• 16 April 1871
  •  Granada, British West Indies

Henry Stephenson


Stephenson was a firm, dignified, worldly presence in Hollywood's classic history-based films of the 30s and 40s. The tall British character actor Henry Stephenson could be both imposing and benevolent in his patrician portrayals, usually expounding words of wisdom or offering gentlemanly aid. He was born Henry S. Garroway in Granada, British West Indies on April 16, 1871 and studied at Rugby in England. His reputation was built solidly on the stage both in America and in England, making his Broadway debut around the turn of the century with "A Message from Mars" in 1901. While he did make a few silent pictures (from 1917), film audiences began taking a notice only in later years. After transferring a successful Broadway role to film with Cynara (1932), Stephenson settled in Hollywood where he distinguished himself in a variety of pictures for RKO, MGM and Warner Bros., among others. He appeared quite frequently in royal support for Warners' top star of the time, Errol Flynn, including Captain Blood (1935) as Lord Willoughby, The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936) as Sir Charles Macefield, The Prince and the Pauper (1937) as the Duke of Norfolk, and The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939) as Lord Burghley. His last film was the sentimental yarn Challenge to Lassie (1949). Long married to character actress Ann Shoemaker, Stephenson died on April 24, 1956 in San Francisco, California at age 85, and was survived by his widow and daughter.