Anthony Quayle (1913 - 1989)



Anthony Quayle’s biography is built and maintained by people like you. Create an online profile of Anthony so that his life is remembered forever. If any factual information is incorrect, please edit Anthony’s biography.

I became friends with him during the Broadway run of SLEUTH. He even borrowed books from me and asked my room mate and I to invite him to dinner! He left Cary Grant in his dressing room to come down and meet her! That photo was taken by my friend Manny Greenhouse. We took him to our house for dinner and brought him back to his hotel during a huge blizzard. He told me to be a writer instead of an actress. I took his advice.
My favorite quote from him was, "I am the most ignored man in the world!" So just imagine his surprise when he was knighted.

Anthony Quayle Biography & Family History

This genealogy profile is dedicated to the life and ancestry of Anthony Quayle and his immediate Quayle family. Add to Anthony Quayle's genealogy page to share your memories & historical research with his family and other genealogy hobbyists.


in United Kingdom


on in United Kingdom

Cause of death

There is no cause of death listed for Anthony.

Burial / Funeral

Do you know the final resting place - gravesite in a cemetery or location of cremation - of Anthony Quayle? Add burial and funeral information.


Last Known Residence

Did Anthony move a lot? Did he emigrate from another country? Add Anthony's last known location.

Average Age

Life Expectancy


Add family members


Did Anthony finish grade school, get a GED, go to high school, get a college degree or masters? What schools or universities did Anthony attend? Add education.


Share what Anthony did for a living or if he had a career or profession. Add Profession.


Add organizations, groups and memberships.

Military Service

Served in WW II.

Middle name

Unknown. Add middle name



Unknown. Add Anthony's ethnicity.


Unknown. Add Anthony's nationality.


Unknown. Was Anthony a religious man? Add Anthony’s religion




1913 - In the year that Anthony Quayle was born, ratified in February the 16th Amendment, establishing a Federal income tax, became law. Previously, customs duties (tariffs) and excise taxes were the primary sources of federal revenue. With the passage of the 16th Amendment, incomes of couples exceeding $4,000, as well as those of single persons earning $3,000 or more, were subject to a 1% Federal tax (that would be about $98,000 and $74,000 now). Rates rose to 7% for incomes over half a million dollars. Less than 1% of the population was subject to income tax.

1925 - When he was only 12 years old, on November 28th, radio station WSM broadcast the Grand Ole Opry for the first time. Originally airing as “The WSM Barn Dance”, the Opry (a local term for "opera") was dedicated to honoring country music and in its history has featured the biggest stars and acts in country music.

1946 - He was 33 years old when on July 4th, the Philippines gained independence from the United States. In 1964, Independence Day in the Philippines was moved from July 4th to June 12th at the insistence of nationalists and historians.

1985 - At the age of 72 years old, Anthony was alive when in May, a paper published in Nature by three British scientists reported that a huge hole was discovered in the ozone layer over the Antarctic. It was much larger than expected and is due to the use of manmade chemicals.

1989 - In the year of Anthony Quayle's passing, on January 20th, George Herbert Walker Bush became the 41st President of the United States. Previously Ronald Regan's Vice President, he ran against Michael Dukakis and won the popular vote by 53.4% to 45.6%.

Anthony Quayle Family Tree

Who was Anthony’s parents? Did he get married and did they have children? Share Anthony’s family tree to share his legacy and genealogy pedigree.

Anthony's Family
Add a parent
Add a parent
Anthony Quayle
Add a partner
Add a child
Add a sibling

You can add or remove people from Anthony's family tree by clicking here.


This obit of Anthony Quayle is updated by the community. Edit this biography to contribute to his obituary. Include details such as cemetery, burial, newspaper obituary and grave or marker inscription if available.

Sir Anthony Quayle, British Actor And Theater Director, Dies at 76

October 21, 1989, Page 001010
The New York Times Archives
Sir Anthony Quayle, a versatile actor and director who helped establish Stratford-on-Avon as a major center of British theater, died of cancer yesterday at his home in London. He was 76 years old.

