- 27 February 1903
- London, England, UK
English-born Reginald Gardiner, graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, became an established revue and musical star on the London stage in the 1930's. His first foray into the film business was in the Alfred Hitchcock-directed The Lodger (1927). However, it was in Hollywood where his career really took off. At the prompting of Beatrice Lillie he departed England for America in 1935. After appearing in two of her shows he delighted Broadway audiences in "An Evening with Beatrice Lillie and Reginald Gardiner", performing a series of clever impersonations of such inanimate items as lighthouses and wallpaper. In 1936, he appeared in his first Hollywood film, Born to Dance (1936) (starring Eleanor Powell and James Stewart), Gardiner playing a traffic cop with symphonic delusions. His instant popularity resulted in further film offers and he soon found himself in constant demand to impersonate butlers and "silly ass" upper-crust English twits. With his suave attire, thin moustache and obtuse mannerisms, he took to playing those caricatures with obvious glee. He enlivened many a film with his comic presence, most notably A Damsel in Distress (1937), The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942) (his character "Beverly Carlton" brilliantly lampooning Noël Coward) and Cluny Brown (1946). In later years, Gardiner became a regular on television as co-star of The Phyllis Diller Show (1966), and, in 1964, he returned to the stage to play Alfred P. Doolittle at the New York City Centre (the role made famous by Stanley Holloway in My Fair Lady) . John Canaday, reviewing for the New York Times, described his character as a "wonderful, boozy, abominable, bug-ridden and altogether reprehensible charmer, a kind of defrocked Boy Scout, whose love for everybody is exceeded only by his propensity for chicanery and self-indulgence". Gardiner was also celebrated for his classic monologue, simply called 'Trains'. It so impressed King George VI that he summoned the actor to Buckingham Palace for a special performance. 'Trains' was recorded by Decca and has since become a collector's item.
|Movie Name||Release Date|
|Απρόσκλητος διάβολος – The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)||January 24, 1942|