TV Cream

Hall of Fame


harrison The celebrated wine bibber and talky-singer is now inextricably linked, thanks to wet bank holidays innumerable, with his gruff attempts at carrying a tune in My Fair lady and Dr Dolittle. But there’s an acre more. The only decent thing in Cleopatra. The only sane thing in Blithe Spirit. The Ghost, of Mrs Muir fame! Getting Charlton Heston in to do his ceiling in the Agony and the Ecstasy. The presenter of Rex Harrison Presents Stories of Love (no, us neither). And, of course, Saladin! Er, you get the point.

FINEST HOUR: If you want complexity, how about his role as a cod-Nazi undercover Brit rescuing Margaret Lockwood by pretending to get her to join the Nazi party while Charters and Caldicott size up a copy of Mein Kampf in Night Train to Munich?



  1. Richardpd

    October 21, 2021 at 1:51 pm

    He was a complete diva behind the scenes during the making of Dr Dolittle, which damaged his reputation from then on.

    • THX 1139

      October 21, 2021 at 4:06 pm

      I’d say the rot set in when he drove poor Carole Landis to suicide. The public took a long time to forgive him for that, and this was in the 1940s.

  2. Droogie

    October 21, 2021 at 3:59 pm

    Was listening to the excellent Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast where he basically talks to a guest about old movies & TV shows, and Harrison was mentioned as one of those actors that nobody who encountered or worked with them had a good word to say about them. Was quite anti-Semitic too and horrible to Anthony Newley on Dolittle apparently.

  3. Sidney Balmoral James

    October 21, 2021 at 6:53 pm

    He’s a strangely unappealing actor, a rather dry, squawky voice, and a hectoring tone, one thinks of him always mansplaining – to Eliza, to Cleopatra, to Samantha Eggar, to Doris Day etc. and his charm seems wafer thin next to Noel Coward, or Cary Grant. Must have had something ‘though to work through all those wives (and to drive poor Carole Landis to kill herself with unrequited love). An oddity in the annals of film stardom, a cold fish who had a solid star career, on basis of one or two successful roles (see also Laurence Harvey).

  4. George White

    December 11, 2022 at 9:53 pm

    JW Rex Harrison Presents Stories of Love. A Universal TVM pilot for a Night Gallery type series but with romances, it adapts three stories – a Maugham, a Du Maurier and a Vonnegut. The Du Maurier is the most ludicrous – set in an unconvincing Universalbacklot recreation of 50s post-war North London, derelict sets as blitzed ruins, and buses with ‘Fenwick Automobiles’ on the side, using the stock Universal graveyard set and a Lyon’s corner house that looks like a roadhouse, with the interior of a mittel-European inn, but is also a greasy spoon. Leonard Nimoy is Mick, a COckernee flat-capped RAF man, staying with Donald Moffat as a fatherly garage owner (despite being the same age, but he uses his native Westcountry burr)
    It has scenes in a North London cinema with Universal mockups of local ad slides, and then radio bulletins supposedly from the BBC, with a faux-Estuary newsreader claiming to be Alvar Lidell,but sounding nothing like him, but there is a ref to 50s British bandleader Geraldo and his orchestra.
    Juliet Mills plays a murderous usherette whose family were killed in the Blitz, so in revenge she slaughters RAF men.

  5. Richardpd

    December 11, 2022 at 10:29 pm

    There have been quite a few telemovies with mismatched casts & locations over the years & this is a good example.

  6. Droogie

    December 13, 2022 at 3:46 pm

    Saw a documentary on George Cole a few years back. He was interviewed about Cleopatra and had several scenes with Harrison. It’s unusual to see actors of Cole’s generation criticize other performers in interviews as it was seen as unprofessional, but Harrison must’ve been a git as Coke really let rip on how awful he was to work with.

  7. Glenn Aylett

    December 14, 2022 at 8:39 pm

    Harrison was once referred to by Patrick Macnee as one of the five most unpleasant men you could ever meet and was notorious for his egotism, snobbery, vile temper and misogyny. His rudeness towards waiters was infamous to the extent one in Italy laid him out for his racism and abusive behaviour.

  8. Richardpd

    December 14, 2022 at 10:47 pm

    His treatment of Anthony Newley during the making of Dr Doolittle was cringeworthy, not helped by his heavy drinking at the time.

  9. Sidney Balmoral James

    December 16, 2022 at 7:16 pm

    Known apparently as Sexy Rexy to the ladies, which says a lot about how tastes have changed over the years!

  10. Glenn Aylett

    December 16, 2022 at 7:38 pm

    I suppose Harrison had this veneer of charm and sophistication that some women could fall for, but being married six times and having numerous failed affairs would suggest to most women to steer clear of him.

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