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Jack Hawkins
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Jack Hawkins

The man who played the commando chief in The Bridge on the River Kwai is associated again with Sam Spiegel, David Lean and Alec Guinness in Lawrence of Arabia.' Jack Hawkins is back in battle dress in the role of General Sir Edmund Allenby, who was commander-in-chief of British forces in the Middle East during the First World War.

Hawkins is markedly changed in appearance for the role. To play the part., he sacrificed his thick, dark brown, wavy hair. Allenby had a receding hairline; in fact, he was nearly bald during the period of the story. So Hawkins submitted to having his scalp shaved on top, with just enough thinned hair left to match the Allenby photographs. And he added a mustache for verisimilitude.

Military roles have recurred frequently in Hawkins' career since the time when, at the age of 19, he appeared in Beau Geste with Laurence Olivier at His Majesty's Theatre in London. He made his American stage debut in the famous war drama Journey's End. Among the films which have had him in uniform are The Malta Story, The Cruel Sea and The Two-Headed Spy. He has had real-life military experience in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

To the highly professional Hawkins is entrusted one of the most important and subtly powerful scenes in the Robert Bolt screenplay. This is the scene in which Allenby, an intelligent and sensitive man, but ruthless if need be in the performance of his duty, shrewdly evokes in Lawrence the dream of destiny that sends him back to personal tragedy in the desert war. (Jack Hawkins died in 1973.)

Note: This profile was written in or before 2003.

Jack Hawkins Facts

Birth NameJohn Edward Hawkins
BirthdaySeptember 14, 1910
BirthplaceWood Green, London, England, United Kingdom
Date of deathJuly 18, 1973 (age 62)

Selected Filmography

Not available.