Sarah Miles
Date of Birth
Dec 31, 1941
Birth Place:
Ingatestone, Essex, England

Biography

The daughter of a British merchant, Sarah Miles enrolled at RADA at the age of 15. Before her formal stage debut at the Old Vic, Miles made her film bow opposite Laurence Olivier in Term of Trial (1962). A marked contrast to the "English Rose" heroines once in vogue, she brought a smouldering sensuality to her roles in Joseph Losey's The Servant (1963) and The Ceremony (1964) and Antonioni's Blow Up (1966). So well established was Miles as a "sex symbol" (though she'd be the first to put down that demeaning term) by 1965 that she was able to spoof her screen image in Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, playing an outwardly proper lass who gets a subtly erotic thrill out of flying in rickety vintage airplanes -- and who frequently finds herself being accidentally undressed in public. In 1969, Miles was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of the title role in Ryan's Daughter. She then was forced to endure a decade of tabloid-press scrutiny, beginning with her wholly unsubstantiated "involvement" with the suicide of a man named David Whiting on the set of The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing (1973), and culminating with the publicity engendered by her steamy sex scenes with Kris Kristofferson in The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea (1976). Though she often dismissed adverse press by noting "I have been mocked and ridiculed all my life," Miles would frequently retire from filmmaking for up to three years at a time. She was, however, always available for stage work: her more significant theatrical credits include the roles of Marina Oswald in The Silence of Lee Harvey Oswald, Mary Queen of Scots in Vivat Vivat Regina, and her 1978 one-woman musical S. Miles is Me. Still active in character roles in the 1980s, Miles has recently been seen in the surprisingly sedate role of a wartime London matriarch in Hope and Glory (1987), and more characteristically as an insatiably lusty aristocrat in White Mischief. She was married to playwright Robert Bolt from 1967 to 1976, then remarried him eleven years later. In 1993, Sarah Miles published her autobiography, A Right Royal Bastard. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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