Hollywood star’s son to unveil plaque to famous father in Harrogate
by
Aug 16, 2023
Composite image of Hollywood star Michael Rennie and his family hime in Harrogate, where a plaque to commemorate him will be unveiled on September 9.
Michael Rennie and his home on Otley Road.

A Hollywood star with strong connections to Harrogate is to be commemorated with a plaque next month. 

Michael Rennie was once a household name, and in 1946 became the highest-paid filmstar in Britain.

He acted with such Hollywood greats as Orson Welles, Richard Burton, Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando and Bette Davis. His most famous role was perhaps the lead in the 1951 sci-fi blockbuster The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Rennie was born in 1909 in Idle, near Bradford, and schooled in Cambridgeshire, but his family home was on Otley Road in Harrogate, where he died in 1971. His headstone can be seen at Harlow Hill Cemetery. 

The brown plaque, which has been created by Harrogate Civic Society, will be unveiled at 1 Otley Road – the Rennie family’s former home – by Rennie’s son, David, on Saturday, September 9, at 11am. Well-wishers are welcome.

David Rennie, a high court judge whose godmother was Elizabeth Taylor, told the Stray Ferret: 

“This plaque means a lot to me, because I didn’t know my father as well as I would have liked. I really got to know him – the way he moved, the sound of his voice – by watching his films.

“When I was growing up, it wasn’t unusual to meet people who knew of him and his roles, especially after he played Harry Lime in the TV series of The Third Man, and I always got the feeling that he was very much liked and admired. 

“When he wasn’t in Hollywood, London or Geneva, he came to Yorkshire. I’m confident that although he had this glamorous life, the fact that he always kept on coming back to the family home in Harrogate meant that the connection mattered to him, and I wanted to mark that.” 

Harrogate Civic Society is currently considering creating plaques for two other local figures of note: Charles Taylor, who founded Taylor’s Tea; and Claude Verity, who worked from a studio in Harrogate and is believed to have been the first person to add a soundtrack to film.


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