|Basil Rathbone [Sir Philip St. John Basil Rathbone]
Birthplace: Johannesburg, Transvaal, South Africa
Education: Repton College
1937 Lux Radio Theatre
1937 The Cinnamon Bear
1938 On the Way To Yorktown
1938 Warner Brothers Academy Theater
1938 The Adventures Of Robin Hood
1938 Elza Schallert Reviews
1938 Information Please
1939 Gulf Screen Guild Theater
1939 Radio Tribute To the King and Queen
1939 The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes
1941 The Pepsodent Show
1941 The Jell-O Program
1942 Cavalcade Of America
1943 Lady Esther Screen Guild Theater
1944 The Charlie McCarthy Show
1944 The Jack Benny Program
1944 Three Of A Kind (Audition)
1945 Command Performance
1945 The New Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes
1945 Request Performance
1946 Truth Or Consequences
1946 The Danny Kaye Show
1946 Voice Of the Army
1947 Guest Star
1947 Radio Reader's Digest
1947 Theatre Guild On the Air
1947 WOR Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Broadcast
1947 Hollywood's Open House
1947 The Telephone Hour
1948 The Henry Morgan Show
1948 The Tony Awards
1948 The Fred Allen Show
1948 Great Scenes From Great Plays
1949 Tales of Fatima
1949 The Chesterfield Supper Club
1950 MGM Theatre Of the Air
1950 The Bill Stern Colgate Sports Newsreel
1953 High Adventure
1958 Voices From the Hollywood Past
1959 Word Detective
1963 Tales From the Reader's Digest
Skippy Hollywood Theater
To the Rear March
Basil Rathbone Presents
Yarns For Yanks
Sounds Of Freedom
The World's Greatest Mysteries
Early Basil Rathbone publicity shot
Basil Rathbone's first starring role was as Philo Vance in The Bishop Murder Case (1930)
Rathbone examines a clue in The Bishop Murder Case
Rathbone's portrayal of Sir Guy of Gisbourne in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) provided him a major boost to his career.
|From the January 28th 1949 edition of the Oakland Tribune:
By THERESA LOEB
After last Wednesday's matinee of "The Heiress," that peculiar quiet of an empty theater had settled over San Francisco's Geary. All except one of the actors' dressing rooms backstage were temporarily deserted too. In the tenanted, somewhat enlarged cubicle Basil Rathbone, the star performer in "The Heiress," was removing the last vestiges of his makeup, preparing to meet friends for dinner and at the same time talking rapidly in that famous clipped speech that identifies him immediately, about Hollywood, New York, the theater scene, "The Heiress," radio, television, his personal theater plans, other actors and actresses and a host of related subjects. This, mind you, during an interview which necessarily had to be brief.
I reminded Mr. Rathbone that during his stay in San Francisco in 1946 with the ill-fated "obsession," he had been subjected to one of those mass press interviews backstage. All of us had had a good time, as I recall, talking about the American National Theater and the San Francisco Repertory Theater idea of John Jennings. I came back to the Tribune, wrote the interview, only to find that the then alarming newsprint shortage left the theater page with no space to print the story.
Basil Rathbone, whose cold suaveness on screen or stage gives way to directness and friendliness in person, has been playing the doctor-father role in "The Heiress" ever since the play opened in 1947. "Over 600 performances," he said. "And I'm not tired of the part yet--despite almost seven months on the road. We're due back in New York in six weeks, however, and I'll be glad to be home again."
Rathbone sold his Hollywood home in 1946 when he went on the road with "Obsession." The following year he had found "The Heiress." He, along with it, settled down to a nice long Broadway run. Now he has a house on Manhattan's Carnegie Hill. While he has not made a movie since he went back to his first love, the theater, Rathbone intends to do more work on the screen. "I feel that there should be a synthesis of arts-radio-television-stage and screen. Of course, for the stage-trained actor, the theater always is foremost in his mind. Movies are secondary.
