SIMON MacCORKINDALE – BIOGRAPHY
Internationally recognised as an award-winning actor, director, producer and screenwriter, Simon MacCorkindale personifies the suave, sophisticated British leading man, a role he very much brought to life in the USA Cable/ALLIANCE/TFl France co-production series COUNTERSTRIKE (66 episodes), in which he starred as ex-Scotland Yard inspector Peter Sinclair in front of the cameras, and acted as executive production consultant behind them.
Born in Cambridgeshire, England in 1952, a childhood love for drama led to a place at Studio ’68 of Theatre Arts in London aged 19. At the end of his first year, he was spotted playing the lead in THE DARK LADY OF THE SONNETS at the George Bernard Shaw festival at Ayot-St-Lawrence and was promptly signed up to an agent whilst still at college.
On completing the course at Studio ’68, he toured in regional rep before his West End debut in the highly acclaimed PYGMALION, directed by John Dexter, alongside Alec McCowen and Diana Rigg.
Simon MacCorkindale went on to work extensively in British television, and in 1976 appeared in the renowned BBC production I CLAUDIUS as well as featuring in Franco Zeffirelli’s opulent NBC/ATV co-production JESUS OF NAZARETH.
His big screen debut was in fact a fleeting appearance in Richard Lester’s successful 1974 film JUGGERNAUT with Anthony Hopkins, Richard Harris and Omar Sharif. This, however, did not stop him from collecting the Evening News “Best Newcomer” award three years later for performances in RIDDLE OF THE SANDS, with Michael York and Jenny Agutter, and DEATH ON THE NILE.
It was his role in DEATH ON THE NILE, as smoothly avaricious killer Simon Doyle, alongside such notable stars as Bette Davis, David Niven and Peter Ustinov, that propelled him to international recognition.
Moving to Hollywood, the early eighties saw MacCorkindale star in a number of major features. He shot JAWS 3 with Dennis Quaid and Bess Armstrong, CABO BLANCO with Charles Bronson, and THE QUATERMASS CONCLUSION with Sir John Mills as well as being part of television history by playing opposite the late John Marley in the first film made for cable, ROBBERS OF THE SACRED MOUNTAIN.
At the same time, he was appearing in several of the most watched TV shows of the era, including DYNASTY, HART TO HART, MATT HOUSTON, and THE DUKES OF HAZZARD. He also starred in his own series for NBC, MAMMAL (subsequently a cult show particularly in France), and played English aristocrat David Clement in the acclaimed mini-series THE MANIONS OF AMERICA, alongside Pierce Brosnan and Anthony Quayle.
His love for the theatre undiminished, MacCorkindale was one of the first well-known actors to join the burgeoning live theatre scene in Los Angeles, directing the acclaimed production of THE MERCHANT OF VENICE at the Globe Playhouse in 1981, and Ibsen’s A DOLL HOUSE at the Matrix, which won the 1982 Dramalogue Award and received some of the most sensational reviews in the theatre’s history.
He also appeared at the Westwood Playhouse in Michael MacLiammoir’s THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING OSCAR, an incredibly versatile performance which had previously played at several British Festivals. In the same year he went on a short tour to direct Anthony Shaffer’s SLEUTH with Douglas Fairbanks jnr., James Whitmore and Howard Keel all playing the same role in Dallas, Houston, and Southern California respectively.
From 1984 to 1986, MacCorkindale starred in the hugely popular FALCON CREST (59 episodes) for 2 years alongside Jane Wyman, Gina Lollobrigida and Anne Archer amongst others, and entered the Directors Guild of America to direct several episodes.
He returned to the UK in 1986 to fulfill the long-held ambition of creating his own production company, which he did with his wife Susan George, and Amy International was formed in 1987.
In its first three years, the company produced two films, STEALING HEAVEN, starring Derek de Lint, Kim Thomson, and Denholm Elliot, and THAT SUMMER OF WHITE ROSES, co-written by MacCorkindale and starring Tom Conti, Rod Steiger and Amy co-founder Susan George. WHITE ROSES won five international awards, including the Grand Prix at the Tokyo Film Festival, 1989. Both movies were shot in Europe with International co-production partners, reflecting the international nature of the company.
