Missing Roddy McDowall

Missing Roddy McDowall

I’m one of those people who really mourn. I suddenly remembered that Roddy McDowall is dead, and felt a pang. So many memories – Lassie Come Home, the Bookworm on Batman, the Planet of the Apes movies, Cleopatra, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Poseidon Adventure, Funny Lady, The Cat from Outer Space, Alice in Wonderland, Around the World in 80 Days – and even voiceovers (A Bug’s Life and Snowball on “Pinky & the Brain”). He did lot more, I know, but these are the things I remember. I don’t know why I suddenly think of certain movie and television stars who have died and miss them so terribly – it happens all the time.

Since we can buy or rent their images, it seems as though we have a Book of the Dead to open anytime that we want. The images somehow represent absence through their presence – more so for film (or dvd). Perhaps religious beliefs about avoiding images may have a certain truth embedded in it. Perhaps we are all idolators at heart.

On the other hand, Roddy McDowall himself worked very hard to support film preservation and edited books of his own photographs (including many other stars). He collected movies and a few days before he died of the cancer that had spread all over his body, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences named its photo archive after him. So, in that spirit I’ve made a little graphic of some of my favorite photos of him (and changed them enough that I hope I’m not treading on any copyright/permissions issues).

Thinking of Roddy


17 thoughts on “Missing Roddy McDowall

  1. Sweetie, I know how you feel. When James Doohan died last week I was crushed. He was always my fave on the old Star Trek. You ever watch the Academy Awards? When they show the slides of everyone who has died over the past year, so many of them I hadn’t known passed away and it saddens me every year. The circle of life. XOXO

  2. I, too, know how you feel and this happens to me all the time. Roddy was one of my all time favs and a truly gifted actor. I have seen him in hundreds of films, many quite old, and sort of grew up with him. A much undervalued actor though he had many friends and admirers.

    I get very attached to actors of both genders and miss them, at times with greater force, as though their spirits have suddenly passed through me and awakened me to them. They live as long as we remember them, especially when we share those memories with others.

    And, Beverly, yes, James Doohan was another fond favorite; he will be missed by many.

  3. I too know how you feel, I have been an avid fan of Roddy since I was 10.
    He was a very talented actor who was underappreciated. He showed quite a range of versitality in everything that he did. I especially enjoyed his role as Alan “Mollymauk” Musgrave in Lord Love a Duck. He will always be missed by me. His legasy will go on.

  4. I understand. I was channel surfing and came across Fright Night. All of a sudden it struck me that Roddy was dead and I found myself missing him all over again. He seemed such a sweet and gentle soul in his roles and from everything I have read that is how he was in real life. Why is it we usually don’t realize how much we care about someone until they are gone?

  5. How do we know that Roddy is really dead? Were we in the room when he went? Maybe he is in Florida with Elvis, or with JFK in a Mexican clinic.

  6. I am absolutely amazed I managed to pull myself through the long-time grieving period. Knowing Rod is at peace and he’s happy where he is does make a big difference. I met him when he came to the Los Angeles Zoo with Kim Hunter as they were in full make-up to film “Escape From the Planet of the Apes” the first week of November of 1970. We met again on my 35th birthday in February of 1998 when he was recording a radio show in North Hollywood and then again on September 3rd that year at the zoo, again. He was promoting the 30th anniversary to the first POTA. Sadly, he left his physical life behind at 7:30 a.m. of October 3rd, exactly one month later. I felt his spiritual presence around me most of that morning, then learned of his death at 11 a.m.
    The one thing that keeps me going on is staying in contact with him, but of course giving him room enough to visit others and focus on the impact he’s had on a lot of people.
    Roddy is in our hearts, so he’s never far from us!

    Love you, Rod!

