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Acres, Birt (1854?–1918), film-maker, was born in Richmond, Virginia, USA, most probably on 23 July 1854, to British parents who had emigrated to America as prospective farmers. No record of his early life has been found; we know only that his father's name was ...

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(Wilfred) Robert Adams (c. 1900–1965) by Frank Lilley, 1949 Getty Images – Frank Lilley

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Adams, (Wilfred) Robert (c. 1900–1965), actor, was born in Georgetown, British Guiana, the son of Robert Adams, boat builder. He was educated at St Stephen's Scots School, later St Joseph's Intermediate. In 1920 he won a government scholarship to be trained as a teacher at ...

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Adrian, Max [real name Max Bor] (1903–1973), actor, was born on 1 November 1903 in northern Ireland, the son of Edward Norman Cavendish Bor and his wife, Mabel Lloyd, née Thornton. He was educated at Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, renowned for its teaching of English, whose past pupils included ...

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Aherne, (William) Brian de Lacy (1902–1986), actor, was born on 2 May 1902 at The Pleasaunce, King's Norton, Worcestershire, the son of William Lacy Ahern (1867–1945) (who later amended his name to Willoughby de Lacy Aherne), architect, and his wife, Annie ...

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Allan, Sir Anthony James Allan Havelock-, fourth baronet (1904–2003), film producer, was born on 28 February 1904 at Blackwell Manor, Blackwell, Darlington, co. Durham, the third son of Allan Havelock-Allan (1874–1949), army officer and landowner, and his first wife, Anne Julia, née Chaytor (...

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Sir Anthony James Allan Havelock- Allan, fourth baronet (1904–2003) by Lenare, 1939 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Allen, William Ernest (Chesney) (1894–1982), comedian and singer, was born at 7 Hamballa Road, Battersea, London, on 5 April 1894, the son of Edwin Allen, a prosperous builder, and his wife, Louisa, née Cridland. Allen's first employment on leaving school was as a solicitor's clerk. In 1912, at the age of eighteen, he made his début as an actor in repertory at the ...

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Anderson, Lindsay Gordon (1923–1994), film and theatre director, was born on 17 April 1923 at King Lodge, Bangalore, India, the second of the three sons of Major-General Alexander Vass Anderson (1895–1963) and his first wife, Estelle Bell, née Gasson (1898–1973). Both parents were Scottish, although his mother was born in ...

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Lindsay Gordon Anderson (1923–1994) by Lewis Morley, 1960 © Lewis Morley, courtesy of The Akehurst Bureau; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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See Jackson, Gordon Cameron

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Andrews, Henry Stewart Fleetwood [Harry] (1910–1989), actor, was born on 10 November 1910 at St Mary's, Pembury Road, Tonbridge, Kent, the son of Scottish doctor Henry Arthur Andrews and his wife, Amy Diana Frances Horner. He was educated at Tonbridge School and at ...

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Kenneth Cooper Annakin (1914–2009) by unknown photographer, c.1959 © by kind permission of the Annakin family

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Annakin, Kenneth Cooper [Ken] (1914–2009), film director, was born on 10 August 1914 in Grovehill Road, Beverley, Yorkshire, the only child of Edward Cooper Annakin (1882/3–1941), government surveyor and valuer, and his wife, Jane Hannah, née Gains (1885–1930), daughter of a farmer. He was educated at ...

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Anstey, Edgar Harold Macfarlane (1907–1987), documentary film-maker, was born in Watford, Hertfordshire, on 16 February 1907, the younger child and only son of Percy Edgar Macfarlane Anstey and his wife, Kate Clowes. His father was a chef, distinguished in his occupation. Edgar Anstey...

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Dame Edith Margaret Emily Ashcroft (1907–1991) by Jorge Lewinski, 1968 [with Variation on Peggy by Walter Sickert, 1934–5] © Jorge Lewinski; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Ashcroft, Dame Edith Margaret Emily [Peggy] (1907–1991), actress, was born on 22 December 1907 in Croydon, Surrey, the second of two children of William Worsley Ashcroft (1878–1918), a land agent, and his wife, Violetta Maud, née Bernheim (1874–1926), a keen amateur actress of Danish and German-Jewish descent. Known from childhood as ...

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Askey, Arthur Bowden (1900–1982), actor and entertainer, was born on 6 June 1900 at 29 Moses Street, Liverpool, the elder child and only son of Samuel Askey (d. 1958), secretary of the firm Sugar Products of Liverpool, and his wife, Betsy Bowden (...

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Arthur Bowden Askey (1900–1982) by Anthony Buckley, 1939 © Kenneth Hughes / National Portrait Gallery, London

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Asquith, Anthony (1902–1968), film director and aesthete, was born on 9 November 1902 in London, the youngest son of Herbert Henry Asquith, first earl of Oxford and Asquith (1852–1928), the Liberal statesman and future prime minister, and his second wife, Margaret Emma Alice (Margot) Asquith (1864–1945)...