Michael York

IntroBritish academic
Is Academic 
From United Kingdom 
Type Education 
Gendermale

Michael York, OBE (born Michael Hugh Johnson; 27 March 1942) is an English actor.

Personal life

York was born in Fulmer, Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, the son of Florence Edith May (née Chown), a musician; and Joseph Gwynne Johnson, a Llandovery-born Welsh ex-Royal Artillery British Army officer and executive with Marks & Spencer department stores. York has an older sister, Penelope Anne (born 1940) and younger twin sisters, Caroline and Bridget (born 1947); Bridget died a few hours after birth, according to his autobiography. He was brought up in Burgess Hill, Sussex.

During his teenage years, York was educated at Bromley Grammar School for Boys, Hurstpierpoint College and University College, Oxford. He began his career in a 1956 production of The Yellow Jacket. In 1959 he made his West End début with a small part in a production of Hamlet. York was a member of National Youth Theatre

He met photographer Patricia McCallum in 1967 when she was assigned to photograph him, and they married on 27 March 1968, York’s 26th birthday. His stepson is Star Wars producer Rick McCallum. York was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1977.

In 2013, York announced he was suffering from the rare disease amyloidosis. Doctors initially thought he had bone cancer. In 2012, he had undergone a stem cell transplant, which can alleviate symptoms.

Career

Prior to graduating with a degree in English from the University of Oxford in 1964, York had toured with the National Youth Theatre, also performing with the Oxford University Dramatic Society and the University College Players. After some time with the Dundee Repertory Theatre, where he played in Brendan Behan’s The Hostage, York joined National Theatre under Laurence Olivier where he worked with Franco Zeffirelli during the 1965 staging of Much Ado About Nothing. Following his role on British TV as Jolyon (Jolly) in The Forsyte Saga (1967), York made his film debut as Lucentio in Zeffirelli’s The Taming of the Shrew (1967), then was cast as Tybalt in Zeffirelli’s 1968 film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. He starred in The Guru (1969), played an amoral bisexual drifter in Something for Everyone (1970) and portrayed the bisexual Brian Roberts in Bob Fosse’s film version of Cabaret (1972). In 1977, he reunited with Zeffirelli as John the Baptist in Jesus of Nazareth.

York starred as D’Artagnan in the 1973 adaptation of The Three Musketeers and he made his Broadway début in the original production of Tennessee Williams’s Out Cry. One year later the sequel to The Three Musketeers was released (roughly covering events in the second half of the book) titled The Four Musketeers. . Fifteen years later, most of the cast (and crew) joined together in a third film titled The Return of the Musketeers based on the Dumas novel Twenty Years After. He played the title character in the film adaptation of Logan’s Run (1976). The following year, he starred in The Island of Dr. Moreau opposite Burt Lancaster.

Since his auspicious early work, York has enjoyed a busy and varied career in film, television and on the stage. He appeared in two episodes in the second season of the Road to Avonlea series as Ezekiel Crane, the lighthouse keeper of Avonlea and foster father of Gus Pike. His Broadway theatre credits include Bent (1980), The Crucible (1992), Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me (1993) and the ill-fated musical The Little Prince and the Aviator (1982), which closed during previews. He also has made many sound recordings as a reader, including Harper Audio’s production of C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

York appeared in the Babylon 5 episode “A Late Delivery from Avalon” as a delusional man who believed himself to be King Arthur returned. He also appeared as Professor Asher Fleming, a 60-year-old Yale professor and boyfriend of Yale student Paris Geller (Liza Weil) during the fourth season of Gilmore Girls. He performed the voice of the character Ares in the Justice League Unlimited episode “Hawk & Dove”, as well as Dr. Montague Kane in the Batman: The Animated Series episode “Zatanna” and Kanto in the Superman: The Animated Series episode “Tools of the Trade”. York starred in both The Omega Code and its sequel, Megiddo: The Omega Code 2, as Stone Alexander, the Antichrist from Christian eschatology.

He played President Alexander Bourne of Macronesia on seaQuest 2032. He played Basil Exposition in all three of the Austin Powers films. He has made an appearance on The Simpsons as Mason Fairbanks, Homer Simpson’s possible father, in “Homer’s Paternity Coot”. In 2006, York played the character Bernard Fremont (inspired by real life serial killer Charles Sobhraj) in the Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode “Slither”. He also appeared as a fictionalised version of himself in several episodes of the third season of Curb Your Enthusiasm as an investor in Larry’s new restaurant ‘BoBo’s. In 2009, he lent his voice to Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

York voiced Petrie’s uncle Pterano in The Land Before Time VII: The Stone of Cold Fire. In 2009 he narrated the entire Bible for The Word of Promise Audio Bible, a star-studded, performance of the New King James Version. York again played King Arthur in a revival of Lerner and Loewe’s Camelot, which began its run at the La Mirada Theatre in Southern California, and toured nationally in 2006 and 2007.

