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Claude Rains ACTOR


Born William Claude Rains, on November 10, 1889, he was an English stage and film actor. Rains was the son of British stage actor Fredrick Rains and consequently followed in his father’s footsteps.  He made his stage debut at eleven in the play “Nell of Old Drury”, and continued on to eventually become a stage manager. In 1913, he moved to New York to be a part of the theater, but returned home in order serve in the Scottish regiment during World War 1. After he served, he remained in England to act and his talents were recognized by the founder of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree.  Shortly after, he turned into a leading stage man in London. He decided to try out silent British films and appeared in “Build Thy House” (1920), but was never seen in another one. At the same time, he was also an acting teacher at the Royal Academy.

In 1927, Rains moved back to New York and performed in nearly twenty Broadway numbers. In 1932, Universal Pictures set up a screen test for him. They liked him, and decided to cast him in the horror film “The Invisible Man” (1933), his very first American movie. Rain’s distinctive and raspy British voice, as well as his high pitched laugh, served the picture well, helping him develop into a bone chilling character. Universal, so proud of his acting job, put him in additional horror roles such as “The Clairvoyant” (1934) and “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” (1935). By 1936, he had a contract with Warner Brother Pictures. He displayed his eerie laugh again, along with dramatic bulging eyes, as wicked Don Luis in “Anthony Adverse” (1936).

 Rains did, however, have very versatile talent, and thus he acted in many diverse films. This was seen in his role of Prince John in “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (1938). His skills were also demonstrated through his Academy Award nominated performance as the supporting role of the morally confused senator in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (1939). In the same year, he finally became an American citizen. In 1942, Rains appeared as the firm, yet understanding Dr. Jaquith in “Now, Voyager” alongside Bette Midler and in “Casablanca” as his most notable role of sarcastic and entertaining police captain Louis Renault. This role earned him another Academy Award nomination. Rains landed a lead role of the Phantom in Universal’s remake of “Phantom of the Opera” (1943), again co-starring with Bette Midler. She later remarked that he was her favorite co-star, as she additionally acted with him in “Mr. Skeffington” (1944), a picture that gave him a third Oscar nomination. Rains was next Julius Caesar in the British “Caesar and Cleopatra” (1945), which earned him a million dollars for his role. He became the first actor in history to receive a million dollar salary. He was once more placed in the running for an Oscar for his Nazi husband role in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Notorious” (1946). He astonishingly failed to take home the award, again. In 1949, he starred in David Lean’s “The Passionate Friends” as the husband of a wife who does not love him.

In the 1950’s, Rains ventured into television acting. He became the disturbed, suicidal Paul DeLambre in the memorable “The White Tower” (1950). He also returned to Broadway and nabbed a Tony Award for “Darkness at Noon” (1951). He made himself seen in nearly twenty TV roles, not limited to five appearances in “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” (1955) thrillers into the 1960's. His only singing/dancing television performance was in NBC’s color special “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” (1957). Rain’s later known large budget films were “The Lost World” (1960) as Professor Challenger who claims that dinosaurs still exist, “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962) as a distrustful British diplomat, and “The Greatest Story Ever Told” (1965) as King Herod.

The Greatest Story Ever Told” was Rain’s final role, as he died on May 30, 1967 of an intestinal hemorrhage. He passed in New Hampshire and is remembered in the Red Hill Cemetery. Rains is furthermore remembered in Hollywood, for there is a star there that bears his name and commemorates him for his involvement in the motion pictures. His contributions will forever be celebrated, and his four award nominations will never be brushed aside. While dead, he will not be forgotten.


