Simon MacCorkindale made an impressive entry into major film roles with two highly contrasting parts: the smooth, sybaritic Simon Doyle in the 1930’s-set Agatha Christie murder mystery Death on the Nile, and the rough sailor hero, Arthur Davies, in the Edwardian spy thriller The Riddle of the Sands. His performances in both films brought him the Most Promising Actor Award in the 1979 Evening News British Film Awards. He has since co-starred with Sir John Mills in Thames TV’s four-part serialisation of Nigel Kneale’s Quatermass, playing the single-minded radio astronomer Joe Kapp, and in the film adaptation, Quatermass Conclusion. Now he has completed work on another leading film role, Lewis Clarkson, an M15 agent in post-World War II Peru, in the forthcoming Charles Bronson epic Cabo Blanco.
He has recently been working in Los Angeles, on both stage and screen. His activities there include a starring role in a television situation comedy for Paramount/N.B.C. about the private lives of doctors in an American hospital. Scalpels, in which he plays an English surgeon, and the leading role in the World premiere of a stage drama. The Gayden Chronicles. He also enjoyed a great success in Los Angeles with performances of the one-man show about Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Oscar, by Micheal Mac-Liammoir, for which his company. Pendant Entertainment Productions, has acquired the American as well as the British rights.
It all amounts to a deep involvement with the one profession that has dominated his interest since his boyhood years. The elder son of an RAF Group Captain, Simon was born on 12th February 1952 in Ely, Cambridge, and travelled extensively as a child until, at 13, he went to Haileybury College, Hertford, where he became Head Boy and Vice-Captain of Rugby. He spent many holidays in Scotland, for – like the tragic Thane of Cawdor he is now playing – he is of Scottish origin. His family is of the MacLeod Clan and comes from the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides.
Simon’s first excursion into the theatre was at the age of 10 when he not only wrote an adaptation of The Sleeping Beauty but played the title role as well! He made his professional debut at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, as Captain Blackwood in A Bequest To The Nation, and has appeared at the Belgrade since in Journey’s End, The Front Page and Getting On.
His considerable stage work also includes two seasons at the Shaw Festival in The Dark Lady of the Sonnets and Back to Methuselah, and Pygmalion at the Albert Theatre, London.
In 1975 Simon was chosen tor the important part of Lucius, the Centurion, in Franco Zeffirelli’s mammoth Jesus of Nazareth. His wide-ranging TV roles since then include Lucius in I, Claudius the debauched profligate Sir Thomas Walsingham in Will Shakespeare, an unusually strong Paris in Romeo and Juliet, the callous Vet in Baby a horror story in the Beasts series, poet Siegfried Sassoon in Out of Battle, the naive Oxford graduate, Paul Verdayne, who developed over eight years into a worldly-wise politician, in Elinor Glyn’s Three Weeks and, of course, astronomer Joe Kapp in Quatermass. His roles for American TV are equally varied.
A firm believer in physical fitness, and a great devotee of all sports, Simon is often seen jogging, playing tennis, squash or cricket, swimming, fencing, riding and, when prudence allows, he is not averse to the occasional outing onto the rugby field. He enjoys a variety of pastimes, loves photography and music, particularly opera, and likes to be considered a pretty handy handyman, decorator and gardener. He and his wife, actress Fiona Fullerton, have their own active production company, Pendant Entertainment Productions Ltd., which they formed with actor Gareth Thomas and Simon’s accountant brother. Having directed a highly successful production of Alan Ayckbourn’s Relatively Speaking for Pendant, Simon looks forward to further directing assignments in the future.
Meanwhile, immediately after his season at the Ludlow Festival, he will star in another feature film, Veronica, to be made in South Africa and England.