Sir Anthony, who performed on the stage, on television and in more than 30 films, was an Academy Award nominee in 1970 for his supporting role as Cardinal Wolsey in the historical film ''Anne of the Thousand Days.'' He was knighted in 1985. In a career that lasted more than a half century, Sir Anthony may be best remembered for his film roles in ''The Wrong Man,'' (1957), ''The Guns of Navarone'' (1961) and ''Lawrence of Arabia'' (1963).
On the stage, Sir Anthony was an accomplished Shakespearean actor whose roles ranged widely across the classical repertory. On Broadway he was celebrated for his performances in the title roles of ''Tamburlaine the Great,'' in 1956, and ''Galileo,'' in 1967.
And in 1970, he kept Broadway theatergoers on the edge of their seats as a bloody-minded author of detective stories in Anthony Shaffer's play ''Sleuth.'' Planned Return to Stage
Sir Anthony stepped down in July as director of Compass, a touring company he founded in 1984, and was succeeded by Tim Pigott-Smith. He was to have returned to the London stage this fall in ''Never the Sinner,'' a courtroom drama by a Chicago playwright, John Logan, but bowed out prior to rehearsals because of poor health.
John Anthony Quayle was born on Sept. 7, 1913, in Ainsdale, England. His father, a Lancashire lawyer who loved the theater, made sure that the family went to see all the touring companies as they came through town.
''I was supposed to go into the family drug business,'' Sir Anthony once recalled, ''but I had absolutely no aptitude for chemistry or physics. In school I knew I would only be good at acting or writing.''
At a young age, Sir Anthony once recalled, his ambition awoke to ''that most marvelous thing - how a man could suddenly be someone else.'' Straight Man in Vaudeville
After completing his secondary education at the Rugby School in 1930, Sir Anthony studied briefly at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. His ''first sort of a job,'' as he put it, was as straight man to a vaudeville comic in 1931. ''You had to deliver the goods or get off quick,'' he said.
In his early years, one of his mentors was the director Tyrone Guthrie, who had seen him at the academy and given him an introduction that got him a job.
That introduction, in 1931, was the beginning of a career that would test him in Shakespeare and most of the classical repertory. ''I've often thought that if I'd been an American actor, I'd have gravitated into Western or action films,'' he said. ''In England, you see, I was suitable for other roles - Tanner in 'Man and Superman,' Laertes, Henry V - in fact, an enormously varied lot of parts.''
In September 1932, Sir Anthony joined the Old Vic Company, with which he played a variety of small parts for the next few years. He made his Broadway debut in 1936, as Mr. Harcourt in ''The Country Wife,'' starring Ruth Gordon. 'Wasn't Asked to Be Handsome'
Sir Anthony's feature-film career began in 1938, in ''Pygmalion.'' ''I wasn't asked to be a handsome young man in films because I wasn't a handsome young man,'' he once said.
Throughout his career, he always had to supplement his stage income with work in television and films. ''I was in the Tarzan films and 'Fall of the Roman Empire,' and one dreary thing after another,'' he said.
His other films included ''Hamlet,'' (1948), ''Pursuit of the Graf Spee'' (1957), ''The Man Who Wouldn't Talk'' (1958), ''It Takes a Thief'' (1960), ''MacKenna's Gold'' (1969), ''Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, but Were Afraid to Ask'' (1972), ''Great Expectations'' (1975) and ''Murder by Decree'' (1979).
A burly 6-footer, Sir Anthony was one of the first actors to enlist in the British Army during World War II, serving in the Royal Artillery from 1939 to 1945 and rising to the rank of major. After directing partisan forces in guerrilla operations against the German Army, he became a member of the headquarters staff on Gibraltar. Sir Anthony wrote two novels based on his wartime experiences: ''Eight Hours From England'' (1945) and ''On Such a Night'' (1947). Married Twice
Sir Anthony's first marriage, to Hermione Hannen, ended in divorce. He married the former American actress Dorothy Hyson in 1947, and they had three children.
He made his debut as a director in 1946 with a London production of ''Crime and Punishment'' starring John Gielgud, Peter Ustinov and Edith Evans.
From 1948 to 1956, Sir Anthony also served a highly praised tenure as director of the Shakespeare Memorial Theater at Stratford-on-Avon, later to be known as the Royal Shakespeare Theater.
He performed in or staged more than a score of Stratford productions. In his first season, he appeared as Petruchio in ''The Taming of the Shrew.'' Subsequently he played Falstaff in both parts of ''Henry IV'' in 1951 and in ''The Merry Wives of Windsor'' in 1955.
During those years, he secured the theater's reputation by luring Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, John Gielgud, Margaret Leighton and other stars to Stratford, despite the minimal wages they were given.
Although Sir Anthony said that acting was one of his greatest loves, he also once said that ''if you're an actor, you walk a tightrope between two extremes, between justifiable pride and humility.''
''You have to cultivate a complete carelessness of yourself, in a way,'' he said, ''or else become an egotistical, introspective monster.''
Sir Anthony is survived by his wife, Dorothy, and his children, Rosanna, Jennie and Christopher.