York portrays Luke in The Truth & Life Dramatised Audio New Testament Bible, a 22-hour audio dramatisation of the New Testament, which uses the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition translation. In 2008, York took part in the BBC Wales programme Coming Home about his Welsh family history. In September 2013, York played Albany in the Gala Performance of William Shakespeare’s King Lear at the Old Vic in London.

Filmography

Television

YearTitleRoleNotes
1964Arrest and TrialPete BakalyanEpisode: “A Circle of Strangers”
1967Death Valley DaysHaynieEpisode: “The Man Who Wouldn’t Die”
1967The Forsyte SagaJolyon “Jolly” Forsyte
1968The Wednesday PlayRoger PorlockEpisode: “Rebel in the Grave”
1974Great ExpectationsPipTV Film
1977Jesus of NazarethJohn the Baptist
1977BBC2 Play of the Week: True PatriotDietrich BonhoefferTV Film
1978Much Ado About NothingBenedickTV Film
1979A Man Called IntrepidEvan MichaelianMiniseries
1981Vendredi ou la Vie SauvageRobinson CrusoeTV Film
1983The Phantom of the OperaMichael HartnellTV Film
1983The Weather in the StreetsRollo SpencerTV Film
1984The Master of BallantraeJames DurieTV Film
1985SpaceDieter KolffMiniseries
1986ABC Afterschool SpecialChet GordonEpisode: “Are You My Mother?”
1986Storybook Series, Vol. 4The BeastVoice Role
1986Tall Tales & LegendsPonce de LeonEpisode: “Ponde de Leon”
1986Sword of GideonRobertTV Film
1986Dark MansionsJason DrakeTV Film
1986Nevil Shute’s The Far CountryCarl ZlinterTV Film
1987-1988Knots LandingCharles Scott8 Episodes
1988The Secret of the SaharaDesmond JordanMiniseries
1988The Four Minute MileFranz StampflMiniseries
1989The Lady and the HighwaymanKing Charles IITV Film
1989Judith Krantz’s Till We Meet AgainPaul de LancelMiniseries
1990The Heat of the DayRobert KelwayTV Film
1990Night of the FoxField Marshal RommelTV Film
1991Road to AvonleaEzekiel Crane2 Episodes
1991Duel of HeartsGervaise WarlinghamTV Film
1992The Legend of Prince ValiantOwenVoice Role, 3 Episodes
1992, 1993Batman: The Animated SeriesCount Vertigo
Montague Kane
Voice Role, 2 Episodes
1993Gardens of the World with Audrey HepburnNarratorTV Documentary
1993Tracey Ullman Takes On New YorkCentral Park AcquaintanceComedy Special
1994TekLabPrince Richard1 Episode
1994ABC Weekend SpecialKing SarastroEpisode: “The Magic Flute”
1994Fall from GraceHans-Dieter StromelburgTV Film
1994RochadePaul GrumbachTV Film
1995Shadow of a KissAlbertTV Film
1995-1996seaQuest DSVPresident Alexander Bourne3 Episodes
1995The Naked TruthLeland BanksEpisode: “Woman Jokes While Husband Cooks!”
1995The Magic School BusHarry HerpVoice Role; Episode: “Cold Feet”
1996La Nouvelle tribuIlyaMiniseries
1996SeptemberEdmundTV Film
1996The RingWalmar von GotthardTV Film
1996Babylon 5David “King Arthur” McIntyreEpisode: “A Late Delivery from Avalon”
1996Adventures from the Book of VirtuesAndrocles/The PriestVoice Role; Episode: “Compassion”
1996Un coup de baguette magiqueIlyaTV Film
1997Superman: The Animated SeriesKantoVoice Role; Episode: “Tools of the Trade”
1997SlidersDr. VargasEpisode: “This Slide of Paradise”
1997True WomenLewis LawsheMiniseries
1997The RipperCharles WarrenTV Film
1998Dead Man’s GunHerr Friederich Von HuberEpisode: “The Collector”
1998Glory, GloryRev. HopewellPilot
1998A Knight in CamelotKing ArthurTV Film
1998Perfect Little AngelsDr. Calvin LawrenceTV Film
2000Founding FathersAlexander HamiltonTV Documentary
2001The LotColin Rhome2 episodes
2002Liberty’s KidsAdmiral Lord HoweVoice Role; 2 Episodes
2002Presidio MedGeorge SlingerlandEpisode: “Secrets”
2002Founding BrothersAlexander HamiltonTV Documentary
2002Curb Your EnthusiasmHimself4 Episodes
2003La Femme MusketeerJacques D’ArtagnanTV Film
2003-2004Gilmore GirlsProfessor Asher Fleming4 Episodes
2004CrusaderMcGovernTV Film
2004Justice League UnlimitedAresVoice Role; Episode: “Hawk and Dove”
2004Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!Master ZanVoice Role; Episode: “Antauri’s Masters”
2005IconNigel IrvineTV Film
2006, 2016-2017The SimpsonsMason Fairbanks/Dr. Lionel BudgieVoice Role, 3 Episodes
2006Law & Order: Criminal IntentBernard FremontEpisode: “Slither”
2007The ReplacementsAgent GVoice Role; Episode: “London Calling”
2008Four SeasonsStephen CombeMiniseries
2008Ben 10: Alien ForcePatrickVoice Role; Episode: “Be-Knighted”
2009Star Wars: The Clone WarsDr. Nuvo VindiVoice Role, 2 Episodes
2010How I Met Your MotherJefferson Van SmootEpisode: “Robots Versus Wrestlers”
2010Family GuyDocumentary SpeakerVoice Role; Episode: “Partial Terms of Endearment”

