Edward Fox (actor)

Edward Charles Morice Fox, OBE (born 13 April 1937) is an English stage, film and television actor.[1]

Edward Fox

Fox in 2011
Edward Charles Morice Fox

(1937-04-13) 13 April 1937
Years active1958–present
Tracy Reed
(m. 1958; div. 1961)

Joanna David (m. 2004)
Children3; including Emilia and Frederick "Freddie" Fox
Parent(s)Robin Fox
Angela Worthington
Military career
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service1958–1960
Service number446128
UnitLoyal Regiment (North Lancashire)

He played the part of the professional assassin, known only as the "Jackal", who is hired to assassinate the French president Charles de Gaulle in the summer of 1963, in the film The Day of the Jackal (1973). He is also known for his roles in Battle of Britain (1969), The Go-Between (1971), for which he won a BAFTA award, and The Bounty (1984). He also collaborated with director Richard Attenborough, appearing in his films Oh! What a Lovely War (1969), A Bridge Too Far (1977) and Gandhi (1982).

He portrayed Edward VIII in the British television drama series Edward & Mrs. Simpson (1978) and appeared in the historical series Taboo (2017). In addition to film and television work, Fox has also garnered acclaim as a stage actor.

Early life and education

Fox was born in Chelsea, London, the son of Robin Fox, a theatrical agent, and Angela Muriel Darita Worthington, an actress and writer.[2] He is the elder brother of actor James Fox and film producer Robert Fox, and an uncle of actor Laurence Fox. His paternal great-grandfather was industrialist and inventor Samson Fox, and his paternal grandmother was Hilda Hanbury, sister of stage performer Lily Hanbury. His maternal grandfather was dramatist Frederick Lonsdale, and his maternal grandmother was the daughter of football player and stockbroker Charles Morice.[3][4] Fox was educated at Harrow School and completed his National Service in the Loyals, having failed to gain a commission in the Coldstream Guards.[5][6][7][8]


Fox made his theatrical debut in 1958, and his first film appearance was as an extra in The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962). He also had a non-speaking part as a waiter in This Sporting Life (1963). Throughout the 1960s he worked mostly on stage, including a turn as Hamlet. In the late 1960s and early 1970s he established himself with roles in major British films, including Oh! What a Lovely War (1969), Battle of Britain (1969) and The Go-Between (1971). In The Go-Between, he played the part of Lord Hugh Trimingham, for which he won a BAFTA award for Best Supporting Actor. His acting ability also brought him to the attention of director Fred Zinnemann, who was looking for an actor who was not well-known and could be believable as the assassin in the film The Day of the Jackal (1973). Fox won the role, beating other contenders such as Roger Moore and Michael Caine.[9]

From then on he was much sought after, appearing in such films as A Bridge Too Far (1977) as Lieutenant General Horrocks, a role he has cited as a personal favourite,[10] and for which he won the Best Supporting Actor award at the British Academy Film Awards. He also starred in Force 10 from Navarone (1978), with Robert Shaw and Harrison Ford.

He portrayed King Edward VIII in the television drama Edward & Mrs. Simpson (1978). In the film Gandhi (1982), Fox portrayed Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer, who was responsible for the Amritsar massacre in India. He then appeared as M in the unofficial Bond film Never Say Never Again (1983), a remake of Thunderball (1965). He also appeared in The Bounty (1984) and Wild Geese II (1985), both opposite Laurence Olivier, and in The Importance of Being Earnest (2002), Nicholas Nickleby (2002), and Stage Beauty (2004).

Later stage work

Fox has consolidated his reputation with regular appearances on stage in London's West End. He was seen in Four Quartets, a set of four poems by T. S. Eliot, accompanied by the keyboard music of Johann Sebastian Bach, performed by Christine Croshaw. In 2010, Fox performed a one-man show, An Evening with Anthony Trollope, directed by Richard Digby Day. In 2013, he replaced Robert Hardy in the role of Winston Churchill in the premiere of The Audience, after Hardy had to withdraw for health reasons. In 2018, he appeared with his son Freddie Fox in an adaption of Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband.


For his role as Viscount Trimingham in The Go-Between (1971), he won Best Supporting Actor award at the following year's British Academy Film Awards.[11]

For his role as Lieutenant General Horrocks in A Bridge Too Far (1977), he won the Best Supporting Actor award at the British Academy Film Awards.[12]


Fox was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his services to Drama in the 2003 New Year Honours.[13][14]

Personal life

Fox has been married twice, to actresses Tracy Reed (1958–1961) and Joanna David (from July 2004, after a long-standing relationship). He has a daughter, Lucy, Viscountess Gormanston, by Reed, and two children, Emilia Fox and Freddie Fox, with David.

He is the elder brother and uncle, respectively, of actors James Fox and Laurence Fox. He is also the former father-in-law of actor Jared Harris.

Fox currently resides in London and Wareham, Dorset.[15][16]

Views and advocacy

Fox spoke at the conference for the Referendum Party ahead of the 1997 general election and was a friend of its leader James Goldsmith.[17][18] He has also been a patron of the UK Independence Party.[19]

In 2002, Fox joined the Countryside March to support hunting rights in the UK.[20] He also supported the restoration of the Royal Hall, Harrogate, funded by his great-grandfather Samson Fox.

In 2010, Fox gave his support to a local campaign to prevent a supermarket being built close to his home in Dorset, citing the impact it would have upon small and independent businesses in the area. He chronicled the events in an article for The Daily Telegraph.[21]

Fox also endorsed the successful ‘Leave’ vote campaign ahead of the referendum to leave the European Union.[22]


Selected theatre performances

Other projects and contributions


  1. "Person Page". Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  2. "Edward Fox Biography (1937-)". www.filmreference.com.
  3. Barratt, Nick. "Family detective". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  4. "Players Indez: Charles Morice". England Football Online. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  5. "No. 40722". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 February 1956. p. 1289.
  6. "No. 41359". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 April 1958. p. 2360.
  7. "No. 42226". The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 December 1960. p. 8794.
  8. Massingberd, Hugh (2 July 2004). "The old master". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  9. "Gandhi's General Dyer: Edward Fox was the quintessential Englishman onscreen". Hindustan Times. 13 April 2007. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  10. "A Bridge Too Far (1977)". British Film Institute. 12 March 2008. Archived from the original on 12 May 2008. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  11. "BAFTA Awards". awards.bafta.org.
  12. "BAFTA Awards". awards.bafta.org.
  13. "No. 56797". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2002. p. 10.
  14. Host: Brian Matthew (10 August 1982). "Talking Hamlet". Round Midnight. 6:32 minutes in. BBC Radio 2. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  15. "Our Walks - London Walks". www.walks.com. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  16. Fox, Edward (10 October 2010). "Edward Fox: how I helped save Wareham from the supermarkets". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  17. Carter et al. 1998, p. 475.
  18. "Edward Fox urges leave EU: "Sovereign power is absolute"". 16 May 2016.
  19. "UKIP sprouts as celebrities make a stand on Brussels". The Independent. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  20. "Edward Fox — The Consummate Actor". BBC News. 31 December 2002. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  21. Fox, Edward (10 October 2010). "Edward Fox: how I helped save Wareham from the supermarkets". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  22. "Edward Fox urges leave EU: "Sovereign power is absolute"". 16 May 2016.
  23. Fraser, David (November 1998). The Royal Exchange Theatre Company Words & Pictures 1976–1998. Royal Exchange Theatre. ISBN 978-0951201718.

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