Wiki Biography: Alexis Kanner was born in Bagneres de Luchon, France. His family, displaced Jewish refugees, emigrated to Montreal, Canada in 1944. After attending McGill University and performing for a season with the Stratford Festival of Canada, Kanner returned to Europe to pursue his acting career.
In 1959, Kanner was invited to join the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. He appeared as Caliban in Sir Barry Jackson's production of The Tempest ("..the repellently real Caliban of Alexis Kanner cannot be bettered", Illustrated News), as well as playing The Husband in Bernard Hepton's production of Rashomon and Ken in The Naked Island. He appeared as Hotspur in Henry IV for Orson Wells at the Dublin Gate Theatre and the lead in Edward Albee's The American Dream at the Royal Court Theatre in 1961, a performance described by Alan Brien of the Sunday Telegraph as "...played by Alexis Kanner like a human steak looking for a plate on which to serve himself; he is the final parody of the all-American paragon".
In 1964 as part of director Peter Brook's Theatre of Cruelty Season at LAMDA, he played the title role in Charles Marowitz's reinterpretation of Hamlet.
Kanner won enormous praise for his one-man performance as Sammy in Ken Hughes' Sammy at London's Arts Theatre. Other notable performances were as Harry Mallory in Saroyan's Across the Board on Tomorrow Morning at the Duke of York, Julie in John Hopkins' Find Your Way Home and, Sa'id for Peter Brook's RSC production of Genet's The Screens.
Kanner became a household name as Detective Matt Stone in the BBC television series Softly Softly in 1966. In 1967 Kanner returned to Montreal to play Ernie Turner in Don Owen's film The Ernie Game, which won two Canadian Film Awards, for Best Director and Best Feature.
In 1967/68 he met Patrick McGoohan, the director and creator of the cult television series The Prisoner. The psychotic mute Kid in Living in Harmony and the rebellious youth NO.48 in Fall Out are memorable appearances in a great series. McGoohan and Kanner became life-long friends
Kanner subsequently acted in the films Crossplot (alongside Roger Moore, 1969), Connecting Rooms (with Bette Davis and Michael Redgrave, 1969) and Goodbye Gemini (with Judy Geeson, 1970). He then returned to Canada to star as a wild man trying to settle down on a farm in Mahoney's Last Stand (with Sam Waterson, 1972), which he produced, co-wrote, co-directed and edited. The original soundtrack was written and performed by Ron Wood and Ronnie Lane.
Kanner was reunited with Patrick McGoohan when both starred in the film Kings and Desperate Men, a thriller about a talk-show host (McGoohan) who is taken hostage in a radio station. Kanner produced, directed, co-wrote, co-shot and edited the picture. The film received critical acclaim in the United States and in England for both McGoohan and Kanner's performances and for Kanner's innovative filmmaking.
Kanner continued - as writer, producer and director - developing projects for the screen. In addition to his own writing, he worked with Abraham Polonsky on Mario and the Magician, Thomas McGuane on the anti-war script Flying Colors and Alan Sharp on Picture Yourself. He became increasingly disinterested in the deal-making part of the filmmaking process and became more interested in just writing. Subsequently, he dedicated all of his time to writing prose.
He came full circle when he felt the need to perform on the stage again. In search of a play that interested him, he became reacquainted with George Buchner's work. He found himself passionate about the character of Woyzeck and, in true Kanner fashion, went back to Buchner's original fragmented manuscripts and started again. At the time of his death, at his home in London, he was in the process of editing his adaptation of Woyzeck.