Today we mark the birth of one, Lewis Ernest Watts Mills... or as we knew and loved him... Sir John Mills. He was without doubt, one of our most popular and beloved English actors and born today February 22nd 1908. In a career that stretched over eight decades, Mills appeared in over 120 films, debuting in 1932 in 'Midshipmaid Gob' right up until 2009 in 'The Snow Prince'. Many of his roles like Pip in 'Great Expectations' in 1946, Shorty Blake 'In Which We Serve' in 42, Captain Scott in 'Scott of the Antarctic' in 48 and the alcohol troubled Captain Anson in 'Ice Cold in Alex' in 58 would make him an internationally renowned star.
Mills appeared in two films with Peter Cushing, the first in 1976 entitled 'Trial by Combat' aka 'A Dirty Knight's Work' as Sir Edward Gifford. It was no more than a guest appearance, slotted in when another project on Cushing's slate fell through. The second though, was a much grander enterprise with Tyburn films and marked Cushing's return to the character of Sherlock Holmes...and Mills as Watson! They made a terrific team as a much older duo, so impressive was the chemistry that another Cushing /Mills / Sherlock film from Tyburn was planned entitled 'The Abbot's Cry', but was scuppered owing to Cushing's fragile health.
Like Cushing, Mills was in his private life a sensitive romantic, in January 2001 at the age of 92, he and wife Mary, age 89, renewed their marriage vows at St. Mary's Church, next to their home, Hills House, in Denham, England. When they had wed 60 years earlier, he was denied a church service because he was serving in the Army during World War II. Happy Birthday, Sir John!
Sir John Mills died on the 23rd of April 2005.