John MILLS CBE (1908-2005)

John Mills
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Keeping it in the family

THIS IS YOUR LIFE - John Mills, actor, was surprised by Eamonn Andrews outside Pinewood Studios.

At the start of World War II, John enlisted in the Royal Engineers, but received a medical discharge due to an ulcer. He spent the remainder of the war years appearing in British films such as In Which We Serve, This Happy Breed and The Way to the Stars.

As a leading screen actor he traditionally played British heroes such as Captain Scott in Scott of the Antarctic. Throughout the fifties he became particularly associated with war dramas, such as The Colditz Story, Above Us the Waves and Ice Cold in Alex.

John was honoured by This Is Your Life a second time in 1983.

“You brute! I've got no tie!”

Screenshots of John Mills This Is Your Life

John Mills autobiography

In his book Still Memories, an Autobiography in Photography, John Mills briefly recalls his experience of being caught for This Is Your Life...

In 1960 I was caught for This Is Your Life and it was brilliantly done.

I had been around filming at Pinewood Studios.

We finished at 6.30 and my driver, Jolly, came into the dressing room and said, ‘I’m terribly sorry. We’re being delayed by at least three-quarters of an hour because of a puncture on the Rolls.’

When we left, finally, I was not in the best of moods. It had been a long day, and I wanted to get home.

At the studio gate we stopped. There was a blaze of light and about five cameras, and then Eamonn Andrews stepped forward and said, ‘John Mills – This Is Your Life.’

programme details...

  • Edition No: 143
  • Subject No: 143
  • Broadcast live: Mon 19 Dec 1960
  • Broadcast time: 7.30-8.00pm
  • Venue: BBC Television Theatre
  • Series: 6
  • Edition: 14

on the guest list...

  • Sir Frederick Wells
  • Zelia Raye
  • Roma Beaumont
  • James Grant Anderson
  • Louise Brown
  • Tyrone Guthrie
  • Mary Hayley Bell – wife
  • Sheila Sim
  • Bruce Fraser, 1st Baron Fraser of North Cape
  • Jonathan Mills - son
  • Hamlet the dog
  • Hayley Mills - daughter
  • Martyn Garret Pipe Major De La Spec
  • 20 Pipers And Drummers Of The London Scottish Pipers
  • Filmed tribute:
  • Juliet Mills - daughter

external links...

production team...

  • Researcher: Nickola Sterne
  • Writer: Nickola Sterne
  • Director: Michael Goodwin
  • Producer: T Leslie Jackson
names listed in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
Series 6 subjects: Leonard Cheshire > George Bennett > David Sheppard > Sybil Thorndike > Clarence Wolfe > Charles Coward > T E B Clarke > Helene Jeanty-Raven > Cyril Smith > Victor de Spiganovicz > Bill Hartley > Ellen Martha Field > Anthony Deane-Drummond > John Mills > Richard Bancroft > Freddie Mills > William Simpson > Alan Herbert > Madame Vacani > Elizabeth Ambridge > Robert Fawcus > Flora Robson > Edward Chad Varah > James Zarb > Maryan Rawicz and Walter Landauer > James Chipperfield > Anthony Kimmins > Thomas Cosmo Jones > Jessie Matthews > Helen Wilson > Charlie Chester > Brunel Cohen > Godfrey Winn > Billy Wright