Birthday: 1839

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Ken Wales is an American cinema personality who has produced a couple of TV shows and movies. Ken was born in the town of Salem (Indiana County) in the United States of America in the year 1939. His parents named him as Kenyard Wales Smith. Ken Wales is one of the proteges of the late Walt Disney. After spending five days with Ken, Walt agreed to finance his studies at a cinema school. In 1958, Ken made his acting debut in Torpedo Run. In the same year, he also featured in Flight for two episodes.

After working on a lot of projects, Ken appeared as a commander in the war drama Operation Bottleneck. However, Ken rarely got credits courtesy his minor roles. In 1983, Ken starred in The Prodigal as “Crusade Chairman.” In 1967, Ken turned into a producer. In 1971, Ken opted to finance the cinematic adaptation of Evelyn Anthony’s novel “The Tamarind Seed.” Ken zeroed in on Julie Andrews and Omar Sharif for the lead roles. In fact, it was Julie’s comeback film after taking a break for four years.

This movie is released on 7 November 1974 in the theaters to a positive reception. With a budget of 2 million American dollars, The Tamarind Seed was able to recover it by earning over $13 million at the Box-Office. It also got a Royal Command Performance as well. In 1977, he bought the rights to Ernest Hemingway’s Island in the Stream to make a film on the story. It is about Thomas Hudson who left his home to live a peaceful life in the Bahamas. Ken collaborated with Blake Edwards to make “Revenge of the Pink Panther.”

His production house shot some of the scenes in Hong Kong too. In 2006, Ken produced Amazing Grace which focused on the themes like slave trade and religion in the British Empire. As a matter of fact, Ken joined the likes of Terrence Malick, Patricia Heaton, and David Hunt to finance the historical drama. It featured Benedict Cumberbatch of Sherlock, Ioan Gruffudd, Romola Garai, and Albert Finney. Upon its release, critics and the audience liked the motion picture. Some said that the film is a fitting tribute to the bicentennial celebrations of a law which criminalized the slave trade.

Its release date coincided with that of the passage of the bill two hundred years ago. Amazing Grace won accolades such as Christopher Award, Humanitas Prize, and others. In an interview, Wales told that he wished to make a movie on Wilberforce’s involvement in the revolution. He also admitted that he prayed to God for a decent cast to achieve his dream. In addition to his wish, he also wanted British actors to be in the film too.

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