Laurence Harvey

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File:Laurence Harvey.jpg
Laurence Harvey in the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "Arthur"

Laurence Harvey (October 1, 1928 - November 25, 1973) was a Lithuanian-born actor who achieved fame in British and American films.

Laurence Harvey maintained throughout his life that his birth name was Laruschka Mischa Skikne, his real name was Zvi Mosheh (Hirsh) Skikne, called Hirshkeh by his family. He was the youngest of three boys born to Ber "Boris" and Ella Skikne, a Jewish family in the tiny village of Joniskis, Lithuania. At the age of five he emigrated with his family to South Africa where he took on the English name of Harry. He grew up in Johannesburg, and was in his teens when he served with the entertainment unit of the South African Army during World War II. After moving to London, England, he enrolled in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art where he became known as Larry, and from there moved to perform on stage and film where he adopted the stage name "Laurence Harvey", taken either from the shop name Harvey Nichols or from Harvey's Bristol Cream.

Harvey's first major role came in 1959 when he was cast by director Jack Clayton in Room at the Top produced by British film producing brothers Sir John Woolf and James Woolf of Romulus Films and Remus Films. For his performance, Harvey received a nomination for a BAFTA Award and for an Academy Award for Best Actor, the first person of Lithuanian descent to be nominated for an Academy Award.

During the 1950s and 1960s, he appeared in several major films, including BUtterfield 8, The Alamo, A Walk on the Wild Side'", 'Darling and the critically acclaimed The Manchurian Candidate, for which he is most well known.

British actor John Fraser writes in his memoir "Close Up" (2004) that Harvey was gay, and his lover was his manager James Woolf. "As a teenager, he started out living with Hermione Baddeley, a blowsy star of intimate revue more than twice his age. Then he married Margaret Leighton, old enough to be his mother, but a woman of style. When this marriage was over, he married Joan Cohn, widow of Harry Cohn, managing director of Columbia Studios. Throughout all these career marriages, he still managed to string Jimmy Woolf along."

Laurence Harvey and Paulene Stone with toddler Domino. (Splash News)

Harvey was married three times:

  1. Margaret Leighton (1957-1961) (divorced)
  2. Joan Perry Cohn (1968-1972) (divorced) widow of movie mogul Harry Cohn
  3. Paulene Stone (1972-1973), with whom he remained until his death from stomach cancer at age of 45, and with whom he had a daughter, the famous bounty hunter Domino Harvey (1969-2005).

External links

Lewis Moyse