Best photos ( Basil Rathbone )

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Birth information

13 June 1892 Johannesburg, South Africa

Death information

21 July 1967 New York City, New York, USA

Given Name

Philip St. John Basil Rathbone

Nickname

Ratters

How tall is Basil Rathbone?

1.87 m

Who is(are) his/her spouse(s)?

Ouida Bergère
Ethel Marion Foreman

Life Story of Basil Rathbone

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. Their mother, Anna Barbara (George), was a violinist, who was born in Grahamstown, South Africa, of British parents, and their father, Edgar Philip Rathbone, was a mining engineer born in Liverpool. 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.

Significant features of Basil Rathbone

Best known for playing suave villains in period swashbuckler films, such as The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) and Captain Blood (1935).
Best known for his roles in horror films, particularly those made by Universal Studios
Best...

How much money has Basil Rathbone earned?

Captain Blood (1935) $5,000 /week
Son of Frankenstein (1939) $3,500 /week
Hillbillys in a Haunted House (1967) $10,000

Publications and Magazines about Basil Rathbone

Basil Rathbone In and Out of Character: An Autobiography. 1997
Michael B. Druxman Basil Rathbone: His Life and Films. 1975
Basil Rathbone In and Out of Character: An Autobiography. 1956
Michael B. Druxman Rathbone: A One-Person Play. 2013
Michael B. Druxman Basil Rathbone: His Life and His Films. 2011

What movies did Basil Rathbone play or participate?

Actors Filmography
Autopsia de un fantasma (1968) Canuto Pérez, Hillbillys in a Haunted House (1967) Gregor, Soldier in Love (1967) The Duke of York, Summer Fun (1966) Governor, The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966) Reginald Ripper, Queen of Blood (1966) Dr. Farraday, Dr. Rock and Mr. Roll (1965) , Dr. Kildare (1965) Frederick Foray, Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet (1965) Prof. Hartman - Lunar 7, Burke's Law (1965) Milo James, Suspense (1964) , The Comedy of Terrors (1963) Mr. John F. Black, Two Before Zero (1962) Narrator, Tales of Terror (1962) Carmichael,...

Birth information

13 June 1892 Johannesburg, South Africa

Death information

21 July 1967 New York City, New York, USA

Given Name

Philip St. John Basil Rathbone

Nickname

Ratters

How tall is Basil Rathbone?

1.87 m

Who is(are) his/her spouse(s)?

Ouida Bergère
Ethel Marion Foreman

Life Story of Basil Rathbone

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. Their mother, Anna Barbara (George), was a violinist, who was born in Grahamstown, South Africa, of British parents, and their father, Edgar Philip Rathbone, was a mining engineer born in Liverpool. 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.

Significant features of Basil Rathbone

Best known for playing suave villains in period swashbuckler films, such as The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) and Captain Blood (1935).
Best known for his roles in horror films, particularly those made by Universal Studios
Best...

How much money has Basil Rathbone earned?

Captain Blood (1935) $5,000 /week
Son of Frankenstein (1939) $3,500 /week
Hillbillys in a Haunted House (1967) $10,000

Publications and Magazines about Basil Rathbone

Basil Rathbone In and Out of Character: An Autobiography. 1997
Michael B. Druxman Basil Rathbone: His Life and Films. 1975
Basil Rathbone In and Out of Character: An Autobiography. 1956
Michael B. Druxman Rathbone: A One-Person Play. 2013
Michael B. Druxman Basil Rathbone: His Life and His Films. 2011

What movies did Basil Rathbone play or participate?

Actors Filmography
Autopsia de un fantasma (1968) Canuto Pérez, Hillbillys in a Haunted House (1967) Gregor, Soldier in Love (1967) The Duke of York, Summer Fun (1966) Governor, The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966) Reginald Ripper, Queen of Blood (1966) Dr. Farraday, Dr. Rock and Mr. Roll (1965) , Dr. Kildare (1965) Frederick Foray, Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet (1965) Prof. Hartman - Lunar 7, Burke's Law (1965) Milo James, Suspense (1964) , The Comedy of Terrors (1963) Mr. John F. Black, Two Before Zero (1962) Narrator, Tales of Terror (1962) Carmichael,...

