Date of Birth : Apr 14th 1904
A grandnephew of Ellen Terry, the slightly arch, musical?voiced actor first appeared in New York in 1928 as the Grand Duke Alexander in The Patriot. However, he did not win major American recognition until his 1936 Hamlet. The consensus was that his interpretation was intelligent and exquisitely recited but lacking in a certain passionate power. In 1947 he scored major successes when he starred in his revivals of The Importance of Being Earnest and Love for Love. Later that same year he played Jason to Judith Anderson’s Medea, which he directed, and also appeared as Raskolnikoff in Crime and Punishment. He returned to America for such memorable performances as Thomas Mendip in The Lady’s Not for Burning (1950), his solo performance of Shakespeare called Ages of Man (1958), Benedick in Much Ado about Nothing (1959), Joseph Surface in The School for Scandal (1963), Brother Julian in Tiny Alice (1964), mental patient Harry in Home (1970), and the failed writer Spooner in No Man’s Land (1976). Gielgud directed some of these, as well as the New York productions of Five Finger Exercise (1959), Big Fish, Little Fish (1961), Richard Burton’s Hamlet (1964), Ivanov (1966), Private Lives (1975), and The Constant Wife (1975). Autobiography: An Actor and His Time, 1997.