• 16 March 1910
  •  Düsseldorf, Germany

Norman Wooland


A classical stage actor who enjoyed modest film stardom in the late 1940s and 1950s, the good-looking, somewhat unassuming British actor Norman Wooland also worked extensively on radio and television in a career that spanned six decades. Born to British parents in Dusseldorf, Germany on March 16, 1910, he was educated in England and started out in local theater during his teen years. He went on to earn strong notice in repertory as a regular performer in Stratford-on-Avon Shakespearean productions. Appearing in "The Merchant of Venice" by the age of 16, he graced a number of pre-WWII plays including "When We Are Married" (1937), "Time and the Conways" (1938) and "What They Say" (1939). He joined the BBC in 1939 and spent six years as a radio commentator. Although he made his film debut in 1937, Wooland did not attract much attention until the post-war era. The dark-haired, slightly drawn-faced actor made strong leading man impressions with Escape (1948), Look Before You Love (1948), All Over the Town (1949) and Madeleine (1950) while thriving onscreen in Shakespeare as well, notably supporting Laurence Olivier. Wooland portrayed Horatio opposite Olivier's Oscar-winning Hamlet (1948) and later played Catesby to Olivier's Richard III (1955). He also played Paris alongside Laurence Harvey and Susan Shentall's Roméo et Juliette (1954), in a lesser known version of the Bard's tragedy. Wooland reunited with his movie Hamlet compatriots Eileen Herlie (Gertrude) and Basil Sydney (Claudius) in the notable historical drama The Angel with the Trumpet (1950) portraying Prince Rudolf. He also appeared with Ms. Herlie in a stage production of "The Second Mrs. Tanqueray the following year. The 1950s was Wooland's most steadfast decade for making films, which included the period costumers Quo Vadis (1951) and Ivanhoe (1952), in which he portrayed Richard the Lionhearted, and a lead role in the crimer The Master Plan (1954). In the ensuing years he moved further down the credits list with The Flesh Is Weak (1957), The Bandit of Zhobe (1959), The Guns of Navarone (1961), _Barabbas (1962)_ and The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964), but was offered the lead (King Saul) in the Spanish/Italian co-production Saül et David (1964). He found more varied work on TV, even sitcoms, in the 60s and 70s, and continued his strong work on the stage with "An Enemy of the People" (1968), "A Man for All Seasons" (1972), "Six Characters in Search of an Author" (1972), "Pride and Prejudice" (1975), "Equus" (1976) and "The Wild Duck" (1979). Wooland died in England in 1989 after having suffered multiple strokes.