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Basil Rathbone, Ruth Chatterton, and Ralph Forbes in The Lady of Scandal (1930)

Had one son with Ethel Marion Foreman: John Rodion.

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Basil Rathbone in Die Abenteuer des Sherlock Holmes (1939)

Had one daughter with Ouida Bergère: Cynthia Rathbone (1939-69).

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Basil Rathbone and Ida Lupino in Die Abenteuer des Sherlock Holmes (1939)

Nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar twice and lost both times to the same actor, Walter Brennan. The pair of them were the first actors to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor twice.

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Basil Rathbone and Ida Lupino in Die Abenteuer des Sherlock Holmes (1939)

Distant cousin of Maj. Henry Rathbone, who was part of President Abraham Lincoln's theater party the night he was assassinated. Maj. Rathbone himself was stabbed by John Wilkes Booth as the latter was escaping, but the wound was not fatal. Rathbone later married Clara Harris, who was also in the Lincoln party, but he killed her in an insane rage in 1875 and spent the rest of his life in an insane asylum. He had suffered from what would now be characterized as a form of PTSD ever since the assassination.

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Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, etc.

Had portrayed the title character on Blue (1939-42) and Mutual (1943-46) Radio's "The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes".

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Basil Rathbone in Die Abenteuer des Sherlock Holmes (1939)

Interred at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, NY.

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Basil Rathbone, Lionel Atwill, Richard Greene, etc.

Cousin of actor/manager Sir Frank R. Benson.

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Basil Rathbone and E.E. Clive in Der Hund von Baskerville (1939)

Won Broadway's 1948 Tony Award as Best Actor (Dramatic) for his performance as Dr. Sloper in the original Broadway production of "The Heiress". The award was shared with Henry Fonda for "Mister Roberts" and Paul Kelly for "Command Decision".

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Basil Rathbone and Richard Greene in Der Hund von Baskerville (1939)

Was so frequently typecast as a villain that he literally jumped at the first few opportunities he ever got to play Sherlock Holmes because "for once, I got to beat the bad guy instead of play him". Indeed, he played the legendary heroic detective more than any other character in his career. However, by 1946 he had become so sick of the role that he quit his Sherlock Holmes film series and temporarily returned to the Broadway stage. Over the course of his career he had played the super sleuth in 16 films and over 200 radio plays.

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Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce in Die Frau in Grün (1945)

Although he has been immortalized as a screen villain, before he played Murdstone in 1935 he had never played a villain and was known, both on film and stage, exclusively as a matinée idol and romantic leading man.

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Basil Rathbone in Juwelenraub (1946)

Fought in the British Army during World War I and was awarded the Military Cross for bravery under fire.

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Basil Rathbone, Hillary Brooke, Nigel Bruce, etc.

His final appearance as Sherlock Holmes was in a play written by his wife Ouida Bergère, appropriately titled "Sherlock Holmes". The production opened on Broadway on October 30, 1953, and lasted only three performances.

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Basil Rathbone, Preston Foster, and John Wood in Der Untergang von Pompeji (1935)

Is generally considered the greatest swordsman in Hollywood history, superior even to on-screen foes Errol Flynn and Tyrone Power. However, because he was so frequently cast as the villain, he won only two on-screen duels in his career--as Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet (1936), for which he earned an Oscar nomination, and as Capt. Esteban Pascuale against the friar (Eugene Pallette), who was so outclassed by "the Capitan" he was harmlessly disarmed in a matter of seconds, in The Mark of Zorro (1940). His last, filmed when the actor was 63, was with Danny Kaye in The Court Jester (1955). It is considered by some the best sword fight ever filmed.

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Basil Rathbone in Der Untergang von Pompeji (1935)

He campaigned in vain for the role of Lord Henry Wotton in the film adaptation of Oscar Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945). He believed that his typecasting as Sherlock Holmes cost him the role and was a contributing factor in his leaving the Universal series.

