Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Les Deplorables, Hugh Millais's Greatest Hits"

Via Luc Sante, a remarkable life:
Coming from a family of artists Hugh was considered a failure as he could not paint. At 96 his father muttered: “I don’t know what poor Hughie does. He cannot even draw . . . a salary.” But his father did teach him how to shoot. Millais was educated at Ampleforth during the war, and made a deal with his housemaster. If let off games and allowed to keep his two ferrets and 24 snares, he would keep the house provided with meat.
Seems to me it would be quite tiring and periodically rather unsatisfying to lead this kind of a life, but certainly a thing of beauty in the summary...


  1. Thanks so much for linking to that. I'm a big fan of Millais's performance in "McCabe & Mrs. Miller", which is one of my favorite movies ever. I always wondered why he didn't do more acting, and what he was doing with all that time he didn't spend making movies. I never could find out much before now. I think I had it in my mind that he must have died or at least been stricken with some debilitating illness, so it's good to learn otherwise.

    BTW, that obit features a fairly funny blooper of the kind that's endemic to fact-checkers relying on a quick scan of IMDB. Millais's character in "McCabe" is a paid assassin working for a big mining firm; he's an enormous man with a walrus mustache who shows up in town carrying an elephant gun and wearing a coat that looks as if he'd skinned a yeti. His name is Butler. In short, he does not, as the obituary would have it, "play the butler"...

  2. That is one amazing life. You couldn't make it up.