He played suave, uppercrusty, snooty types and was usually a bad guy. He was perfect in modern dress or classical pieces. (That’s him as a hypocritical clergyman in 1943’s Jane Eyre.)
You’ve probably seen him in dozens of films, and disliked his characters on sight. They could be a nasty pieces of work. Smug, arrogant, sometimes vicious. Now you know the name of the actor behind these sinister creations.
Actually, by many accounts, Henry Daniell was a pretty nice guy offscreen, a consummate professional who came on set, performed as asked and left.
His screen career spanned the end of the silent era (1929’s The Awful Truth) through 1964’s My Fair Lady, a movie he couldn’t finish because before shooting was completed, he dropped dead in Santa Monica, Cal. at the age of 69. Between movie and tv appearances, Daniell racked up nearly 100 credits.
Yes, Daniell was British.
From as early as 1913, he made stage appearances both in the provinces and in London. He interrupted these with service in World War I, and mustered out due to serious injury sustained in combat.
By the early Twenties he found himself on the Broadway stage in all manner or roles. Typically, he was cast as an aristocrat; eg., Lord Ivor Cream in Serena Blandish — a light comedy by S.N.Behrman — described by one critic as an “insufferable moneybags.”
That pattern of roles with many variations dotted Daniell’s Hollywood career from its start. Let’s see if you can identify the films and famous costars surrounding Daniell in his lengthy and productive career. As usual, Quiz questions today and answers tomorrow.
Here we go:
1) Question: Who is Daniell supporting (above) in this 1936 outing in which our man plays a sleazy Baron? (Can you also name the picture?) a) Hedy Lamarr; b) Greer Garson; c) Greta Garbo; or d) Olivia DeHavilland.
2) Question: Who is that chubby chap grilling Daniell, who plays a ruthless blackmailer in this 1944 thriller? a) Edmund Gwen; b) Ralph Richardson; c) Sir Cedric Hardwicke; or d) Charles Laughton.
3) Question: Who is that handsome chap crossing swords with our Henry in this 1940 outing in which Daniell plays a treacherous Lord? a) Roger Moore; b) Erroll Flynn; c) Charles Boyer; or d) Tyrone Power.
4) Question: Who is that fellow giving the cold stare to our distressed Henry in an entertaining 1945 horror outing? a) Bela Lugosi; b) Boris Karloff; c) Claude Rains; or d) Lon Chaney Jr.
5) Question: There’s our man to the right above mediating the antics between two blowhards in this 1940 comedy. You probably recognize the guy in the middle, but which of the following plays the chap on the left? a) Jackie Gleason; b) Jack Oakie; c) Curly Howard; or d) Jack E.Leonard.