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Biographical Data on United Artists Personalities (1935)

publisher United Artists (April 1935)

A collection of biographical notes about United Artists talent for use in other publications.


Nigel Bruce

NIGEL BRUCE ... born San Diego, California, February 4, 1895 ... father Sir Wm. W. Bruce, Bart ... and mother, Lady Bruce, was Miss Selby ... parents touring U. S. when he was born ... Baronetcy given his family by Charles I in 1629... title fell to his brother, Sir Michael Bruce, Bart.

Educated LaGrance Preparatory School and Abingdon Private School in London ... left school for position on Stock Exchange ... was there only few days when War broke out.

Was one of first sent to France ... wounded ... invalided home and spent two years and nine months in hospital ... finally discharged and made Captain in Home Service until Armistice.

Decided on stage career ... first appearance with C. Aubrey Smith and Rosa Lind in a comedy. . .played minor roles ... finally starred in "The Creaking Chair" ... later appeared in "Quality Street," "Fame" and "Escape."

Also had roles with Sir Gerald du Maurier, including "Bulldog Drummond" and "The Dancers."

Made several pictures in England ... came to U. S. in 1927 for brief season ... second visit to this country to play featured role in "Springtime for Henry" ... Went to Hollywood October 1933, where he has scored considerable success.

Was seen as H.R.H. Prince Regent in the London Films production of "The Scarlet Pimpernel," which is released through United Artists.

Bruce prefers comedy roles ... married to Violet Campbell, actress ... has two children, both girls ... Pauline and Jenifer.

Hobby is hunting ... pastimes include cricket, golf and tennis ... smokes pipe but can't stand cigarettes ... enjoys reading biographies ... inclined to be superstitious ... has no pets but likes cats and dogs ... was amateur boxer of note in youth ... always happy when working ... is six feet tall, weighs 206 pounds and has dark hair, sprinkled with gray, and blue-gray eyes.

Robert Donat

ROBERT DONAT ... born Withington, Manchester, England, March 18th, 1905 ... father Ernst Emile Donat, mother Rose Alice ... educated Central School, Manchester.

Studied for stage with James Bernard, Manchester ... made first appearance Birmingham, July 5, 1921 ... followed by several years in stock, repertory theatres and companies touring English provinces.

First London appearance as Cartwright in "Knave and Queen," produced here as "Children of Darkness" ... played principal role in London presentation of "The Sleeping Clergyman."

Selected by Korda for role of Culpepper in "The Private Life of Henry VIII"... seen by Edward Small, of Reliance Pictures, and signed for role of Edmond Dantes in "The Count of Monte Cristo," a United Artists release.

Has appeared on English stage with such well known players as Heather Angel and Diana Wynyard.

Father and mother now living in America, at Bethel, Connecticut.

His favorite recreations are walking, fencing and riding ... favorite foods are the roast beef of old England, American ham and eggs, bean soup and apple pie.

Handsome, rugged six-footer ... weighs 185 pounds ... modest ... soft-spoken ... keen sense of humor... has brown eyes and auburn hair ... rides well and loves to read - anything from a good detective to Tacitus ... Pronounces his name as though it were spelled Doan-at.

To appear in "Robin Hood," and in a role built around the character of Beau Brummel, both of which pictures will be produced by Reliance and released through United Artists.

Charles Laughton

CHARLES LAUGHTON ... born in Scarborough, England ... parents planned to send him to Dartmouth Naval Academy, near Plymouth.

As Laughton grew up he chose career before footlights rather than before the mast ... first job was in a London hotel and was secured by young Laughton to earn money enough to carry on his studies for the stage.

Served in World War... on return he enrolled at Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London ... graduated and secured first stage role in 1926.

First appearance in America was in "Payment Deferred" ... "The Fatal Alibi" followed ... then signed film contract and left New York for Hollywood.

Initial screen role was that of mad submarine commander in "Devil and the Deep."

As result of fine work in this picture, was signed by DeMille for role of Nero in "The Sign of the Cross". Then given leading roles in "Island of Lost Souls" and "If I had A Million."

First picture for United Artists release was "The Private Life of Henry VIII" a London Films production ... satisfying a lifelong ambition to play the character.

Contracted for personal appearances in Shakespearean roles in England during 1934 ... Returned to screen in "The Barretts of Wimpole Street," "Ruggles of Red Gap," and as the detective, Javert, in the 20th Century production of Victor Hugo's "Les Miserables," in which he appears with Frederic March.

"Les Miserables" is also a United Artists release.

C. Aubrey Smith

C. AUBREY SMITH ... born London, England, July 21, 1863 ... educated Charter House School and Cambridge University.

Won fame as cricket player and toured South Africa and Australia with championship teams.

Later turned to stage, making professional debut in 1892 playing in provincial companies ... first London appearance in 1896 in "The Prisoner of Zenda" ... also played "The Wilderness," "The Man of Forty" and "As You Like It," with Sir George Alexander.

It was also in 1896 that Smith played first American engagement with Sir John Hare in "The Notorious Mrs. Ebbsmith."

Second visit to States was in 1904, playing in "Hamlet," "The Light That Failed," "The Morals of Marcus," "The Constant Wife" and "The Bachelor Father."

Smith made screen debut in 1915 starring in "Builder of Bridges" for Frohman Amusement Corporation ... made several English pictures ... then went to Hollywood to repeat his role in "The Bachelor Father."

Since then has played in many of the best known films, such as "Luxury Liner," "Secrets," with Mary Pickford; "Morning Glory" with Katherine Hepburn; "Queen Christina," with Greta Garbo; "House of Rothschild," with George Arliss; "Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back," "Cleopatra," "Madame DuBarry" and "Caravan."

Smith is 6 feet 2 inches tall ... weighs 184 pounds ... has gray hair and blue eyes ... is still devoted to cricket and golf ... is an amateur photographer ... his reading is confined mostly to plays and biographies ... home is in West Drayton, Middlesex, England.

His latest picture is "Clive of India," starring Ronald Colman and Loretta Young and released through United Artists.

Herbert Wilcox

HERBERT WILCOX ... began career as journalist before the War ... served through hostilities as officer in R. F. C.

Entered film business in Leeds, England, in 1919, as a renter.

Took up film production in London ... made series of silent successes including "Wonderful Story," "Chu Chin Chow," "Southern Love," "Madam Pompadour," "The Only Way," "Paddy the Next Best Thing," "Dawn," "The Woman in White," "The Bondman" and "The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel." Is now Director of Productions for British and Dominions.

Has directed several talkies, including "Carnival," "The Blue Danube," "Good Night Vienna," (released in the United States as "Magic Night"), "Little Damozel," and "Bitter Sweet."

Completed a talking version of "Nell Gwyn," with Anna Neagle (who played the feminine lead in "Bitter Sweet") and "The Runaway Queen," also featuring Miss Neagle ... both pictures are released through United Artists.