• 16 November 1877
  •  Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, England, UK

Halliwell Hobbes


Born at Shakespeare's birthplace, Stratford-on-Avon, Halliwell Hobbes could perhaps not aspire to anything else but to be an actor. He made his stage debut in 1898 playing Shakespearean repertory with the famous acting company of Sir Frank Benson throughout England. Among others he played opposite Mrs. Patrick Campbell and Ellen Terry. Hobbes came to the American and Broadway as early as 1906, doing performing and some directing until early 1929 when he came to Hollywood as an elderly actor to launch a long career of memorable character roles. In those first years he seemed to be either a lord or a butler. But by 1931 he was much in demand, lending his distinctive and dignified nasal voice to nearly ten films per year through most of the 1930s. Moving from one studio to another, he was doctors, diplomats, more lords, and some very memorable clerics-especially the staid archbishop reduced to laughter in The Prince and the Pauper (1937). The roles were scarcer through the 1940s, but he was back on Broadway by mid 1940 playing Capulet in "Romeo and Juliet." Still that distinctive voice graced over 100 films by 1949. He turned to the richly diverse American TV playhouse format by 1950 and continued with roles through the decade along with a continued presence on Broadway until late 1955. Although he was sometimes uncredited in films, his roles were no less a recorded legacy of a dedicated acting talent.