    1. That really nice i really love him my self never seen anyone so charming it nice to read about what others say about him since Roddy died when i was only a child and i was late on NOTICING him but when i did watch fright night i looked at him and it then u had my little crush then as i looked him up more and more he just grew on me so much all i could think off was he’s Adorable seem’d so nice so slim and cute looking with a lovely voice he has made me feel happier it nice to have him on my mind and like many of you i hope to god id see him up there in the sky

  7. I completely understand the awful feeling that comes when remembering that Roddy passed on. I had the fortunate experience of meeting him thrice. The last was a month before he passed on. I grieved long and hard. Death is just something you can’t get over. Life does go on, but it’s always better to not forget those who we love. I even wrote a poem for him that I’ve never shown anyone. I didn’t even get to read it at his funeral. My warmest regards to you. Just remember there are those of us who will be here to share in your memories…

  8. I am really one of those who really miss Roddy, his special voice, i think he was a good man and for sure a great actor not appreciated for his real talent. I wacht him again and again on planet of the apes and on fright night.

  9. Now That they remade Posiedon it remeinds me Of Roddy,He will always be fondly remembered as Cornelius from Planet of the Apes.
    Im sure Hollywood misses greatly his wonderful dinner parties!
    But im sure where most of the great actors are now, they are still attending them…

  10. Hello, I am working on my family genealogy and my brother and I believe that our mother was the nanny to Roddy McDowell in the early 40’s. Can anyone give me additional sources of information to check this information? Are there any family members around from that time? Karen

  11. I don’t want to sound snooty right now but I think you spell McDowall like that. I’m Scottish and Irish and that’s how my family friends spell it. I’m only 14 and Roddy has impacted my life in a way that I can’t describe in words. I dunno what it is, but when I see him, it’s like I get this funny feeling in my stomach like I’ve known him forever. I know I might sound crazy. When I was 7, that’s when I first came to know him, I was watching TV and came across Planet of the Apes. He jumped out to me. He was the one I paid attention to the most. Now, of course Maurice Evens and Kim Hunter along with the great Charlston Heston were fantastic, but I don’t know. Roddy seemed to carry the picture. He had a talent for that, he could have the smallest role in a movie and still be credited as one of the main actors. I have been mourning for 7 years. He has never stopped being my number one favorite actor. Even though my friends do make fun of me when I explain the feeling I get when I see him on film. I was only 3 when he died, so I never got the chance to meet him. Oh, what I would give to meet such a man like Roddy. I don’t want to say I know him, like personally, because I don’t. I can’t stand when people talk about a celebrity like they’re their “bud” or something. I want to meet Roddy, and I have a feeling I will some day. Hopefully not soon……. 🙂 you get what I mean.
    I love you Roddy. Rest in Peace.
    “My whole life I’ve been trying to prove that I’m not just yesterday.”

    1. I know exactly what you mean, Savannah, and I feel that way too. And yes – you are absolutely right – Kudos! McDowall is the proper spelling. Thank you for the correction.

  12. Don’t you just wish that when you’re watching a movie and the person sitting next to you has big puppy eyes saying, “ahh isn’t he dreamy?” that you could just whack them over the head? I’m 14 and I feel that urge all the time! I want to scream! If my friends can call some of these “cool” and “hip” new people actors then number one, they haven’t come to know Roddy and, number two, they’re a bone head 🙂 no just kidding. My point is……. Roddy is better than a lot, okay, EVERY other actor besides a few other actors in history that really put his life really into making his acting career utterly fantastic. And by God, he did make it utterly fantastic to those who have the eye for an amazing man like him. All around us, and I see it everyday, Roddy was either a part or knew someone who is making or acting in a movie.
    What I’m really trying to say is that Roddy needs to be known. Even if he has past away, that doesn’t mean people have to move on, right?
    Can I advertise him like on a billboard or something? Just kidding 🙂
    I wish…….

  13. i have been a fan of roddy since i saw possiden adv,in the theather.i know it was a very sad day when i heard of his passing.a great actor and voice man,a man you knew was kind and caring in real life as it came thru so strongly in the apprences he made.i miss you roddy.you will live in our hearts forever.GOD bless you.

  14. I don’t know why I’m only now seeing this page–I do Roddy searches ALL the time. 🙂 I’m glad to have found it though, and love seeing how Roddy has touched so many people. I miss him terribly, but he is a part of my life every day, every moment. I never really met him either, although I DID write to him A LOT back in the ’70s, (I expect my letters are in a “crazy file” somewhere in the Boston University collection 🙂 ), but I too feel that I KNOW him somehow. He has touched my heart and made my life better. Love you, Rod! <3

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