Roddy McDowall, the child actor who left Britain during the Blitz to become an award-winning star in theatre, television and films that included Lassie Come Home and Planet of the Apes, has died of cancer. He was 70.
He died on Saturday at his home in Los Angeles, said Mr Dennis Osborne, a friend who had cared for the actor.
"It was very peaceful," Mr Osborne said. "It was just as he wanted it. It was exactly the way he planned."
Elizabeth Taylor, who co-starred with McDowall in Lassie Come Home, said she was "shocked and grieving" over his death.
Angela Lansbury, who appeared with him in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, said the actor loved those in the motion picture business. "He recognised and remembered the roles we played," she said. "He was there for us. He was the best friend you could possibly have had."
He was born Roderick Andrew Anthony Jude McDowall on September 17th, 1928, in London, of a Scottish father and Irish mother.
After appearing in several British films, the 11-year-old actor was among the children evacuated to the United States during the German bombardment. Hollywood producers were impressed with his innocent face and precise diction, and he was first cast in Fritz Lang's Man Hunt. The boy emerged as a star in John Ford's saga of Welsh coal miners, How Green Was My Valley.
"I can't say I was unhappy as a child actor in films, because I wasn't," he said in a 1963 interview. "I had a particularly wonderful time. The only trouble was that by the time I got to be 17 or 18, Hollywood was still thinking of me in terms of what I had delivered at the age of 11."
His ability to move into almost any role led him to be cast as a Roman emperor in Cleopatra, a Bible figure in The Greatest Story Ever Told and as Cornelius in The Planet of the Apes and sequels.
In 1960, he won both an Emmy and a Tony award. His Emmy for best supporting actor came for the NBC production of Not Without Honour. The Tony for best supporting actor honoured his role as Tarquin Edward Mendigales in the Jean Anouilh play Time's Fool, now known as The Fighting Cock.