The British actor Michael Rennie worked as a car salesman and factory manager before he turned to acting. A meeting with a Gaumont-British casting director led to Rennie's first acting job--that of stand-in for Robert Young in Alfred Hitchcock's Secret Agent
(1936) . He put his film career on hold for a few years to get some acting experience on the stage, working in repertory in York and Windsor. Afterwards, he returned to films and achieved star status in I'll Be Your Sweetheart
(1945). In 1951, he went to Hollywood, where he worked as a supporting actor for eight years until his return to England in 1959. At that time, he took the lead role of Harry Lime in the television series The Third Man
(1959). Throughout his career, he made numerous guest appearances on television, particularly on American programs. Arguably his most popular role is Klaatu in The Day The Earth Stood Still
(1951), now considered a science fiction classic.
Rennie lived his final years in Geneva, Switzerland and in a stroke of irony, collapsed and died at his mother's home in England, while visiting, due to his brother's death. He succumbed to emphysema and heart failure on June 10th, 1971.