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Lean, incisive British actor Alec McCowen studied at the RADA before launching his stage career in 1942. McCowan's theatrical work has been devoted almost exclusively to Shakespeare and the classics; he regards Astrov in Chekhov's Uncle Vanya as his favorite role. In films from 1953, McCowen's most fondly remembered screen assignment was as mild-mannered Inspector Oxford in Hitchcock's Frenzy. The actor's expression of quiet desperation as he samples the horrendous gourmet dishes prepared by his wife was worth the admission price in itself. In the James Bond film Never Say Never Again (1982), McCowen was far more brusque and businesslike as "Q" than Desmond Llewellyn ever was or ever will be. Looking quite at ease in historical costume, Alec McCowen has flourished into the 1990s in lavish period films like Henry V (1989) and The Age of Innocence (1993).

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