Basil Rathbone Biography

Place of Birth: Johannesburg, South Africa Date of Death 21
Height: 6' 1½" (1.87 m)
Wiki Biography: Basil Rathbone was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1892, but three years later his family was forced to flee the country because his father was accused by the Boers of being a British spy at a time when Dutch-British conflicts were leading to the Boer War. The Rathbones escaped to England, where Basil and his two younger siblings, Beatrice and John, were raised by their mother Anna Barbara, a violinist, and their father Edgar Philip, a mining engineer. From 1906 to 1910 Rathbone attended Repton School, where he was more interested in sports--especially fencing, at which he excelled--than studies, but where he also discovered his interest in the theater. After graduation he planned to pursue acting as a profession, but his father disapproved and suggested that his son try working in business for a year, hoping he would forget about acting. Rathbone accepted his father's suggestion and worked as a clerk for an insurance company--for exactly one year. Then he contacted his cousin Frank Benson, an actor managing a Shakespearean troupe in Stratford-on-Avon. Rathbone was hired as an actor on the condition that he work his way through the ranks, which he did quite rapidly. Starting in bit parts in 1911, he was playing juvenile leads within two years. In 1915 his career was interrupted by the First World War. During his military service, as a second lieutenant in the Liverpool Scottish 2nd Battalion, he worked in intelligence and received the Military Cross for bravery. In 1919, released from military service, he returned to Stratford-on-Avon and continued with Shakespeare but after a year moved onto the London stage. The year after that he made his first appearance on Broadway and his film debut in the silent Innocent (1921). For the remainder of the decade Rathbone alternated between the London and New York stages and occasional appearances in films. In 1929 he co-wrote and starred as the title character in a short-running Broadway play called "Judas". Soon afterwards he abandoned his first love, the theater, for a film career. During the 1920s his roles had evolved from the romantic lead to the suave lady-killer to the sinister villain (usually wielding a sword), and Hollywood put him to good use during the 1930s in numerous costume romps, including Captain Blood (1935), David Copperfield (1935), A Tale of Two Cities (1935), Anna Karenina (1935), The Last Days of Pompeii (1935), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), Tower of London (1939), The Mark of Zorro (1940) and others. Rathbone earned two Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actor as Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet (1936) and as King Louis XI in If I Were King (1938). However, it was in 1939 that Rathbone played his best-known and most popular character, Sherlock Holmes, with Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson, first in The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939) and then in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939), which were followed by 12 more films and numerous radio broadcasts over the next seven years. Feeling that his identification with the character was killing his film career, Rathbone went back to New York and the stage in 1946. The next year he won a Tony Award for his portrayal of Dr. Sloper in the Broadway play "The Heiress," but afterwards found little rewarding stage work. Nevertheless, during the last two decades of his life, Rathbone was a very busy actor, appearing on numerous television shows, primarily drama, variety and game shows; in occasional films, such as Casanova's Big Night (1954), The Court Jester (1956), Tales of Terror (1962) and The Comedy of Terrors (1963); and in his own one-man show, "An Evening with Basil Rathbone", with which he toured the U.S.

Basil RathbonePhotos & Pictures

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TV Title Appeared As Year Genre
Anna Karenina Karenin 1935 Drama
The Adventures of Robin Hood Sir Guy of Gisbourne 1938 Action
Above Suspicion Count Sigurd 'Sig' von Aschenhausen 1943 Drama
Kraft Television Theatre General Zomback 1947 - 1958
The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre 1948 Drama
The Chevrolet Tele Theatre 1948 Drama
Inside U.S.A. with Chevrolet 1949 Music
The Amazing Dunninger 1955 Family
Movies Title Appeared As Year Genre
Anna Karenina Karenin 1935 Biography
The Adventures of Robin Hood Sir Guy of Gisbourne 1935 0
The Last Days of Pompeii Pontius Pilate 1935 Adventure, Drama, History
A Tale of Two Cities Marquis St. Evremonde 1935 Drama, History, Romance
Captain Blood Levasseur 1935 Action, Adventure, Romance
The Garden of Allah 1936 Drama, Romance
The Last of Mrs. Cheyney Lord Arthur Dilling 1937 Biography, 0
Tovarich Commissar Dimitri Gorotchenko 1937 Comedy
The Dawn Patrol 1938 0, 0
The Adventures of Marco Polo 1938 Adventure, Romance
If I Were King King Louis XI 1938 Adventure, History
Son of Frankenstein Baron Wolf von Frankenstein 1939 Sci Fi, Horror, Drama
Tower of London 1939 Drama, History
The Mark of Zorro Captain Estaban Pasquale 1940 0, Biography, Fantasy
Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror Sherlock Holmes 1942 0, Game Show
Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon Sherlock Holmes 1942 0, Comedy, 0
Above Suspicion 1943 0, Game Show
Sherlock Holmes in Washington Sherlock Holmes 1943 Crime, Thriller, Mystery
Sherlock Holmes Faces Death Sherlock Holmes 1943 Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Bathing Beauty 1944
The Scarlet Claw Sherlock Holmes 1944 Crime, Mystery, Thriller
The Pearl of Death Sherlock Holmes 1944 Crime, Drama, Mystery
Sherlock Holmes and the House of Fear Sherlock Holmes 1945
The Woman in Green Sherlock Holmes 1945 Crime, Drama, Horror
Pursuit to Algiers Sherlock Holmes 1945 Adventure, Crime, Mystery
Terror by Night Sherlock Holmes 1946 Mystery, Thriller
Love from a Stranger 1947
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad Narrating the Story of Mr. Toad 1950 Animation, Family, Fantasy
Casanova's Big Night Lucio 1954 0
The Black Sleep 1956 Reality Tv
The Court Jester 1956 Adventure, Comedy, Family
The Last Hurrah 1958
The Magic Sword 1962
Tales of Terror Carmichael (segment "The Case of M. Valdemar") 1962 Game Show, 0
The Comedy of Terrors 1964 Comedy, Horror
Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet Prof. Hartman, Lunar 7 1965 Sci Fi
Queen of Blood 1966
The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini 1966 0, Reality Tv
Hillbillys in a Haunted House 1967
The Great Mouse Detective Sherlock Holmes 1986 0, Drama, 0
The Hound of the Baskervilles Sherlock Holmes 2000 0, Game Show, Comedy