Norman McKinnel

Last updated

Norman McKinnel
Born(1870-02-10)10 February 1870
Died29 March 1932(1932-03-29) (aged 62)
Other namesNorman McKinnell
Years active1894 1932
Notable work
The Bishop's Candlesticks

Norman McKinnel (10 February 1870 29 March 1932) was a Scottish stage and film actor and playwright, active from the 1890s until his death. He appeared in many stage roles in the UK and overseas as well as featuring in a number of films, the best known of which is Alfred Hitchcock's 1927 production Downhill . His surname was sometimes mistranscribed as McKinnell.


Early years

McKinnel was born in 1870 at Maxwelltown, Kirkcudbrightshire (since incorporated into Dumfries) and originally intended to follow his father into the engineering business before deciding to enter the acting profession. As a playwright he is known for the play, The Bishop's Candlesticks, an adaptation of a section of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables .


McKinnel's first stage appearance was in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex in 1894 and he soon based himself in London to further his career. He became known over the course of his career for playing many Shakespearian roles, and his stage work took him the U.S., Australia and South Africa. He was known for writing several easily stageable one-act plays, the most successful of which was The Bishop's Candlesticks (1901). [ citation needed ]

McKinnel's film career began in 1899 in King John , the earliest known example of Shakespeare on film. The work consisted of four brief scenes from the play, and a two-minute fragment survives at the EYE Film Institute in Amsterdam. McKinnel did not act on screen again until the mid-1910s, when he began to make further film appearances fitted in around his stage work. He played the title character in the original London production of Hobson's Choice in 1916. Notably, he appeared as the same character (Nathaniel Jeffcote) in three separate film versions of the same play Hindle Wakes, in 1918 and 1927 silent adaptations and again in 1931 in sound. In 1919 he played Paul Dombey in the first screen version of the Charles Dickens novel Dombey and Son. McKinnel's most widely known film to contemporary audiences is Hitchcock's Downhill, as the harsh but ultimately repentant patriarch opposite Ivor Novello. [ citation needed ]


McKinnel died of a heart attack in London on 29 March 1933, aged 62. [1]


Related Research Articles

Ivor Novello Welsh composer and actor (1893–1951)

Ivor Novello was a Welsh actor, dramatist, singer and composer who became one of the most popular British entertainers of the first half of the 20th century.

Franchot Tone American actor, director (1905–1968)

Stanislaus Pascal Franchot Tone was an American actor, producer, and director of stage, film and television. He was a leading man in the 1930s and early 1940s, and at the height of his career was known for his gentlemanly, sophisticate roles, with supporting roles by the 1950s. His acting crossed many genres including pre-Code romantic leads to noir layered roles and many World War I films. He appeared as a guest star in episodes of several golden age television series, including The Twilight Zone and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour while continuing to act and produce in the theater and movies throughout the 1960s.

Alma Reville English wife of Alfred Hitchcock (1899–1982)

Alma Lucy Reville, Lady Hitchcock, was an English screenwriter and film editor, and the wife of the film director Alfred Hitchcock. She collaborated on scripts for her husband's films, including Shadow of a Doubt, Suspicion, and The Lady Vanishes, as well as scripts for other directors, including Henrik Galeen, Maurice Elvey, and Berthold Viertel.

Sidney Howard American writer

Sidney Coe Howard was an American playwright, dramatist and screenwriter. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1925 and a posthumous Academy Award in 1940 for the screenplay for Gone with the Wind.

Edmund Gwenn English actor (1877–1959)

Edmund Gwenn was an English actor. On film, he is best remembered for his role as Kris Kringle in the Christmas film Miracle on 34th Street (1947), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and the corresponding Golden Globe Award. He received a second Golden Globe and another Academy Award nomination for the comedy film Mister 880 (1950). He is also remembered for his appearances in four films directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

David Haig Collum Ward is an English actor and playwright. He has appeared in West End productions and numerous television and film roles over a career spanning four decades.

