Child Actors: John Howard Davies - (England, 1939-2011)

Figure 1.--This is John Howard Davies in his role of Oliver Twist in the 1948 British production. His rather gaunt look was historically accurate for an orphanage boy or street waif. This is something you do not get for most noys playing Oliver.

John was born in London, the son of British screenwriter Jack Davies. He was the most important British child star of the late-40s and early-50s, a particularly important period for British film. He appeared in only a few films all in a narrow 3-year pperiod, but gave particularly riviting performnances. John stared in several distinguished British films: 'Oliver Twist' (1948), 'The Rocking Horse Winner' (1949), 'Tom Brown's School Days' (1951), and 'The Magic Box'. He played both Oliver and Tom. 'The Rocking Horse Winner' was probably his most impressive performance. He had only a small role in 'The Magic Box'. It is especially notable for the extensive appearance of John, carrying the whole film. He wears short pants and sandals. He appeared in only four films, but was a very competent little actor and had the lead role in each when he was 9-12 years of age. We are not sure why he was not in more films, but it was not for a lack of box office appeal. He became a TV director for BBC shows, including the famous 'Monty Python's Flying Circus'. Davis died aged 72 from cancer (2011).


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Created: 3:19 PM 8/27/2011
Last updated: 3:19 PM 8/27/2011