Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A00210 - Angus Lennie, Actor in "The Great Escape"


Angus Lennie, center, with Gordon Jackson in a scene from “The Great Escape” (1963), set in a German P.O.W. camp. CreditUnited Artists, via Photofest

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Angus Lennie, a diminutive Scottish actor who played the persistent but ultimately despairing “tunnel man” known as the Mole in the 1963 prison-camp movie “The Great Escape,” died on Sunday in London. He was 84.
His death was confirmed by the Acton Care Center, a nursing home, where he died.
Mr. Lennie, who was not quite five and a half feet tall, was born in Glasgow on April 18, 1930, and began his career in show business as a dancer and a stand-up comedian. As an actor he was known in Britain for his appearances in numerous television series, but especially as Shughie McFee, a self-inflating chef in the kitchen of the motel that was the central setting of a long-running soap opera, “Crossroads.”
In shows broadcast in the United States Mr. Lennie was seen in episodes of “Rumpole of the Bailey,” “The Saint” and “Doctor Who.” But American audiences are most familiar with him as Archibald Ives, a. k. a. the Mole, a captive in a German prisoner of war camp during World War II who has made many escape attempts and who befriends Capt. Virgil Hilts, the iconoclastic American flier played by Steve McQueen.
The two men are caught trying to tunnel out of the camp, and after spending time quarantined from other prisoners, Ives comes to a bad end. In a pivotal sequence in the film, desperate to escape and despondent at the Germans’ discovery of another tunnel, he races to the camp’s barbed-wire enclosure in full view of the guards and is gunned down as he tries to climb over it. The sight of his friend hanging from the wire is motivation for Hilts to join the escape plot being hatched by the other prisoners.
Mr. Lennie’s other film credits include “Oh! What a Lovely War” (1969), directed by Richard Attenborough, who was in the cast of “The Great Escape,” and “One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing” (1975), a comedy-adventure that starred Peter Ustinov and Helen Hayes.
Information about Mr. Lennie’s survivors was unavailable.

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