David Bowie, Actor: A Complete Look at His Film and TV Career
David Bowie had nearly as many on-screen personas as he did musical ones. That added another dimension to a career that can't be defined solely by albums and songs. It was no accident, either. Bowie put no small amount of effort into his film sideline. For instance, in the years between his first few singles and the fame that came with Space Oddity, Bowie studied dance and mime under Lindsay Kemp. "Firstly, I told him that I wanted to see his spirit dancing," Kemp has said. "I really believe that movement is the soul's desire to be free. And therefore had to begin by kind of freeing him from his timidity, his shyness. I mean he was very keen – he had the desire, God knows – but it took a lot of gymnastics, physical work, to make his body more flexible. He certainly had the imagination of the dancer. But I told him, I encouraged him to be more audacious, you know, more experimental – to take risks and so on." One pursuit, it turned out, fed into the other. The things he sought out of dance not only influenced his acting, but also Bowie's sense of presentation in both music and videos. Along the way, he only had a handful of leading roles; most of the time, he was part of the supporting cast or had a cameo. Sometimes he even played himself, putting a twist on his public image. A David Bowie appearance might not have always guaranteed critical acclaim, but – as you'll see in our comprehensive look back – it was usually a sign that the work would be creative and imaginative.