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Miles, Sarah (1941-)


Main image of Miles, Sarah (1941-)

RADA-trained and outrageous, Sarah Miles erupted into British films as the sexy student who, in Term of Trial (d. Peter Glenville, 1962), brings scandal to teacher Laurence Olivier, her real-life hero and off-and-on lover for many years towards the end of his life.

She was equally provocative in The Servant (d. Joseph Losey, 1963), luring her then-boyfriend, James Fox, to the decadence his supine nature craves; is fetching in the conventional heroine role in Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines (d. Ken Annakin, 1965); retrieved her sensual 'New Wave' image in Antonioni's Blow Up (1966); was Oscar-nominated for the elephantine Ryan's Daughter (d. David Lean, 1970), battling wind, sea and script; and went to America and got mixed up in the reporting of the suicide of David Whiting during the filming of The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing (US, d. Richard C.Sarafian, 1973).

Her career drive seems to have declined after this, but after a few more unremarkable films she suddenly appeared, newly authoritative, in two character roles: the lascivious Alice in White Mischief (d. Michael Radford, 1987) and the WW2 mum in Hope and Glory (d. John Boorman, 1987).

She seems now to prefer writing, has published three volumes of autobiography, and has intermittently returned to the stage, playing a vivid Mary Queen of Scots in Vivat! Vivat! Regina! (1971), by Robert Bolt, whom she married twice (1967-76 and 1987 till his death, 1995) and who directed her in Lady Caroline Lamb (UK/Italy/US, 1972). She is the sister of Christopher Miles.

Autobiographies: A Right Royal Bastard, 1993;
Serves Me Right, 1996;
Bolt from the Blue, 1996.

Brian McFarlane, Encyclopedia of British Film

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Michael York stars as Pip in the first colour version of Dickens' classic novel

Thumbnail image of Servant, The (1963)Servant, The (1963)

James Fox and Dirk Bogarde's savage attack on the British class system

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Thumbnail image of Bolt, Robert (1924-1995)Bolt, Robert (1924-1995)

Writer, Director