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Biography from Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia:
One of the few child stars who was actually more successful as an adult, this genteel, reliable actor loves Hollywood as much as it does him, and has even spun off a second career as a celebrity photographer. He appeared in numerous British films of the late 1930s before coming to Hollywood to play the pivotal role of a Welsh coal miner's youngest son in John Ford's How Green Was My Valley (1941). His endearing and unaffected performance made him an instant star and he went on to appear in such natural "boy" films as My Friend Flicka, Lassie Come Home (both 1943), andThunderhead-Son of Flicka (1945), as well as such "adult" fare as Man Hunt (1941), Son of Fury (1942), The White Cliffs of Dover, Keys of the Kingdom (both 1944), Hangover Square (1945), and the Orson Welles version of Macbeth (1948, as Malcolm).
In 1948, McDowall began coproducing as well as appearing in a series of lowbudget films for Monogram, including Kidnapped (1948), Black Midnight (1949), and Killer Shark (1950). Away from movies most of the next decade, he kept busy on stage and television, and in 1960 won an Emmy for a TV drama called "Not Without Honor," and a Tony for his supporting role in the Broadway play "The Fighting Cock." (He also costarred in the original production of Lerner and Loewe's "Camelot," as Mordred.) McDowall returned to films in such high-profile pictures as The Subterraneans, Midnight Lace (both 1960), The Longest Day (1962), Cleopatra (1963, as Octavius), Shock Treatment (1964), The Greatest Story Ever Told, The Loved One, Inside Daisy Clover, That Darn Cat (all 1965), Lord Love a Duck (1966), and in the starring role of Disney's The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin (1967). Then came what may be his best-known adult roles (though, ironically, unrecognizable in heavy makeup), as a sympathetic simian in Planet of the Apes (1968), as well as three of the four sequels-EB> (1971),EB> (1972), andEB> (1973)-and the subsequent TV series. He also costarred in a superior shocker, The Legend of Hell House (1973).
McDowall won the admiration of a new generation of fans in two 1980s horror movies, playing horror-movie-host-turnedvampire-hunter Peter Vincent in Fright Night (1985 and its 1989 sequel).
In the 1980s he was hired by MGM to look for properties worth remaking, but wound up executive producing a brandnew story instead, the Goldie Hawn vehicle Overboard (1987), in which he took a small role as well. Today McDowall is also busy in made-fors and episodic TV, and is well known as a photographer: He has had four volumes of his celebrity photos published under the title "Double Exposure."