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LTC Stephen F.
Thank you, my friend Maj Marty Hogan for making us aware that August 25 is the anniversary of the birth of R.A.F Voluntary Reserve in WWII British film, television and stage actor Michael Rennie (born Eric Alexander Rennie] "perhaps best remembered for his starring role as the space visitor Klaatu in the science fiction film The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)."
In May 1940, Michael Rennie joined the R.A.F Volunteer Reserve."Rennie joined the Royal Air Force in 1941, training as a fighter pilot in the US under the Arnold Plan. While at Napier Field in Dothan, AL, for his advanced flight training he was asked by a fellow trainee, Scotsman Jack Morton, what he did in civilian life. Rennie told Morton and the other pilots gathered around that he was a movie actor. They stared at him in disbelief, then broke out in a chorus of laughter. A couple of nights later Rennie and his classmates went into town to watch a movie, Ships with Wings (1941). Not long into the movie, and much to the surprise of those seated with him, Rennie appeared on the screen as Royal Navy pilot Lt. Maxwell."

Rest in peace Michael Rennie.

Asaph Adonai Stories Michael Rennie
"Scott Ranf of Missoula's Community Media Resource has created a brand new segment show called Asaph Adonai Stories
The stories can be about an Actor, Movie, even a Cartoon.
We don't get into their personal lives, we only focus on contributions, awards, or accomplishments."

1. Michael Rennie WWII RAF Pilot and professional Actor before and after the war
2. 1951 The Day the Earth Stood Still Michael Rennie as Klaatu.
3. Michael Rennie engaged to Mary Gardner Preminge on April 24, 1962
4. Michael Rennie in Caesar and Cleopatra 1945 movie

Background from yorkshirereporter.co.uk/remembering-michael-rennie/
"Michael Rennie was born Eric Alexander Rennie in Idle, Bradford in 1909 to James Alexander Cumming Rennie and Edith Amelia Rennie. Eric Rennie as he was known in those days was educated firstly in Harrogate and later at The Leys School in Cambridge.

After leaving Cambridge, he tried several jobs including car salesman and also working in the Rennie family business of rope makers. Not surprisingly this was not the ideal occupation for him and when he was twenty-six he decided that acting was what he wanted to do. He retained his surname, but dropped the name Eric and became ‘Michael’.
Michael Rennie served his acting apprenticeship touring the country in British repertory theatre. At the age of twenty-eight, he was noticed by one of the British film studios who gave him a screen test, but at that time it didn’t lead to a film career for him.

Later, in the Hitchcock film “Secret Agent” he was just a stand in for Robert Young. Rennie’s part in the film was so small that he can’t be seen in the finished film. Following this, he took on bit parts in films for the next four years between 1936 and 1940. The last of the ten films was ‘Pimpernel Smith’ which wasn’t released until July 1941, two months after Rennie had joined the R.A.F Volunteer Reserve.

There is an amusing story that Rennie related to an interviewer, which was also featured in several film magazines about his service with the U.S. military. He was asked by some American pilots what his job was outside the military. He told them that he was an actor and had been in several films. They scoffed at this and laughed, that is until later that evening they went to the movies in town, deciding to go see the film ‘Ships With Wings’. It was a great surprise to them to see Michael Rennie in a small part there on the screen playing a R.A.F. flying instructor!

At the end of the war Michael Rennie began to be seriously noticed as a possible star after playing second leads in two films starring Margaret Lockwood, ‘I’ll Be Your Sweetheart’ and ‘The Wicked Lady’ which was a huge box office success and more films followed.

Michael Rennie starred in many films, but arguably his most famous roll was as ‘Klaatu’ in the 1951 science fiction classic, ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still.’ This was a story about a visitor from another planet and his robot bodyguard landing in Washington on a mission of peace to try to persuade world leaders that they must live in peace and stop all wars. His chilling warning at the end of the film as he prepares to leave is that if they don’t comply with his request, the earth will be obliterated.

Several more films followed and in 1959 he took on the role of ‘Harry Lime’ in the television series, “The Third Man” based loosely on the much earlier film starring Orson Welles and Joseph Cotton with the haunting ‘Harry Lime’ theme music played throughout on the zither by Anton Karas. The series ran for six years from 1959 to 1965 totalling seventy – seven episodes. In the series, Harry Lime was a much more benevolent character, a kind of international Robin Hood as opposed to the film version’s character who sold drugs on the black market leading to the deaths of children suffering from meningitis. More appearances on television came along in shows such as ‘The Time Tunnel,’ ‘Batman,’ and ‘The Invaders’

Michael Rennie’s personal life saw two failed marriages, firstly to Joan England in 1938, and then to Maggie McGrath, and later a short engagement to the former wife of Otto Preminger the Hollywood film director.

In 1968 Rennie moved from Los Angeles to Switzerland making seven more films in Britain, Spain and Italy and also The Philippines. These were his last films. Ironically, he travelled back to his native Yorkshire to attend the funeral of his brother and sadly, died at his mother’s home in Harrogate on June 10th 1971 after emphysema brought on a heart attack. His ashes were interred in the family grave at Harlow Hill Cemetery in Harrogate.

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Nice piece of history Maj Marty Hogan! Thank you!
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Lt Col Charlie Brown
Interesting British history
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