George Mikell, 'The Great Escape' and 'Escape to Victory' Star, Dead at 91

Actor George Mikell has died at the age of 91. According to his agent, Thomas Bowington, MIkell passed from natural causes after already battling an illness. In a sweet tribute to the Lithuanian-born actor, Bowington described him as "gentle" despite the "grim" and "cold" roles Mikell portrayed on the big screen.

"Unlike the many grim, cold and sometimes outright sadistic parts he was asked to portray on the big and small screen, they could not have been in further contrast to the man himself," he started, according to the Daily Mail. Bowington continued, calling him "gentle George" and sharing that Mikell told him that "he saw the worst of what people can do to each other as a child growing up during World War II." Bowington said that Mikell "became a man who was always kind and welcoming to people" and who was full of "warmth warmth, [a] gentle sense of humor, [and] kind and gentle manners," all of which "really and truly made him the best of gentlemen."

"As an actor, client and friend, he was just like what one would wish the perfect grandfather would be," he continued. "A very sad loss not having George around anymore. But in spite of the loss, thinking about George can only make one smile, because he was such a kind and caring man. Leaving a legacy of great films behind him for future generations to enjoy. And many smiling friends, because we had the privilege and pleasure to know George."

Mikell made his name playing Nazi prison guards in a series of war films like The Great Escape and the 1961 film The Guns of Navarone, in which he starred as the SS captain Sessler. Mikell stepped into the role of another SS officer while starring in The Great Escape where he shot inside the prison that the film was about. He also played a role in Escape To Victory alongside Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone. The film was based on a football player who was a part of the Ukrainian team who was allegedly killed after his team beat a German team during the Soviet Union in 1942. The 91-year-old also played roles in Young Winston, The Sea Wolves and Journey To The Far Side of The Sun.


Mikell was born in Jurgis Mikelaitis in 1929, but later moved to Australia. When he moved, it was then he realized he had a passion for acting. Before he got his start, in order to pay for his schooling, he worked a number of different jobs to create some sort of income.