) British actor
. Got his first movie
part at the age of ten, but his big break came with his role in the 1941
film How Green Was My Valley
. A talented performer who appeared in some truly brilliant movies, as well as some truly awful ones. Played "The Bookworm" in the 1960s Batman
television series, Dr. Cornelius in Planet of the Apes
, and horror movie host/vampire hunter Peter Vincent in Fright Night
. I've seen his name spelled "McDowell", but am trusting the IMDB
on this one.
So while I was working at Bookstar in Studio City, California in the early 1990s, Roddy McDowall was one of our regular customers. He had just had a coffee table book of his photography published, and often dropped in to see how sales were doing.
Now, at this time Madonna's book Sex had just come out. And also at this time we had a bookseller on staff named Tim, an almost stereotypically dotty English gent who frequently came in to work a little tipsy.
One day he and Roddy McDowall were chatting, and Mr. McDowall asked how his book was doing.
"Oh, it's incredible!" Tim said. "We can't keep it on the shelves!"
"Oh my, yes. We just keep ordering it and ordering it and it just flies out the door."
"Well that's wonderful!" Roddy McDowall said, clearly beside himself with delighted surprise.
"In fact," Tim continued, "we just ordered something like two hundred copies and they're already reserved."
Roddy McDowall frowned. "Er...are we talking about my book?"
Tim blinked. "Oh, no. I'm talking about that awful Madonna book."
"But your book is doing very well too."