Photoplay – January 1979

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Simon MacCorkindale as Simon Doyle in Death on The NileSimon MacCorkindale

His role as Simon Doyle in the Agatha Christie’s thriller Death On The Nile has put Simon MacCorkindale on his way to international stardom. He followed this movie with another starring role, opposite Michael York an Jenny Agutter in a thriller spy film, The Riddle Of The Sands. It is set in 1901 and is about two young Englishmen on a sailing holiday off the North-West coast of Germany who discover the Germans are planning an invasion of Britain. They try to investigate and become in plots and counter-plots of German espionage.

Simon will also be seen on our television screens playing a radio astronomer in the new series, Quatermass.

Simon MacCorkindale has wanted to be part of the show-business scene as far back as he can recall.

He wrote his first play – a pirate story – when only eight years old, and later adapted and directed ‘Sleeping Beauty’ to ‘stolen’ music. He was always involved in the amateur theatre productions during his early years. But he never imagined one day he would be working with top super-stars like Bette Davis, David Niven and Peter Ustinov – all in one film!

Brought up in a service family – his father was a Group Captain in the Royal Air Force – Simon’s parents had thought he would make a similar career in the Army. But Simon wanted more creatively satisfying work and persuaded his parents to send him to drama school instead of university.

Playing William Shakespeare in “Dark Lady Of The Sonnets” opposite Ellen Pollock at Shaw’s Corner, while still a student, proved Simon had not been wasting his time.

He started his professional career in Coventry with the Belgrade Theatre, playing important small parts in “Journey’s End”, “Front Page” and “Getting On”. As understudy was given the chance of playing lead in “Bequest To A Nation” when the original actor was taken ill on opening night.

Returning to London Simon found himself back at Shaw’s Corner with Ellen Pollock in “Back To Methuselah”.

No stranger to television Simon has played parts in I, Claudius, Within These Walls, Jesus Of Nazareth, Life Of Shakespeare and Romance.

Because his actress wife, Fiona Fullerton, was working and couldn’t watch him playing the part of an aristocratic young Englishman in Romance, Simon video-taped it for her. Luckily the same tape helped convince the producers, John Brabourne and Richard Goodwin and director John Guillermin of Death On The Nile, that he was the actor to play Simon Doyle.

Simon has learned to be calm about his future. In the past he has been offered lots of good parts, but for some reason or another they have fallen through. He was offered the part in Franc Zeffirelli’s film Camille and was immensely disappointed when it wasn’t made.

When he knew he had been given the part in the all-star Death On The Nile, he tried not to get too excited.

“I didn’t really believe any of it until my first day filming with Mia Farrow in the Buckinghamshire countryside,” he said.”It was marvellous to work with all those stars. They were all people I’d admired for years and in every way lived up to my expectations. After all, when Bette Davis arrives early, ten minutes before she is called then that must be the way to behave,” says Simon.

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