With Amy International an established independent, MacCorkindale returned to acting in 1990 with the aforementioned COUNTERSTRIKE. The third season, starring Christopher Plummer, finished shooting in Canada in February 1993 but it continues airing in the USA, Canada, France, Germany and South Africa to impressively high ratings.
Throughout COUNTERSTRIKE MacCorkindale maintained his position running Amy, developing, writing or co-writing several scripts for features, movies and mini-series for television. The first of which, THE HOUSE THAT MARY BOUGHT, a psychological thriller based on Tim Wynne Jones award winning novel ODDS END, completed shooting in June 1994. Co-written, co-produced and directed by MacCorkindale, the film stars Susan George and Ben Cross and was released in October 1995 as a Showtime Premiere Release in the United States and was released on BSkyB in mid 1996 in the UK.
Since THE HOUSE THAT MARY BOUGHT, apart from continuing to develop AMY’s projects, MacCorkindale has starred as an actor in several international productions. They include THE WAY TO DUSTY DEATH for director Geoff Reeve, a 4 hour mini-series for BSkyB and international distribution based on the novel by Alistair MacLean and starring Linda Hamilton; NO GREATER LOVE for NBC with Kelly Rutherford and Chris Sarandon; AT THE MIDNIGHT HOUR opposite Patsy Kensit for director Charles Jarrott and filmed in Toronto for Alliance/Harlequin and CBS; A FAMILY OF COPS starring Charles Bronson, also for Alliance and CBS directed by Ted Kotcheff; WHILE MY PRETTY ONE SLEEPS, opposite Connie Selleca for Grosso/Jacobson and The Family Channel and THE SANDS OF EDEN for Canal Plus with Randy Quaid, in which he also performed in French.
1996 was largely about LUCAN on which MacCorkindale was very active as Screenwriter and Producer. Unfortunately, when it went into production, from his screenplay, in late November he had withdrawn his services as star and producer due to creative and professional differences with his partners.
His departure from LUCAN, however, allowed him to concentrate on three other AMY projects already in advanced stages of development. The first, SUCH A LONG JOURNEY, is a feature developed in association with British Screen and TeleFilm Canada, and is based on Rohinton Mistry’s Booker nominated novel. The film, written by Sooni Taraporevala, has been directed by Sturla Gunnarsson and produced in association with The Film Works in Canada. Shot in Bombay, starring Roshan Seth and OmPuri, the film has just been delivered to The Sales Company who will handle worldwide sales.
The second project, DRAGON UNDER THE HILL, is a metaphysical horror story from Gordon Honeycombe’s novel of the same title. Set on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, it is slated for the spring of 1999 with Yorkshire TV, while the third, THE LIAISON, is a turn of the century love story. This TV movie will probably be directed in 1999 by MacCorkindale from his own screenplay. Currently the project is finalising casting.
In addition, MacCorkindale is co-executive producer and screenwriter of a real life murder story entitled OPERATION FARRIER that will be shot in the late summer of 1998, subject to the completion of the court case currently sub judicial. The TV Movie will be produced by Amy and Fireworks for Baton TV in Canada.
He has recently acquired a new screenplay, HERCULINE BARBIN, in association with The Carousel Picture Company in Luxembourg and completed filming RUNNING WILD for Showtime in Zimbabwe with Gregory Harrison and THE GIRL NEXT DOOR with Gary Busey for Fireworks Entertainment in Toronto.
MacCorkindale is a member of BRITISH ACTORS EQUITY; THE DIRECTORS GUILD OF GREAT BRITAIN; THE WRITERS GUILD OF GREAT BRITAIN; THE SCREEN ACTORS GUILD; THE DIRECTOR’S GUILD OF AMERICA; AMERICAN EQUITY; THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TELEVISION & RADIO ARTISTS; THE ALLIANCE OF CANADIAN CINEMA, TELEVISION & RADIO ARTISTS; THE WRITERS GUILD OF CANADA; THE ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURE ARTS AND SCIENCES and a Life Member of THE BRITISH ACADEMY OF FILM AND TELEVISION ARTS.