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.

MOVIES & TV SHOWS

Pontius Pilate
Pontius Pilate
1h 40min
1967
The Pirates of Flounder Bay
The Pirates of Flounder Bay
1966
Queen of Blood
Queen of Blood
1h 18min
1966
Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet
Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet
1h 14min
1965
Tales of Terror
Tales of Terror
1h 29min
1962
The Magic Sword
The Magic Sword
1h 20min
1962
The Black Sleep
The Black Sleep
1h 22min
1975
The Court Jester
The Court Jester
1h 41min
1956
Svengali and the Blonde
Svengali and the Blonde
1955
Love Story
Love Story
1954
Casanova's Big Night
Casanova's Big Night
1h 26min
1954
Dressed to Kill
Dressed to Kill
1h 16min
1946
Terror by Night
Terror by Night
1h
1946
Pursuit to Algiers
Pursuit to Algiers
1h 5min
1945
The Woman in Green
The Woman in Green
1h 8min
1945
The House of Fear
The House of Fear
1h 9min
1945
Frenchman's Creek
Frenchman's Creek
1h 50min
1944
The Pearl of Death
The Pearl of Death
1h 9min
1944
Bathing Beauty
Bathing Beauty
1h 41min
1944
The Scarlet Claw
The Scarlet Claw
1h 14min
1944

Albums

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
Radio's Greatest Detectives: Sherlock Holmes
Radio's Greatest Detectives: Sherlock Holmes
1992

AWARDS

YearAssociationsCategoryWorkResult
1939Academy AwardActor in a Supporting RoleIf I Were KingNominated
1937Academy AwardActor in a Supporting RoleRomeo and JulietNominated