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Quayle, Anthony (1913-1989)


Main image of Quayle, Anthony (1913-1989)

Anthony Quayle was a versatile, round-faced stage actor who became an unexpected film star in the 1950s, appearing in a wide range of roles, excelling at authority figures, with a hint of a weakness in their nature.

After Rugby and RADA, he appeared regularly at the Old Vic from 1932, and, after war service with the Royal Artillery, successfully managed the Shakespeare Theatre Company at Stratford (1948-56).

Although he made his film debut in 1935, and played Marcellus in Olivier's Hamlet (1948), his film career only took off after leaving Stratford, when Associated British starred him in five films, including Woman in a Dressing Gown (d. J. Lee Thompson, 1957), as, untypically, the dull working-class husband, tempted by pretty young work colleague, and Ice Cold in Alex (d. J. Lee Thompson, 1958), as an ambiguous (German spy or hero?) Afrikaner (for which he received a British Academy Award nomination).

From 1960 until the 1980s, he combined theatre with TV and supporting character roles in British and international films such as Lawrence of Arabia (d. David Lean, 1962) and Anne of the Thousand Days (d. Charles Jarrott, 1970), as Cardinal Wolsey (for which he was Oscar-nominated).

He was awarded a CBE in 1952 and knighted in 1985. He married (1934-41) stage actress Hermione Hannen (b.London, 1913), who appeared in one film, and (1947-89, his death) Dorothy Hyson. He was the father of actress Jenny Quayle.

Autobiography: A Time to Speak (1990).

Roger Phillip Mellor, Encyclopedia of British Cinema

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Selected credits

Thumbnail image of Battle of the River Plate, The (1956)Battle of the River Plate, The (1956)

Last of the Powell/Pressburger partnership - a WWII naval drama

Thumbnail image of Great Expectations (1975)Great Expectations (1975)

Michael York stars as Pip in the first colour version of Dickens' classic novel

Thumbnail image of Hamlet (1948)Hamlet (1948)

Laurence Olivier's multi-Oscar-winning Shakespeare adaptation

Thumbnail image of Ice Cold in Alex (1958)Ice Cold in Alex (1958)

Classic war film charting a perilous journey across North Africa

Thumbnail image of Lawrence of Arabia (1962)Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Spectacular David Lean epic about the desert adventurer

Thumbnail image of Oh... Rosalinda!! (1955)Oh... Rosalinda!! (1955)

Powell & Pressburger musical comedy based on 'Die Fledermaus'

Thumbnail image of Saraband for Dead Lovers (1948)Saraband for Dead Lovers (1948)

Ealing's first Technicolor film, an uncharacteristic period melodrama

Thumbnail image of Henry IV Part I (1979)Henry IV Part I (1979)

Anthony Quayle's legendary Falstaff preserved for posterity

Thumbnail image of Henry IV Part II (1979)Henry IV Part II (1979)

Low-key, intimate adaptation of Shakespeare's great history sequel

Thumbnail image of Rose Affair, The (1961)Rose Affair, The (1961)

Witty drama updating the Beauty and the Beast tale

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