 1984, and he is survived by their son Andrew and daughter Kate. His funeral was at St Barnabas church, Pitshanger Lane, Ealing, London W5 at 1:00 pm 6/24. This is his parish church where he sang in the choir. They sang Faure's Requiem - one of the works Mr. Stone has sung himself. Rest in peace.
Wondering what Alex does at night
No room for Alex
The Old Crowd
Harold enters and looks around
"Suddenly Stanley asked me to meet him on location. The filming of A
Clockwork Orange had already begun,' Philip Stone recalled. 'We met. He said,
"That's quite a performance you give in the play; would you like to be in
this movie?" I said, "Well, I think we could do some good work
together." He said, "Yeah, yeah, we could. Okay, you play Dad." I
didn't know I was going to take part in film history.
"Dad seemed to be a downbeat character. I have a sadness side to my personality and it wasn't particularly difficult, so long as you were true Stanley doesn't take "crap." He's endlessly, painstakingly careful of everything before you go for a take - lights and particularly the sound. Small microphones were stuck all over the set. Stanley likes the authentic immediate sound. With that preparation it gives you confidence - just to let go and be true.
"At the time I was filming A Clockwork Orange for about two or three weeks, I was also working every night on stage in The Contractor. Long days. I was up at five-thirty and back to bed at midnight. I was very mentally turned on, working all day and part of the night. I had to finish at six o'clock in the evening. A car took me from location back to London. I ate a ham sandwich in the car for sustenance and then on to the stage, tent erecting. It was bloody hard, I couldn't do it now."
On Barry Lyndon
"Graham in the wonderful Barry Lyndon was like a
bloody extra, but then at the end in the inn after Barry had his leg shot off, I
suddenly had to come up with a highly concentrated scene. Ryan O'Neal was quite surprised by my performance -- my having stood
around for weeks in the background. Stanley just gave me a wink and said,
"Don't worry, Ryan, he knows how to do it.
"Stanley is strange, dark, quiet, seems secretive and obsessive - but who wouldn't be making films as he does. He seems to know with the inner eye exactly where he is going. You have great trust and belief in him. Stanley is always looking for the X-factor and he goes on until he feels he's found it. He'd say, "Okay, that's great! Let's go again." Every shot is a creation. You need a lot of patience working for him. You can be in a caravan all made up, ready to go, and you can wait for a week. Then suddenly he comes onto you for a concentrated scene. You need nerve working for Stanley and he can suddenly alter the dialogue on the set or give you a lot more dialogue to learn in a quick time and you've got to keep calm - no use losing your "bottle." I never did, and he just kept coming back to me for another film."
On The Shining
"That long scene with Grady and Jack took a long time. Long takes each time. We seemed to be in that set forever. I was proud of that work. Jack Nicholson kept saying, 'You should go to the States, Phil, you'd earn a bomb.' The inner concentration and stillness came from working in Pirandello plays, long speeches lightly played, the drama of the mind, but you've got to get your balls behind the lines."
