Simon MacCorkindale, the talented British actor/producer/director, who made his international film debut as the murderer in DEATH ON THE NILE and who was seen as a regular on CBS’s FALCON CREST, says that probably more mayhem has happened to him on movie and TV screens than any other actor of the younger set.
“In DEATH ON THE NILE, I was shot twice; in THE RIDDLE OF THE SANDS, my hand was smashed; in QUATERMASS, I was beaten up and then shot; in CABO BLANCO, I caught a bullet in the shoulder and almost bled to death. In THE GAYDEN CHRONICLES, I was hanged; in MACBETH, I was beheaded; in I CLAUDIUS, I was drowned; while in AN OUTPOST OF PROGRESS, I hanged myself after comitting murder. For THE SWORD & THE SORCERER, I was hung in chains and tortured; while in THE MANIONS OF AMERICA, I was wounded in the leg (off stage) and then shot in the shoulder in a duel. In OBSESSIVE LOVE, I put my fist through a glass cabinet; in FALCON’S GOLD (ROBBERS OF THE SACRED MOUNTAIN), I get beaten up, chased, beaten up again, and finished up hanging from the skid of a helicopter; and in JAWS 3D, I was unceremoniously devoured by a 35-foot shark.”
Simon’s first involvement with the theatre came about when he was only eight, and wrote a play about which he recalls: “Alas, it was never produced because it required an enormous cast and a considerable amount of rum drinking. I did better with my second attempt in school, a dramatization of SLEEPING BEAUTY.” Simon conveniently forgets to add that he played the leading lady in this one!
So as a youngster, his love for the theatre was born, and during the next nine years he wrote, produced, directed and/or acted in some 25 productions at school and with local groups. This led to his first year as a drama student at the Sutdio ’68 of Theatre Arts in London. Following school he starred in many theatre productions in and around London.
His first international television assignment was in Franco Zefirelli’s JESUS OF NAZERETH, in which he played Lucius, a centurion who was strongly featured in the last hour of the six-hour epic. Curiously enough, he also played Lucius, the grandson of Emperor Augustus, in I, CLAUDIUS for the BBC.
Simon followed this with many roles for British television, however, what he considers the major “break” of his career was being cast as Simon Doyle, the smooth, avaricious young murderer in the star-studded DEATH ON THE NILE. He was presented to the Queen at the Royal Premier in London, by which time he had completed a role in marked contrast, the tough sailor-hero in Erskine Childers’ classic spy story, THE RIDDLE OF THE SANDS.
The London Evening News liked his work so much in these two films that it presented him with its “Most Promising Actor” Award, which necessitated a flight for the presentation from Los Angeles, where he was guest starring in an episode of THE DUKES OF HAZZARD and in a comedy pilot, SCALPELS for Paramount and NBC. On his return, he starred in THE GAYDEN CHRONICLES on stage in Los Angeles, and soon after that he was flying back to London to play the title role in MACBETH with Gayle Hunicutt at Ludlow Castle at the annual LUDLOW festival.
After several other roles in television and films, Simon was cast to play Lt. David Clement of the Royal Hussars in THE MANIONS OF AMERICA miniseries, in which he starred with David Soul, Linda Purl, Kate Mulgrew and Pierce Brosnan. It was ABC’s top attraction opener for the fall of 1981 season.
After four months of location work in Dublin for MANIONS, Simon returned to Los Angeles to live and work. Highlights of the years to follow include THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING OSCAR, his one-man show, guest starring roles in FANTASY ISLAND, HART TO HART and DYNASTY for American television, and films THE SWORD & THE SORCERER, FALCON’S GOLD, and JAWS 3D. Simon also took time to direct Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Noel Harrison in SLEUTH at Granny’s Dinner Theater in Dallas.
If it wasn’t enough to be eaten by a shark in JAWS 3D, Simon’s next project took him into the fantastical world of animal transmutations, starring as Professor Jonathan Chase in NBC’s MANIMAL, in which he transformed into several different kinds of animals to aid a lady police officer in the unorthodox prevention of crime. The series was cancelled after only seven episodes after finding it’s DALLAS opposition for its time slot a little too strong. The following year, MANIMAL played to much success in England and other countries.
In 1984 Simon starred with Yvette Mimieux in a television movie, OBSESSIVE LOVE, for CBS, and guest starred with Lee Horsley in an episode of MATT HOUSTON, and began a two-year appearance as a regular on CBS’s FALCON CREST.
Following FALCON CREST, Simon and his wife, actress Susan George moved back to England to actively develop projects for their own production company, “Amy International Productions”. Projects finished under their own banner in the following years were feature films, STEALING HEAVEN, THAT SUMMER OF WHITE ROSES, and THE HOUSE THAT MARY BOUGHT. In-between these projects Simon returned to Canada and starred in SINCERELY VIOLET, part of the SHADES OF LOVE videocassette series, and the hit CTV/USA television series COUNTERSTRIKE, which aired for three seasons.
Since COUNTERSTRIKE, Simon has been seen in several television movies, AT THE MIDNIGHT HOUR, WHILE MY PRETTY ONE SLEEPS, and A FAMILY OF COPS, and video project, THE WAY TO DUSTY DEATH, plus he starred in an early episode of USA Network’s, LA FEMME NIKITA. His also appeared in the film THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, with Gary Busey.
He returned to the UK in 2002 and joined the cast of the BBC medical drama Casualty, appearing in the role of Harry Harper for six years until 2008. He married actress Susan George in 1984 and died of colorectal cancer in 2010.