- Relocated to California as a child during World War II to escape the German bombing of London.
- Played Ariel in a production of Shakespeare's The Tempest at the 1955 Connecticut Shakespeare Festival.
- Owned a large collection of copied movies and film prints before the advent of home video.
- Published five books of photography.
- Served for many years on the executive board of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
- Just before his death, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences named its photo archive after him.
- 1964, Emmy — Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Nominee
- 1961, Emmy — Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role by an Actor or Actress in a Single Program: Winner
- 1960, Tony — Actor, Supporting or Featured (Dramatic): Winner
- 1964, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Nominee
- Winifred McDowall — Mother
- Thomas Andrew McDowall — Father
- Virginia McDowall — Sister