|The Musical Stones||kid||1930s||Family acting group|
|The Sleeping Clergyman||1947||Play - The Criterion|
|?||(Director)||1953||Play - Leeds Arts Centre|
|The Avengers||Dr. Richard Tredding||1/7-14/61||2 Episodes|
|The Ship That Couldn't Stop||Sir Ronald Caterham||1961||TV|
|Jacks and Knaves||Sergeant Harry Frost||11/61||TV Series|
|Unearthly Stranger||Prof. John Lancaster||1963|
|Never Mention Murder||Inspector||1964|
|The Rat Catchers||Brigadier Davidson||1966||TV Series|
|The Isle Is Full of Noise||1967||TV|
|Where Eagles Dare||Sky Tram Operator||1968|
|The Contractor||4/6/70||Fortune Theatre London w/Lindsay|
|John Browne's Body||French||1969||TV Series|
|Two Gentlemen Sharing||Mr. Burrows||1969|
|Fraud Squad||Stefan Pastek||1969||Episode: "Cold as Charity"|
|Fragment of Fear||C.I.D. Sergeant||1970|
|The Man Who Had Power Over Women||Angela's Father||1970|
|Carry On Loving||Robinson||1970|
|Death in Leicester||1971||Play - King's Head, Islington|
|Jason King||Supt. Landon||10/13/71||Ep: "A Deadly Line in Digits"|
|A Clockwork Orange||Pee||1971|
|Quest for Love||Mason||1971|
|Carry On at Your Convenience||Mr. Bulstrode||1971|
|The Organisation||1971||TV Series|
|To Encourage the Others||1972||TV|
|Justice||Sir John Gallagher||1972||TV Series|
|O Lucky Man!||Jenkins/Interrogator/ Salvation Army Major||1973||3 ACO Actors!|
|An Inspector Calls||Inspector||1973||Play - Mermaid|
|Hitler: The Last Ten Days||General Jodl||1973|
|Loot||1975||Play - Royal Court|
|Mrs. Grabowski's Academy||1975||Play - Theatre Upstairs|
|Death in Deep Water||Burton||1975||TV|
|Barry Lyndon||Graham||1975||5 ACO Actors!|
|It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet||Jack||1975|
|Troilus and Cressida||Thersites||1976||Play - Young Vic|
|Star Maidens||Sforza||1976||Episode: "Kidnap"|
|Voyage of the Damned||Secretary||1976||3 ACO Actors!|
|The Man With a Flower in His Mouth||1977||Play - Lyttleton|
|Philby, Burgess and Maclean||Farquesson||1977||TV|
|Target||David Fleming||1977||Episode: "Roadrunner"|
|The Medusa Touch||Dean||1978|
|The Old Crowd||Harold||1979||TV Play w/Lindsay Anderson|
|Six Characters in Search of an Author||1979||Play - Greenwich|
|S.O.S. Titanic||Capt Arthur Rostron||1979||TV - 4 ACO Actors!|
|The Shining||Delbert Grady||1980||w/Kubrick|
|Flash Gordon||Zogi, the High Priest||1980|
|House Guest||1981||Play - Savoy|
|Green Ice||Jochim Kellerman||1981|
|Bergerac||Verrian||2/13/83||Episode: "Fall Of A Birdman"|
|The Phantom of the Opera||Kraus||1983||TV|
|Pope John Paul II||Archbishop Baziak||1984||TV|
|Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom||Captain Blumburtt||1984|
|Yes, Minister||Duncan||12/17/84||Episode: "Party Games"|
|Charters & Caldicott||Venables||1985||TV Mini Series|
|Monsignor Quixote||Father Leopoldo||1985||TV|
|Brat Farrar||Uncle Charles||1986||TV|
|Home to Roost||Mr. Trent||12/5/87||Episode: "Paper Chase"|
|The Royal Baccarat Scandal||Sir Charles Russell||1989||Play - Chichester|
|The Baby of Mācon||The Bishop||1993|
|Beginnings and Endings||(Producer)||1991||Play - Pitshanger Manor, Ealing|
|Warlock: The Enigma||(Producer)||1992||Play -|
|Heartbeat||Father Sergei||10/30/94||Episode: "Red Herring"|
|Ruth Rendell: The Strawberry Tree||Roger Summers||1996||TV Mini Series|
|Dalziel and Pascoe: Deadheads||Herbert Capstick||1997||TV - 2 ACO Actors!|
|A Touch of Frost||Finch||2/9/97||Ep: "Penny For The Guy"|
|A Certain Justice||Edmund Froggett||1998||TV|
|Doomwatch: Winter Angel||Spencer Quist||1999||TV|
|Stanley and Us||Himself||2000|
Quotes © Vince LoBrutto's book 'Kubrick'.
Much thanks to The Daily Telegraph for biographical information.
This page 2003-09 Alex D Thrawn for www.MalcolmMcDowell.net