Film

YearTitleRoleNotes
1967The Taming of the ShrewLucentio
1967Confessions of Loving CouplesPeter
1967AccidentWilliam
1967Red and BlueShort Film
1967Smashing TimeTom Wabe
1968SeparationHimselfUncredited
1968Romeo and JulietTybalt Capulet
1968The Strange AffairPeter Strange
1969The GuruTom Pickle
1969Alfred the GreatGuthrum
1969JustineDarley
1970Something for EveryoneKonrad Ludwig
1971ZeppelinGeoffrey Richter-Douglas
1971Touch and GoBasil
1972CabaretBrian Roberts
1973Lost HorizonGeorge Conway
1973England Made MeAnthony Farrant
1973The Three MusketeersD’Artagnan
1974The Four MusketeersD’Artagnan
1974Murder on the Orient ExpressCount Rudolf Andrenyi
1975Conduct UnbecomingLieutenant Arthur Drake
1976Logan’s RunLogan 5
1976Seven Nights in JapanPrince George
1977The Island of Dr. MoreauAndrew Braddock
1977The Last Remake of Beau GesteBeau Geste
1978FedoraHimself
1979The Riddle of the SandsCharles Carruthers
1980Final AssignmentLyosha Petrov
1981The White LionsChris McBride
1983For Those I LovedMartin Gray
1984Success Is the Best RevengeAlex Rodak
1985British Rock: The First WaveDocumentary
1986DawnJohn Dawson
1987SpaceballsApeUncredited
1987Lethal ObsessionDr. Proper
1988Phantom of DeathRobert Dominici
1988Midnight CopKarstens
1989The Return of the MusketeersD’Artagnan
1990Come See the ParadiseDance Hall Band
1991Eline VereLawrence St. Clare
1992The Long ShadowGabor Romandy
1993Wide Sargasso SeaPaul Mason
1994Discretion AssuredTrevor McCabe
1995GospaMilan Vukovic
1995A Young Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s CourtMerlin
1995Not of This EarthPaul Johnson
1997Austin Powers: International Man of MysteryBasil Exposition
1997Goodbye AmericaSenator Bladon
1997Dark PlanetCapt. Winter
1997The Long Way HomeNarratorDocumentary
1997A Christmas CarolBob CratchitVoice Role
1998Merchants of VenusAlex Jakoff
1998Wrongfully AccusedHibbing Goodhue
199854Ambassador
1998The TreatSimon
1998Lovers & LiarsDick Bunche
1998One Hell of a GuyDevil
1999Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged MeBasil Exposition
1999Puss in BootsPuss in BootsVoice Role
1999The Omega CodeStone Alexander
1999The Haunting of Hell HouseProfessor Ambrose
2000The Land Before Time VII: The Stone of Cold FirePterano (voice)
2000Borstal BoyJoyce
2000A Monkey’s TaleThe Lankoo King (voice)
2001Megiddo: The Omega Code 2Stone Alexander
2002Austin Powers in GoldmemberBasil Exposition
2002A Very Merry Pooh YearNarrator
2004Moscow HeatRoger Chambers
2007Flatland: The MovieSpheriusVoice Role
2008Testimony: The Untold Story of Pope John Paul IINarratorDocumentary
2009Transformers: Revenge of the FallenPrime #1Voice Role
2010Pravosudiye VolkovMikhail Polyakov
2010The Mill and the CrossNicolaes Jonghelinck
2010QuixoteDon QuixoteVoice Role
2010Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock HolmesSherlock HolmesVoice Role
2010The Justice of WolvesMika
2011The Mill and the CrossNicolaes Jonghelinck
2011Glad Christmas TidingsNarrator
2012Flatland 2: SpherelandSpheriusVoice Role
2014Sleeping BeautyNarrator

Autobiography

  • Accidentally on Purpose (US), Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-79591-0.
  • Traveling Player (UK), Headline. ISBN 0-7472-3306-3.
Also available in other editions

Other works

  • York is also the co-author, with director Adrian Brine, of A Shakespearean Actor Prepares, Smith & Kraus, ISBN 1-57525-189-2.
  • York portrayed the character J. Saint Gideon in the Tex Murphy: Overseer computer game.
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