Patrick Hamilton (writer)

Anthony Walter Patrick Hamilton was an English playwright and novelist. He was well regarded by Graham Greene and J. B. Priestley, and study of his novels has been revived because of their distinctive style, deploying a Dickensian narrative voice to convey aspects of inter-war London street culture. They display a strong sympathy for the poor, as well as an acerbic black humour. Doris Lessing wrote in The Times in 1968: "Hamilton was a marvellous novelist who's grossly neglected".

<i>Downhill</i> (1927 film) 1927 film

Downhill is a 1927 British silent drama film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Ivor Novello, Robin Irvine and Isabel Jeans, and based on the play Down Hill by Novello and Constance Collier. The film was produced by Gainsborough Pictures at their Islington studios. Downhill was Hitchcock's fourth film as director, but the fifth to be released. Its American alternative title was When Boys Leave Home.

Charles Alfred Selwyn Bennett was an English playwright, screenwriter and director probably best known for his work with Alfred Hitchcock.

Rodney Ackland

Rodney Ackland was an English playwright, actor, theatre director and screenwriter.

Edward Chapman (actor) English actor

Edward Chapman was an English actor who starred in many films and television programmes, but is chiefly remembered as "Mr.William Grimsdale", the officious superior and comic foil to Norman Wisdom's character of Pitkin in many of his films from the late 1950s and 1960s.

Edward Knoblock American-born British writer

Edward Knoblock was a playwright and novelist, originally American and later a naturalised British citizen. He wrote numerous plays, often at the rate of two or three a year, of which the most successful were Kismet (1911) and Milestones. Many of his plays were collaborations, with, among others, Vicki Baum, Beverley Nichols, J. B. Priestley and Vita Sackville-West.

Isabel Jeans English actress (1891–1985)

Isabel Jeans was an English stage and film actress known for her roles in several Alfred Hitchcock films and her portrayal of Aunt Alicia in the 1958 musical film Gigi.

Gordon Harker English film actor

William Gordon Harker was an English stage and film actor.

F. Hugh Herbert Filmmaker (1897–1958)

Frederick Hugh Herbert was a playwright, screenwriter, novelist, short story writer, and infrequent film director.

<i>The Frightened Lady</i> (1932 film) 1932 film

The Frightened Lady is a 1932 British thriller film directed by T. Hayes Hunter and starring Emlyn Williams, Cathleen Nesbitt, Norman McKinnel and Belle Chrystall. It was adapted by Bryan Edgar Wallace from his father Edgar Wallace's 1931 play The Case of the Frightened Lady, which was adapted again later for a 1940 film.

<i>Hindle Wakes</i> (1931 film) 1931 film

Hindle Wakes is a 1931 British film drama, directed by Victor Saville for Gainsborough Pictures and starring Belle Chrystall and John Stuart. The film is adapted from Stanley Houghton's 1912 stage play of the same name, which had previously been filmed twice as a silent in 1918 and 1927. Saville had been the producer on the highly regarded 1927 version directed by Maurice Elvey. Both Stuart and Norman McKinnel returned in 1931 to reprise their roles from the 1927 film.

<i>Sherlock Holmes</i> (1931 film series)

Sherlock Holmes is a film series running from 1931 to 1937. Arthur Wontner portrayed Sherlock Holmes in five films.

Adaptations of<i> Les Misérables</i>

Victor Hugo's novel Les Misérables has been the subject of many adaptations in various media since its original publication in 1862.

René Fauchois

René Fauchois was a French dramatist, librettist and actor. Stagestruck from his youth he moved from his native Rouen to Paris as a teenager to pursue a stage career. He had early success both as an actor and as a playwright. Among those with whom he collaborated as his career flourished were Sarah Bernhardt and Sacha Guitry. His career lasted for more than sixty years, and his output was prolific.


  1. "Noted stage star in England dead" The Montreal Gazette, 30 March 1932; retrieved 25 August 2010.