Basil Rathbone

Basil Rathbone

British actor
Philip St. John Basil Rathbone MC was an English actor. He rose to prominence in the United Kingdom as a Shakespearean stage actor and went on to appear in more than 70 films, primarily costume dramas, swashbucklers, and, occasionally, horror films.Wikipedia
BornJune 13, 1892
HometownJohannesburg, South Africa
Height6'2" (1.87m)
SpouseOuida Bergère (m 1926 - 1967) , Ethel Marian Foreman
ChildrenJohn Rodion
ParentsAnna Barbara Rathbone , Edgar Philip Rathbone
Profile

Top Stories

How Sherlock Holmes ruined Basil Rathbone’s career

  • The life of Basil Rathbone, the man who for many was the embodiment of Sherlock Holmes, is stranger than anything to have sprung from the imagination of Arthur Conan Doyle. It’s a story of intrigue, drama, tragedy, and romance – and much of it involves his second wife Ouida Bergère. In 1921, Rathbone left his wife, Marion, and young son, Rodion, and travelled to New York where he embarked on a successful Broadway career Bergère was a successful scriptwriter with Paramount, twice-divorced and one of New York’s leading socialites. When they first met in 1923, she was 37 and he was 31 and they soon became lovers. This may seem like some sort of irresistible romance, but the truth is far from elementary. Rathbone’s earlier life might have bordered on the conventional – Repton-educated and steeped in the tradition of the English repertory theatre system – but he had been left traumatised by his experience in the First World War. He served on many brutal missions with the Liverpool Scottish 2nd Battalion and foresaw his younger brother’s John’s death in an horrific nightmare that he awoke from at the exact moment John was killed in action. The subsequent readjustment to civilian life never came, which may explain his decision to cross the Atlantic. Ouida – attractive, successful and strong-willed – must have seen both a fragility and talent which she could mould. Indeed, once Rathbone had persuaded his first wife to divorce him and married Ouida, she effectively started stage managing his career. She extricated herself from a lucrative writing contact with Paramount (something that confounded Samuel Goldwyn) and travelled America with her husband whose acting career was burgeoning. This was a transitional period for cinema – the silent era was drawing to a close and Rathbone with his commanding, cut-glass English vowels was in demand. It says something about Rathbone’s restlessness that Hollywood success did not make him happy. He had begun to miss England and would have returned home for good, had the British film industry in the Twenties not lacked sufficient funds or vision.

Albums

Radio's Greatest Detectives: Sherlock Holmes
Radio's Greatest Detectives: Sherlock Holmes
1992
Festival of Carols [St. Clair]
Festival of Carols [St. Clair]
2006
Best of Sherlock Holmes: 50 Episodes Starring Basil Rathbone & Nigel Bruce [Audio C
Best of Sherlock Holmes: 50 Episodes Starring Basil Rathbone & Nigel Bruce [Audio C
2006
Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
2002

AWARDS

YearAssociationsCategoryWorkResult
1939Academy AwardActor in a Supporting RoleIf I Were KingNominated
1937Academy AwardActor in a Supporting RoleRomeo and Juliet (1936 film)Nominated