Phil Brown (actor)

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Phil Brown
Philip Mortimer Brown

(1916-04-30)April 30, 1916
DiedFebruary 9, 2006(2006-02-09) (aged 89)
Years active1941–1999
Virginia Brown
(m. 1940)

Philip Mortimer Brown (April 30, 1916 – February 9, 2006) was an American actor.[1]

Early life[edit]

Brown was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1916. He majored in dramatics at Stanford University, where he was a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity.[2]


Brown played some of his first roles on stage when he joined the Group Theatre in New York City.[3] The Group Theatre eventually closed, and many of its members relocated to Hollywood, where Brown helped found the Actors' Laboratory Theatre. He found his first cinema roles here, making his motion picture debut in Mitchell Leisen's 1941 war movie, I Wanted Wings.[4]

In 1946, he played Ernest Hemingway's protagonist Nick Adams in Robert Siodmak's version of The Killers, alongside William Conrad and Charles McGraw as the titular "killers".[5]

In 1948, he played Tom in Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie, at the Haymarket Theatre London, in a production directed by John Gielgud.[6]

His association with the Lab came back to haunt him later in the decade, when its members fell under the scrutiny of the House Un-American Activities Committee.[7] Although he was not a communist, Brown was blacklisted in 1952, and was eventually compelled to relocate with his family to the United Kingdom between 1953 and 1993.[citation needed][8]

Overseas he was able to resume acting on stage, TV and films; he also directed for the stage and TV.[1][9] He was best known for his role as Luke Skywalker's uncle, Owen Lars, in Star Wars (1977).[7][10]

He returned to the United States in the 1990s and in later years made the rounds of autograph shows.[11]


Phil Brown died in his sleep of pneumonia on February 9, 2006, at the age of 89,[12] two months shy of his 90th birthday.[9]


His wife Ginny survives him with their son; two grandchildren and a great-grandchild.[9]



Year Title Role Notes
1941 I Wanted Wings Jimmy Masters
1941 H. M. Pulham, Esq. Joe Bingham
1942 Hello, Annapolis Kansas City
1942 Calling Dr. Gillespie Roy Todwell
1942 Pierre of the Plains Val Denton
1944 Weird Woman David Jennings
1944 The Impatient Years Henry Fairchild
1945 The Jungle Captive Don Young
1945 Over 21 Frank MacDougal
1945 State Fair Harry Ware
1946 Without Reservations Soldier
1946 The Killers Nick Adams Uncredited
1947 Johnny O'Clock Phil, Hotel Clerk
1948 If You Knew Susie Joe Collins
1948 The Luck of the Irish Tom Higginbotham
1948 Moonrise Elmer - Soda Jerk
1949 Obsession Bill Kronin
1949 Give Us This Day Bit part Uncredited
1954 The Green Scarf John Bell
1957 A King in New York Headmaster
1958 The Camp on Blood Island Lt. Peter Bellamy
1959 John Paul Jones Sentry
1962 The Counterfeit Traitor Harold Murray Uncredited
1965 The Bedford Incident Chief Hospitalman Mckinley - Sick Bay
1966 The Boy Cried Murder Tom Durrant
1967 Bomb at 10:10 Professor Pilic
1968 Operation Cross Eagles Sgt. Turley
1969 The Adding Machine Don
1970 Land Raiders Sheriff John Mayfield
1970 Tropic of Cancer Van Norden
1970 Togetherness Everett
1971 Valdez Is Coming Malson
1972 Ooh... You Are Awful American Man
1973 Scalawag Sandy
1975 The Romantic Englishwoman Mr. Wilson
1976 The Pink Panther Strikes Again Virginia Senator
1977 Twilight's Last Gleaming Rev. Cartwright
1977 Star Wars Owen Lars
1978 Silver Bears American Banker
1978 Superman State senator (Missile Control)
1992 Chaplin Projectionist
1999 Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming Council Elder Short, (final film role)


Year Title Role Notes
1980 Oppenheimer Lewis Strauss 2 episodes
1981 Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years Lord Beaverbrook 2 episodes
1988 The Fortunate Pilgrim Supervisor F/O

| 1989 || The Martian Chronicles (miniseries) || Narrator


  1. ^ a b "Phil Brown". BFI. Archived from the original on June 13, 2016.
  2. ^ "Beta Theta Pi on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  3. ^ League, The Broadway. "Phil Brown – Broadway Cast & Staff - IBDB".
  4. ^ Weaver, Tom (2011). "Phil Brown". I Was a Monster Movie Maker: Conversations with 22 SF and Horror Filmmakers. McFarland. pp. 1–15. ISBN 9780786462650. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
  5. ^ "The Killers (1946)". BFI. Archived from the original on October 31, 2017.
  6. ^ "Production of The Glass Menagerie - Theatricalia".
  7. ^ a b "Phil Brown". March 2006. Archived from the original on May 26, 2022.
  8. ^ Thurber, Jon (February 13, 2006). "Phil Brown, 89; Actor Had a Big Hit With a Small 'Star Wars' Part" – via LA Times.
  9. ^ a b c Rowe, Anne (May 7, 2006). "Obituary: Phil Brown". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  10. ^ Newbold, Mark (May 13, 2021). "Joel Edgerton talks Uncle Owen's return in Obi-Wan Kenobi". Fantha Tracks. Retrieved May 31, 2022.
  11. ^ "'Star Wars' uncle Phil Brown dies at 89". Associated Press. February 13, 2006.
  12. ^ Brown, Phil (February 9, 2006). "After a long illness, Phil died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday Feb 9th". The Official Phil Brown Website. Retrieved June 19, 2016. Notice at top of page on official site

External links[edit]