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Atkins, (Alexander) Robert (1886–1972), actor and theatre director, was born in Dulwich, London, on 10 August 1886, the son of Robert Atkins and his wife, Annie (née Evans). He was educated privately and then studied at the Academy of Dramatic Art from 1905 to 1906. For professional purposes he shortened his name to ...

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Casson, Sir Lewis Thomas (1875–1969), actor and theatre director, was born at 18 Alfred Road, Birkenhead, Cheshire, on 26 October 1875, the third of the seven children of Thomas Casson (1843–1911), bank manager and organ-builder, and his wife, Laura Ann (1843–1912), daughter of ...

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Devine, George Alexander Cassady (1910–1966), actor and theatre director, was born on 20 November 1910 in Hendon, near London, the only child of Giorgios Devine, bank clerk, of Hendon, and his wife, Ruth Eleanor Cassady. He was educated at Clayesmore School, of which the founder and headmaster was his uncle ...

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Gielgud, Sir (Arthur) John (1904–2000), actor and theatre director, was born on 14 April 1904 at 7 Gledhow Gardens, South Kensington, London, the third of the four children and youngest of three sons of Frank Henry Gielgud (1860–1949), stockbroker, and his second wife, ...

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Goring, Marius (1912–1998), actor and director, was born on 23 May 1912 at Newport, Isle of Wight, the second son of Dr Charles Buckman Goring (1870–1919), a criminologist of a Sussex family, and his wife, Katie Winifred, née Macdonald (1874–1964), a pianist, of Scottish descent. His father, an advanced theorist on the nature and causes of criminal behaviour, was a prison doctor at the time of ...

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MacDonald, (Robert) David (1929–2004), translator, director, and playwright, was born on 27 August 1929 in Elgin, Moray. His mother was a doctor and his father an executive in the family tobacco business (MacDonald's of Glasgow, established in 1840). He grew up in rural ...

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Massey, Raymond (1896–1983), actor and director, was born on 30 August 1896 in Toronto, Canada, the son of Chester Massey (d. 1926) and his wife, Anna Vincent Dobbins (1859–1903). His paternal ancestors had emigrated to America in 1630 and had become one of the most prominent families in ...

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Olivier, Laurence Kerr, Baron Olivier (1907–1989), actor and director, was born at 26 Wathen Road, Dorking, Surrey, on 22 May 1907, the younger son and youngest of the three children of the Revd Gerard Kerr Olivier (1869–1939) and his first wife, Agnes Louise, ...

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Pinter, Harold (1930–2008), actor, playwright, and director, was born on 10 October 1930 at Tudor House, Newington Green, London, the only child of Hyman (Jack) Pinter (1902–1997), ladies' tailor, and his wife, Frances, née Moskowitz (1904–1992). At the time of his birth his parents lived at ...

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Poel [Pole], William (1852–1934), actor, director, and author, was born at 3 Storey's Gate, Westminster, London, on 22 July 1852, the third son and fourth child of William Pole (1814–1900), an accomplished engineer and musician, and his wife, Matilda (d. 1900), the daughter of ...

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Quayle, Sir (John) Anthony (1913–1989), actor and theatre director, was born on 7 September 1913 at 2 Delamere Road, Ainsdale, Southport, Lancashire, the only child of Arthur Quayle, solicitor, and his wife, Esther Kate Overton. The Quayle family had Manx roots. During a rather lonely youth ...

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Shaw, Glencairn Alexander [Glen] Byam (1904–1986), actor and stage director, was born on 13 December 1904 at Addison Road, London, the fourth in the family of four sons and one daughter of John Byam Liston Shaw (1872–1919), artist, and his wife, (Caroline) Evelyn Eunice Pyke-Nott (1870–1959)...

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Sim, Alastair George Bell (1900–1976), actor and director, was born on 9 October 1900 at Lothian Road, Edinburgh, the youngest in the family of two sons and two daughters of Alexander Sim, tailor and clothier, and his wife, Isabella McIntyre. He was educated at the ...

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Thompson, Eric Norman (1929–1982), actor and theatre director, was born on 9 November 1929 at 28 Jermyn Street, Sleaford, Lincolnshire, the son of George Henry Thompson, a hotel waiter, and his wife, Annie Amelia, née Jackson. Described by his daughter as 'a country lad' from a working-class background (...

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Wanamaker [formerly Watenmaker], Samuel [Sam] (1919–1993), actor and director, was born Samuel Watenmaker on 14 June 1919 in Chicago, USA, the second son of Morris Watenmaker, later Wanamaker, and his wife, Molly, née Bobele. His parents were first generation Russian-Jewish immigrants. It is quite possible that his stage début as a teenager in a plywood and paper replica of the ...