RODDY McDOWALL IN ‘THE COOL ONES’
In role of magnate, he attracts Debbie Watson
Planning for Now
By RICHARD BAXTER
Roddy McDowall, 26-year motion-picture veteran, photographer, stage and television actor, and contributing editor to Harper’s Bazaar, never can tell much about his future.
He never has one planned.
Isn’t he set to do a play in August? … "Well, tentatively, but we’ll have to wait and see. The profession is just too precarious," he replied last week after taping segments for a Danny Kaye show. "I never even dream more than three or four months ahead. One’s feelings change, you know.
"I just get a bug—I want to try something—then I try it."
A child star brought from England in 1941 to play the nice boy in "Man Hunt," he has broadened his talents to theater, television, and most recently has seen his best-selling photographic essay, "Double Exposure," sell out in its first printing and go into its second.
Roddy describes his emergence as a photographer as accidental. "It had been a hobby—sort of a trial-and-error thing—for five or six years. All of a sudden people began using my work. Then Bazaar commissioned me to do some fashion shots … and I was a photographer."
McDowall the photographer has become an esteemed personality essayist. Life magazine published his picture essay of Sir Laurence Olivier shooting "Othello" in 1964 and, among others, printed his portraits of Elizabeth Taylor, shot during the filming of "Cleopatra," in which Roddy appeared with her.
His latest project is a series of shots of Charlie Chaplin. "It was a fascinating assignment. He was the genius of his art form."
Currently on the news stands is his picture interview with David Hemmings, the photographer in Michelangelo Antonioni’s "Blow-Up"—a part for which Roddy McDowall seems ideal. "Sure I’d love to have played that role; it’s a fantastic part, but David had such a rapport with the role that it would have been difficult to improve on what he did."
The latest of Roddy’s films, two of them soon to be released, resemble those he made 20 years ago. "Lord Love a Duck," in which he appears with Tuesday Weld as a 17-year-old high-schooler (Roddy is 39), was virtually written for him. He plays a bizarre rock’n roll magnate not unlike Phil Spector in "The Cool Ones" and is a Boston butler who goes West with the Gold Rush in "Bullwhip Griffin."
Is there anything he hasn’t done yet and would like to do? "Oh, I’d like to do a musical something but … " but that’s in the future, classified uncertain.
When he is not at his spacious bachelor apartment studio on upper Central Park West in Manhattan, Roddy can be found with New York friends at the discotheque Arthur, which—with Sybil Burton Christopher—he owns.
Roddy is a businessman too.
LA HERALD EXAMINER March 19, 1967