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Basil Rathbone and Rose Hobart in A Lady Surrenders (1930)

British Army Fencing Champion.

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Basil Rathbone and Kay Francis in A Notorious Affair (1930)

Was the favorite choice of Gone with the Wind (1939) author Margaret Mitchell to play the role of Rhett Butler.

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Basil Rathbone, Billie Dove, and Kay Francis in A Notorious Affair (1930)

He has two roles in common with Tom Baker: (1) Rathbone played Sir Guy of Gisbourne in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) while Baker played him in The Zany Adventures of Robin Hood (1984) and (2) Rathbone played Sherlock Holmes in 14 films from The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939) to Dressed to Kill (1946) and Baker played him in The Hound of the Baskervilles (1982).

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Basil Rathbone and Billie Dove in A Notorious Affair (1930)

Is one of 13 actors who have received an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of a real-life king. The others in chronological order are Charles Laughton for The Private Life of Henry VIII. (1933), Robert Morley for Marie Antoinette (1938), Laurence Olivier for Henry V (1944) and Richard III (1955), José Ferrer for Joan of Arc (1948), Yul Brynner for The King and I (1956), John Gielgud for Becket (1964), Peter O'Toole for Becket (1964) and The Lion in Winter (1968), Robert Shaw for A Man for All Seasons (1966), Richard Burton for Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), Kenneth Branagh for Henry V (1989), Nigel Hawthorne for The Madness of King George (1994), and Colin Firth for The King's Speech (2010).

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Gary Cooper, Basil Rathbone, George Barbier, etc.

When the UK declared war on Germany in 1939, he wrote to the British War Office to enlist. However he received a letter which explained to him that he was too old.

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Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr., Basil Rathbone, Herbert Rudley, etc.

His good friend Jack Miltern, who also loved Rathbone's wife Ouida, lived together with them in a cottage, until Miltern was killed in a hit-and-run accident.

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Constance Bennett and Basil Rathbone in Sin Takes a Holiday (1930)

He openly expressed his dislike for always being identified as Holmes, during his latter years.

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John Carradine, Basil Rathbone, and Joi Lansing in Hillbillys in a Haunted House (1967)

His interpretation of Sherlock Holmes is widely considered one of the best, out of all the actors who have played the role.

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Basil Rathbone in Um eine Fürstenkrone (1932)

He was due to appear in 'Blood Beast Terror' (1968) with Peter Cushing but died before filming started.

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Basil Rathbone in This Mad World (1930)

Was devastated by the sudden passing of his close associate, Nigel Bruce. Till his dying day, Basil Rathbone never fully recovered from his loss.

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Basil Rathbone, Francis X. Bushman, Quinn O'Hara, Deborah Walley, etc.

The actor played every major character from Shakespeare during his long stage career.

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Lew Ayres, Basil Rathbone, and Laraine Day in Schatten am Fenster (1942)

To this day, Basil Rathbone is viewed as the definitive Sherlock Holmes.

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Basil Rathbone and Louise Dresser in This Mad World (1930)

Reacted with annoyance when asked to sign an autograph in the name of Sherlock Holmes.

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Lew Ayres, Basil Rathbone, and Laraine Day in Schatten am Fenster (1942)

Contrary to popular belief, Basil Rathbone played the Baker Street sleuth in a total of 14 movies and not 16.

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Lew Ayres, Basil Rathbone, and Laraine Day in Schatten am Fenster (1942)

His autobiography "In and Out of Character," was written in 1956 but not published until 1961.

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Basil Rathbone and Kay Johnson in This Mad World (1930)

As the actor was leaving for France during the first world war, his parents were on hand to wave him off at the railway station.

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Basil Rathbone and Norma Shearer in The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (1929)

Practiced fencing 4 days a week.

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Lew Ayres, Basil Rathbone, and Laraine Day in Schatten am Fenster (1942)

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Tyrone Power and Basil Rathbone in Im Zeichen des Zorro (1940)

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Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce in Die Frau in Grün (1945)

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