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Hyde-White, Wilfrid (1903-1991)


Main image of Hyde-White, Wilfrid (1903-1991)

A supremely unctuous character player, adept at smoothly honed sycophancy - as, for example, the literary chairman of The Third Man (d. Carol Reed, 1949), the headmaster in The Browning Version (d. Anthony Asquith, 1951), and one of the wealthy brothers in The Million Pound Note (d. Ronald Neame, 1953).

With his plummy tones and sleekly coiffed appearance, he usually played upper-class, but there is a smattering of fake smoothies, like crim Soapie Stevens in Two-Way Stretch (d. Robert Day, 1960), or the merely deferential like the jeweller in Bond Street (d. Gordon Parry, 1948). However, it is hopeless trying to limit the highlights in such a career, which spanned fifty years, every type of British film and not a few international ones, most famously as that arch-gent, Colonel Pickering, in My Fair Lady (US, d. George Cukor, 1964).

Marlborough-educated and RADA-trained, he was first on stage in 1922, scoring a major hit as the father of The Reluctant Debutante (1955) and screen since 1936. His son Alex Hyde-White (b.London, 1959) has acted in several films including Biggles (d. John Hough, 1986) and Pretty Woman (US, d. Garry Marshall, 1990).

Brian McFarlane, Encyclopedia of British Film

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Thumbnail image of Browning Version, The (1951)Browning Version, The (1951)

Michael Redgrave excels as an emotionally repressed schoolteacher

Thumbnail image of Carry On Nurse (1958)Carry On Nurse (1958)

The second Carry On, with the team beginning to take shape

Thumbnail image of Elephant Boy (1937)Elephant Boy (1937)

Korda Kipling adaptation that made an instant star of Sabu in the title role

Thumbnail image of My Brother's Keeper (1948)My Brother's Keeper (1948)

Fast-paced thriller with Jack Warner and George Cole as fugitive convicts

Thumbnail image of Outcast of the Islands (1951)Outcast of the Islands (1951)

Underrated Joseph Conrad adaptation directed by Carol Reed

Thumbnail image of Passionate Friends, The (1948)Passionate Friends, The (1948)

David Lean film about a woman who marries for money rather than love

Thumbnail image of Rembrandt (1936)Rembrandt (1936)

Charles Laughton stars in Korda's biopic of the great Dutch painter

Thumbnail image of Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The (1953)Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The (1953)

Technicolor biopic of the masters of the Victorian operetta

Thumbnail image of Third Man, The (1949)Third Man, The (1949)

Masterful thriller set in postwar Vienna - recently voted Britain's greatest film

Thumbnail image of Turned Out Nice Again (1941)Turned Out Nice Again (1941)

George Formby comedy about a ladies' underwear salesman

Thumbnail image of Winslow Boy, The (1948)Winslow Boy, The (1948)

Adaptation of Terence Rattigan's play about a boy accused of theft

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