Sir John Gielgud

Sir John Gielgud Photo


Date of Birth: April 14, 1904

Often mentioned in the same breath as Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir John Gielgud was the Energizer bunny of thespians. His film career spanned almost 80 years, and his stage work is the stuff of legend.

The consummate Shakespearean actor, Gielgud debuted in a production of Henry V at London's historic Old Vic theatre in 1917. He continued to find success with the Bard's work, particularly as Hamlet, which he took to Broadway in the 1930's and ultimately appearing in three screen adaptations (including Kenneth Branagh's epic 1996 version).

Without Olivier's classical good looks, and with a larger-than-life theatricality better suited for the stage than screen, Gielgud's film career paled next to his work on the boards. Despite earning a 1964 Oscar nomination for his performance as King Louis VII in Becket, Gielgud's film roles in the 60's and 70's largely seemed to be Olivier rejects - taken to fund his countless stage projects.

The "bread and butter" job that made Gielgud a "movie star" was the role of Hobson, the snarky, snooty butler of Arthur. Gielgud proved he could deliver the wry line "I'll alert the media" with the same grace as "Alas, poor Yorick", and won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

Film and television proved far less demanding than stage work as Gielgud entered his 80's, and the remarkably durable performer has graced such productions as Prospero's Books, Ghandi, Plenty, and The Shooting Party. 1996 was a particularly prolific year for Gielgud, with memorable appearances in Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet, Shine, The Portrait Of A Lady, and Al Pacino's Looking For Richard.

In May 2000, at Wotton Underwood in Buckinhamshire England, Sir Gielgud passed away of natural causes.


Catastrophe (2000)
The Tichborne Claimant (1998)
Elizabeth (1998)
Quest For Camelot (voice) (1998)
Looking For Richard (1996)
The Portrait of A Lady (1996)
Shine (1996)
Hamlet (1996)
Dragonheart (1996)
The Leopard Son (1996)
First Knight (1995)
The Power Of One (1992)
Shining Through (1992)
Prospero's Books (1991)
Strike It Rich (1990)
Getting It Right (1989)
A TV Dante (1989)
Appointment With Death (1988)
Arthur 2: On The Rocks (1988)
Barbablu Barbablu (1987)
The Whistle Blower (1986)
Ingrid (1985)
Leave All Fair (1985)
Plenty (1985)
Time After Time (1985)
Scandalous (1984)
The Shooting Party (1984)
Invitation To The Wedding (1983)
Wagner (1983)
The Wicked Lady (1983)
Gandhi (1982)
Arthur (1981)
Chariots Of Fire (1981)
Lion Of The Desert (1981)
Priest Of Love (1981)
Sphinx (1981)
Caligula (1980)
The Elephant Man (1980)
The Formula (1980)
The Orchestra Conductor/ Dyrygent (1980)
The Human Factor (1979)
Murder By Decree (1979)
A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man (1979)
Aces High (1977)
Joseph Andrews (1977)
Providence (1977)
11 Harrowhouse (1974)
Gold (1974)
Murder On The Orient Express (1974)
Galileo (1973)
Lost Horizon (1973)
Eagle In A Cage (1971)
Julius Caesar (1970)
Oh! What A Lovely War (1969)
Assignment To Kill (1968)
The Charge Of The Light Brigade (1968)
Sebastian/ Mr. Sebastian (1968)
The Shoes Of The Fisherman (1968)
Revolution D'octobre (1967)
Chimes At Midnight/ Falstaff (1966)
The Loved One (1965)
To Die In Madrid/ Mourir A Madrid (1965)
Becket (1964)
Hamlet (1964)
The Immortal Land (1958)
The Barretts Of Wimpole Street (1957)
Saint Joan (1957)
Around The World In 80 Days (1956)
Richard III (1955)
Romeo And Juliet/ Giulietta E Romeo (1954)
Julius Caesar (1953)
Hamlet (1948)
The Prime Minister (1941)
Secret Agent (1936)
The Good Companions (1933)
Insult (1932)
The Clue Of The New Pin (1929)
Who Is The Man? (1924)