Wednesday 9 May 2012

Maurice Roëves

British actor Maurice Roeves

Maurice Roëves 

† Mar 19 1937 – July 15 2020

With his dark chiselled features, Maurice Roëves has something of the malevolent Sean Connery about him, perhaps tempered with a touch of veteran footballer Ian St John. And like those two, he is proud to consider himself a Scotsman, albeit one who was accidentally born in Sunderland. 

One of his early accomplishments was taking on the role of Stephen Dedalus in Joseph Strick's film version of 'Ulysses'. Surrounded by prodigious Irish acting talent and thrown into the midst of Joyce's complex writing, he pulls off quite a coup. The film was considered an artistic success, with no attempt made to disguise the actors' wardrobe and Dublin locations of 1966, but showing a determination to stick to the word and spirit of the 1904-set novel. Milo O'Shea's star turn as Leopold Bloom, and the unflinching commitment to the original's earthy language (including the first screen use of the word 'fuck') and extended sexual themes were what made the headlines in the end.             

In the film version of James Joyce's 'Ulysses' (1967) with
veteran Irish actor David Kelly

Other feature film appearances include a lot of war movies: 'Oh! What A Lovely War' (1969), 'When Eight Bells Toll' (1971), 'Young Winston' (1972), 'The Eagle Has Landed' (1976), 'Escape To Victory' (1981), 'Who Dares Wins' (1982), an exception to the war theme was  Roman Polanski's ill-fated 'A Day At The Beach' (1970).  

In the silly world cup/war movie 'Escape To Victory' (1981)  

While all this film work was coming in during the '70s and '80s, Roëves also found himself in demand for television, appearing in 'Jason King', 'The Sweeney', 'Doomwatch', 'Family At War', 'Warship', 'Target', 'Danger UXB', 'The Chinese Detective' and the final Peter Davison 'Doctor Who' story 'The Caves Of Androzani'. He was also a regular storyteller on 'Jackanory' during its heyday between 1971 and 1979.

As a revolutionary in an episode of 'Jason King'
with the unmistakable Peter Wyngarde

In '70s crime-boss mode in an episode of 'The Sweeney'
It seems that around this time his acting talents and televisual good looks were attracting the attention of producers across the Atlantic and parts started to be offered in US shows, such as 'Magnum PI', 'Hunter', 'Remington Steele', long-running US soap opera 'Days Of Our Lives', Civil War drama 'North & South', and later in the '80s adding 'Cheers', 'Jake & The Fatman' and 'Murder She Wrote' to the mix.
Bringing down the St Patrick's Day vibe at the bar in 'Cheers'
with his grim repertoire of rebel songs and massacre ballads 

Meanwhile, back in the UK things were also going along nicely, with roles in steady fare like 'Lytton's Diary', 'Bergerac', 'Rumpole Of The Bailey', and starring in the STV drama 'Bookie'. Possibly the highlight of this period was the densely written, but engaging John Byrne comedy drama 'Tutti Frutti' with Robbie Coltrane, Emma Thompson, and Richard Wilson. 

Channelling some Gene Vincent into the TV drama 
'Tutti Frutti', perhaps via Alvin Stardust

Roëves plays the ageing rocker Vincent Diver with a mix of brooding aggression and sadness
 that contributes greatly to a memorable slice of '80s TV, particularly as lead man Coltrane gives the impression of punching a little above his weight, theatrically speaking.     

As prison warden Miller in 'Judge Dredd' (1995)

 Since the '90s, Maurice Roëves has straddled the film and TV worlds, working in Hollywood and the UK. Television work includes 'Baywatch' and 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' (making him a member of the exclusive club of actors to have been in 'Star Trek' and 'Doctor Who'), alongside some stuff a lot closer to home. UK shows include 'Rab C Nesbitt', 'The New Statesman', 'A Touch Of Frost', 'Waking The Dead', and the BBC's prestigious 'Vanity Fair', as well as some bread-and-butter work on 'EastEnders', 'The Bill', 'Casualty' and 'Skins'. 

Colonel Munro parleys for terms of surrender in 'Last Of The Mohicans' (1992)

Movie work stretches from his impressive portrayal of redcoat Colonel Munro in 'The Last Of The Mohicans' (1992), to 'The Big Man' (1992), 'Judge Dredd' (1995), 'The Acid House' (1998), 'Beautiful Creatures' (2000), 'Hallam Foe' (2007), Welsh horror 'The Dark' (2005), 'The Damned United' (2009), 'Brighton Rock' (2010) and 'Macbeth' (2015).

All in all, quite an impressive career for a distinctive and familiar face yet one to which too few of us could put a name. I hope this small salute can redress that a little.         

Maurice Roeves-imdb

Post script, regarding pronunciation. I found this in an interview online. 

MR: No, it's Row-eaves. There's two dots above the "e", indicates the beginning of the second word. The two dots are called a dialysis* ... The name goes back to Prussian times. It's a Prussian name, I guess. It's like No

* He means diaeresis.

No comments:

Post a Comment