We discussed the poor quality of so many Hollywood pictures, the fact that the studios are feeling the public audience resistance as they never felt it before. Rathbone is hopeful that the younger men, the progressive directors like Robert Montgomery, Leo McCarey, John Ford, and Charles Boyer to mention a few, will revitalize the industry and form independent producing companies. "Obviously, they have to do something down there," he added. "The town now is filled with unemployed movie technicians of all kinds, stars and bit players. These people are out of work through no fault of their own, sadly enough."
The shoes, ships, sealing wax conversation ran along at a steady clip for almost a half hour. Just before we parted company, I asked Rathbone about the magnificent 19th Century sitting room that graces the Geary stage for "The Heiress." "It's almost like another room in my residence," he laughed. "We have all spent so much time on stage--the set is the same for the whole play, after all--that we have become used to all the furniture, the ornaments and draperies."
"It's a murderous job to move that room, you know. Originally the set wasn't built for road shows and is a heavy, solid room. Why, those pillars are solid, not hollow, and the staircase (which provides the background for some of the most dramatic moments in the play) feel as solid as any I have trod." It was 5:45, time for Rathbone's dinner date.
From the July 22nd 1967 edition of the Wisconsin State Journal:
Film Star Basil Rathbone
Dies at 75
NEW YORK (UPI) Actor Basil Rathbone, 75, famed for his movie portrayals of the fictional detective "Sherlock Holmes," died of a heart attack Friday.
Rathbone died in his Manhattan apartment shortly after the seizure, according to his daughter, Cynthia Rathbone.
A stage actor since 1911, Rathbone was an accomplished Shakespearean performer for decades before teaming up with the late Nigel Bruce in 1937 in the first of the films based on the "Sherlock Holmes" stories created by A. Conan Doyle.
IN LATER years, he would receive fan mail addressed to ''Sherlock Holmes." He also was the Holmes of radio and combined this with his stage appearances.
Rathbone defected from Hollywood in the late 1940's, declaring:
"Hollywood gets waves of enthusiasm; you're a terrific success, you're a vogue, and then they drop you for somebody else. I played Sherlock Holmes for seven years and nobody thought I could do anything else. They put you in a slot and the slot pays off for a time--and then you're just left in it."
Rathbone later made films in England, many of them of the "horror" variety. His favorite stage role was Romeo in Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet."
The 6-foot-1 actor with penetrating black eyes appeared to many fans to be the incarnation of the imaginary Holmes when he donned the famed two-peaked deerstalker hat and puffed on an underslung pipe.
WITH THE PORTLY Bruce at his side as the well-meaning but bumbling friend of Holmes, Rathbone starred in such classic Sherlock Holmes movies as "The Scarlet Claw" and the "Hound of the Baskervilles."
Rathbone and Bruce made 11 of the Sherlock Holmes movies during an eight-year period, and also portrayed Holmes and Watson for years in a radio serial.
Born June 13, 1892, at Transvaal, South Africa, Rathbone was the first of his family to become an actor. His father, Edgar, was an engineer and his uncle, William, a member of the British Parliament.
He attended Repton College in England, where the family had moved shortly after his birth, and worked for a brief time as an insurance clerk in London before succumbing to his desire for acting.
His training in the theater was thorough for in 1912 he joined the Frank Benson Shakespearean Company, a famed troupe which toured through England, America, and Europe. Rathbone played 42 parts in 22 Shakespearean plays during his two years with the company.
HE DESERTED acting only once from that time--in 1914 when World War I broke out Rathbone joined the British Army. He was discharged three years later as a captain and holder of the military cross.
Rathbone said he won the award for disguising himself as a tree and crossing no-man's land to gather information from the German lines.
Starring roles in hit plays on both Broadway and the London stage followed in quick succession after the war for Rathbone, and his future was assured.
He married playwright-scenarist Ouida Bergere in 1926 and they had an adopted daughter, Barbara Cynthia, born in 1939, and a son, Rodion, born in 1916, by a previous marriage.