Trevor Howard, the veteran English film actor who frequently portrayed a staunch British officer and starred in such classics as "The Third Man" and "Brief Encounter," died today after a short illness, his agent said. He was 71.
Howard's acting career spanned 47 years, and his professionalism and acting skill often saved inferior films. He was nominated for an Academy Award in 1960 for his role as the miner, Morel, in "Sons and Lovers" and won an Emmy for his portrayal of Benjamin Disraeli in a TV film in 1963.
Howard died in his sleep in a hospital near his home in the London suburb of Arkley.
Although a performer of great range, Howard's best-remembered film roles are those of inflexible men of action: the POW leader in "Von Ryan's Express," Capt. Bligh in "Mutiny on the Bounty" and the tight-lipped officer Lord Cardigan in "The Charge of the Light Brigade."
"All my performances are good enough to be seen; I'm not ashamed of anything I've done," he once said. "I consider it . . . professional whoredom to inflict a load of rubbish on a paying public."
Howard often portrayed a proper Englishman on the screen but in private life he was a nonconformist hell raiser. After his military service in World War II, his frequent drinking bouts often got him into trouble.
Born in Margate, England, Howard was raised in Ceylon, Los Angeles and Canada. His father, who was in the shipping business, hoped that Howard would be a career army officer, but instead he entered the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.