(written from a Production point of view)
John Neville (2 May 1925 – 19 November 2011; age 86) was a British actor who appeared as Isaac Newton in the Star Trek: The Next Generation sixth season episode "Descent". He was perhaps best known for playing the title role in Terry Gilliam's surreal comic fantasy The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (for which Stratton Leopold was supervising producer) and for his recurring role as the "Well-Manicured Man" on the FOX network's popular science fiction series, The X-Files. His first appearance on that series was in the episode "The Blessing Way" with Walter Gotell.
Born in London, England, Neville attended the Chiswick County School for Boys and began training as an actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. As a member of London's Old Vic Company, Neville starred in numerous William Shakespeare plays, several of which made it to Broadway. He played the title role King Richard II, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, and the title role of Hamlet, among many others.
Neville's early films were British-made productions, including the 1960 biographical drama Oscar Wilde, the 1962 adventure Billy Budd, and a performance as Sherlock Holmes in the 1965 mystery A Study in Terror (with Georgia Brown). He again portrayed Holmes in the Broadway play Sherlock Holmes in the 1970s, acting alongside fellow TNG guest star Clive Revill. He worked with Revill again in the 2002 drama film Crime and Punishment, which also starred Theodore Bikel, Richard Lynch, and Ron Perlman. He played John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough in the 1969 BBC serial The First Churchills.
In 1972, Neville moved to Canada and focused his talents on theater. In 1978, he co-starred with Canadian actors (and fellow Star Trek performers) Christopher Plummer and William Shatner in the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's TV drama Riel.
He continued working solely in theater throughout the remainder of the 1980s, with the exception of his star turn in Baron Munchausen. He later had supporting roles in such films as The Road to Wellville (co-starring Roy Brocksmith and Colm Meaney), 1994's Little Women (starring Kirsten Dunst and Winona Ryder), High School High (starring Louise Fletcher and co-starring Nicholas Worth), The Fifth Element (with Sonita Henry and Tommy "Tiny" Lister, Jr.), Urban Legend (with Brad Dourif), and the acclaimed 1999 drama Sunshine.
In addition, Neville reprised his TV role of the Well-Manicured Man in the 1998 film The X-Files: Fight the Future, directed by Rob Bowman and co-starring Michael Krawic, George Murdock, Terry O'Quinn, Steve Rankin, and Michael Shamus Wiles. He also co-starred with TOS regular James Doohan in one of the latter's last films, 1999's The Duke. Later credits include David Cronenberg's Spider in 2002 and Norman Jewison's The Statement in 2003.
On television, in addition to his role on The X-Files, Neville starred with Mark Moses and Michael McKean on the short-lived NBC series Grand in 1990. In 1992, he worked alongside F. Murray Abraham, Jeffrey Nordling, Carel Struycken, and Star Trek: Voyager's Tim Russ in a made-for-TV adaptation of Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth. Neville also made guest appearances on such shows as Road to Avonlea, E.N.G., and F/X: The Series (directed by Paul Lynch).
During his time on The X-Files, Neville worked with fellow Star Trek performers Jerry Hardin, George Murdock, Brian Thompson, Fritz Weaver, and Michael Shamus Wiles. Rob Bowman directed Neville in two episodes of the series; Kim Manners directed him in three.
In 1998, Neville had a recurring role on the Canadian drama series Emily of New Moon, on which Stephen McHattie was a regular. For his performance on this series, Neville was nominated for a Gemini Award in the category Best Performance by an Actor in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role. Neville later appeared on programs such as Queer as Folk, Canada's The Eleventh Hour, and the pilot episode for Manny Coto's science fiction series Odyssey 5, starring Peter Weller and directed by David Carson. In 2005, he appeared in an episode of the Canadian soap opera Train 48 as the grandfather of his grandson Joe Dinicol's character Zach Eisler.
Other Trek connections
Additional projects, in addition to those referenced above, in which Neville worked with other Star Trek alumni are as follows:
- Sabotage (1996, with Tony Todd)
- Time to Say Goodbye? (1997, with Richard Kiley)
- Goodbye Lover (1998, with Danny Goldring, Leslie Jordan, Michael Krawic, and Rob LaBelle)
- Dinner at Fred's (1999, with Christopher Lloyd)
- Water Damage (1999, with Leslie Hope and Dean Stockwell)
- Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace (2000, with Robert Joy)
- Between Strangers (2002, with Robert Joy and Malcolm McDowell)
- Hollywood North (2003, with Saul Rubinek)
- Dieppe (1993, with Robert Joy)
- Control Factor (2003, with Tony Todd)
- The Adventures of Smoke Belew (1996, with Michael Sarrazin)