Skip to main content
BFI logo











Screenonline banner
Sanders, George (1906-1972)


Main image of Sanders, George (1906-1972)

George Sanders' suicide note informed the world that he was leaving it because he was "bored". This seems sadly ironic when one considers how much fun he gave filmgoers of several decades as they watched him being suavely vile to a range of stars - and consequently often getting his comeuppance rather than "the girl".

Hollywood made him a sort of character star, memorably in such films as The Picture of Dorian Gray (US, d. Albert Lewin, 1945), as Lord Henry Wotton, and All About Eve (US, d. Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1950), for which he won an Oscar as a cynical theatre critic.

He started in British films in the mid 1930s, went to Hollywood in 1936, and thereafter returned only intermittently and rarely to best effect, though he was a finely sneering De Bois-Guilbert in Ivanhoe (d. Richard Thorpe, 1952) and, nostalgically, murdered several 1940s leading ladies (Jean Kent, Patricia Roc and Greta Gynt) in Bluebeard's Ten Honeymoons (d. W. Lee Wilder, 1960).

His family fled the Russian Revolution; he was educated in Britain; his brother was Tom Conway; and he married serially, wives including (2) Zsa Zsa Gabor (1949-57) and (4) Benita Hume (1959-67, her death).

Autobiography: Memoirs of a Professional Cad (1960). Biography: An Exhausted Life by Richard Vanderbeets (1991).

Brian McFarlane, Encyclopedia of British Cinema

More information


From the BFI's filmographic database

Related media

Selected credits

Thumbnail image of Man Who Could Work Miracles, The (1937)Man Who Could Work Miracles, The (1937)

H.G. Wells fantasy in which an ordinary man receives unexpected gifts

Thumbnail image of Quiller Memorandum, The (1966)Quiller Memorandum, The (1966)

Berlin-set spy thriller about a neo-Nazi gang, scripted by Harold Pinter

Thumbnail image of Rebel, The (1960)Rebel, The (1960)

Tony Hancock's big-screen debut stars him as a talentless but ambitious artist

Thumbnail image of Village of the Damned (1960)Village of the Damned (1960)

Chilling adaptation of John Wyndham's novel about mysterious alien children

Related collections

Related people and organisations