1965    The Greatest Story Ever Told 

1963    Twilight of Honor

1962    Lawrence of Arabia 

1961    Battle of the Worlds 

1960    The Lost World 

1959    This Earth Is Mine 

1957    The Pied Piper of Hamelin

1956    Lisbon Aristide

1953    The Man Who Watched the Trains Go By 

1951    Sealed Cargo 

1950    Where Danger Lives 

1950    The White Tower

1949    Song of Surrender

1949    Rope of Sand  

1949    The Passionate Friends

1947    Robin Hood 

1947    The Unsuspected

1946    Deception 

1946    Angel on My Shoulder  

1946    Caesar and Cleopatra 

1946    Notorious

1945    Strange Holiday

1945    This Love of Ours

1944    Mr. Skeffington 

1944    Passage to Marseille

1943    Forever and a Day

1943    Phantom of the Opera

1943    Casablanca Captain 

1942    Now, Voyager

1942    Kings Row 

1942    Moontide

1941    The Wolf Man

1941    Four Mothers 

1941    Here Comes Mr. Jordan

1940    Saturday's Children

1940    The Lady with Red Hair

1940    The Sea Hawk

1939    Four Wives 

1939    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

1939    Daughters Courageous 

1939    Juarez  

1939    They Made Me a Criminal 

1939    Sons of Liberty

1938    Four Daughters 

1938    The Adventures of Robin Hood

1938    Gold Is Where You Find It 

1938    White Banners

1937    The Prince and the Pauper

1937    They Won't Forget 

1936    Hearts Divided  

1936    Anthony Adverse

1936    Stolen Holiday

1935    The Mystery of Edwin Drood

1935    The Last Outpost

1934    The Man Who Reclaimed His Head

1934    The Clairvoyant

1934    Crime without Passion 

1933    The Invisible Man

1920    Build Thy House

Matinee Classics - The Pied Piper of Hamelin starring Van Johnson, Claude Rains, Lori Nelson, Jim Backus and Kay Starr
Matinee Classics - Caesar and Cleopatra starring Claude Rains, Vivien Leigh, Stewart Granger, Michael Rennie, Jean Simmons, Flora Robson, Francis L. Sullivan, Basil Sydney, Stanley Holloway and Cecil Parker
Matinee Classics - The Greatest Story Ever Told starring Max von Sydow, Dorothy McGuire, Michael Anderson Jr., Carroll Baker, Ina Balin, Victor Buono, Richard Conte, Telly Savalas, Joanna Dunham, Jose Ferrer, Van Heflin, Charlton Heston, Martin Landau, Roddy McDowall, Angela Lansbury, Pat Boone, Janet Margolin, David McCallum, Joseph Schildkraut, Ed Wynn, Claude Rains, Donald Pleasence, Michael Ansara, Robert Blake, John Considine, Richard Conte, Jamie Farr, David Hedison, Russell Johnson, Rober
Matinee Classics - Mr. Smith Goes to Washington starring Jean Arthur, James Stewart, Claude Rains, Edward Arnold, Guy Kibbee, Thomas Mitchell, Eugene Pallette, Beulah Bondi, H.B. Warner, Harry Carey, Astrid Allwyn, Ruth Donnelly, Grant Mitchell, Porter Hall and Pierre Watkin
Matinee Classics - Notorious starring Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Leopoldine Konstantin, Louis Calhern, Moroni Olsen, Ricardo Costa, Reinhold Schunzel, Ivan Triesault, Eberhard Krumschmidt, Alex Minotis, Wally Brown, Sir Charles Mendl and Fay Baker
Matinee Classics - Notorious starring Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Leopoldine Konstantin, Louis Calhern, Moroni Olsen, Ricardo Costa, Reinhold Schunzel, Ivan Triesault, Eberhard Krumschmidt, Alex Minotis, Wally Brown, Sir Charles Mendl and Fay Baker
Matinee Classics - Phantom of the Opera starring Nelson Eddy, Susanna Foster, Claude Rains, Edgar Barrier, Leo Carrillo, Jane Farrar, J. Edward Brombeg, Fritz Feld, Frank Puglia, Steven Geray, Barbara Everest and Hume Cronyn
Matinee Classics - The Adventures of Robin Hood starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains, Patric Knowles, Eugene Pallette, Alan Hale Sr., Melville Cooper, Ian Hunter, Una O'Connor, Herbert Mundin, Montague Love, Leonard Willey, Robert Noble and Kenneth Hunter
Matinee Classics - The Evil Mind starring Claude Rains, Fay Wray, Mary Clare, Ben Field, Jane Baxter, Athole Stewart and C. Denier Warren
Matinee Classics - The Evil Mind starring Claude Rains, Fay Wray, Mary Clare, Ben Field, Jane Baxter, Athole Stewart and C. Denier Warren

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