Share a Memory about Anthony Quayle

What do you remember about Anthony Quayle? Share your memories of special moments and stories you have heard about him. Or just leave a comment to show the world that Anthony is remembered.

Anthony Quayle
Born September 7, 1913 in Ainsdale, England, UK
Died October 20, 1989 in Chelsea, London, England, UK (liver cancer)
Birth Name John Anthony Quayle
Nickname Tony
Height 6' 1"
Anthony Quayle was born in Ainsdale in September 1913, the son of a Lancashire lawyer. He completed his education at Rugby School and had a brief spell at RADA, before treading the boards for the first time as the straight man in a music hall comedy act in 1931. Tall, burly, round-faced and possessed of a powerful and resonant voice, he was mentored early on in his career by the well-known stage director Tyrone Guthrie. Letters of introduction led to steady employment with the Old Vic Company by September 1932, and a succession of small roles in classical parts. Quayle's reputation as an actor grew steadily, and, in 1936, he appeared on Broadway opposite Ruth Gordon in 'The Country Wife'. For the next few years, he consolidated his position as a Shakespearean actor. When the Second World War began, he was among the first in his profession to enlist, serving with the Royal Artillery and rising to the rank of major. Some of his wartime experiences, such as co-ordinating operations with Albanian partisans as part of the secret Special Operations Executive, were destined to be paralleled by his fictional post-war screen exploits as incisive army officers or spies. With the war still fresh in his mind, he subsequently published two novels (respectively in 1945, and in 1947), 'Eight Hours from England' and 'On Such a Night'. In 1946, Quayle also made his debut as a theatrical director with a London production of 'Crime and Punishment'. Between 1948 and 1956, he had a distinguished tenure as director of the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, bringing into the company some of the biggest stars of the stage, including Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud. Though acting in films from 1938, the theatre remained his favourite medium. He played diverse roles with great intensity and professionalism, achieving critical acclaim as Petruchio and Falstaff, Tamburlaine and Galileo (on Broadway) and the original role of Andrew Wyke in Anthony Shaffer's play 'Sleuth' (played in the first screen version by Olivier). In motion pictures Quayle tended to portray tough, dependable authority figures. He was good value for money as Commodore Harwood in Pursuit of the Graf Spee (1956), as the enigmatic Afrikaner captain in Ice Cold in Alex (1958) and as the stuffy, by-the-book Colonel Harry Brighton, who nonetheless appears to have a degree of admiration for Lawrence of Arabia (1962). Due to his classical training, Quayle was often used in historical epics, giving one of his best performances as Cardinal Wolsey in Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), earning him an Academy Award nomination. His voice was heard as narrator of The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1970) and on radio in anything from 'The Ballad of Robin Hood' to Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Purloined Letter'.
The year prior to receiving his knighthood, Quayle founded the touring Compass Theatre Company, and served as its director until a few months before his death from cancer in October 1989.
Spouse (2)
Dorothy Hyson (1947 - 20 October 1989) ( his death) ( 3 children)
Hermione Hannen (1934 - 1941) ( divorced)
Father of actress Jenny Quayle
He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1952 Queen's Birthday Honours List and made a Knight Bachelor in the 1985 Queen's New Year Honours List for his services to drama.
He was a British army Major during WW2 and then played one in The Guns of Navarone (1961).
He was nominated for Broadway's 1956 Tony Award as Best Featured or Supporting Actor (Dramatic) for his role in the play, "Tamburlaine the Great.".
He formed his own theatre company, 'Compass' which toured the provinces introducing theatre to new audiences.
He played a supporting role in two unrelated films which featured Sherlock Holmes attempting to solve the Jack the Ripper murders: A Study in Terror (1965) and Murder by Decree (1979). He played Dr. Murray in the former and Sir Charles Warren in the latter. In both films, Frank Finlay played Inspector Lestrade.
He appeared in two Best Picture Academy Award winners: Hamlet (1948) and Lawrence of Arabia (1962). He also appeared in three other Best Picture nominees: Pygmalion (1938), The Guns of Navarone (1961) and Anne of the Thousand Days (1969).
He narrated a number of documentary films including Drums For a Queen (1961), This is Lloyds (1962) and Island Unknown (1969).
He served with writer Anthony 'a clockwork orange' Burgess in the British military during WW2.
Jan 31 · Reply
Write a comment

Other Records of Anthony Quayle


Followers & Sources

Success Stories from Biographies like Anthony Quayle

I have to tell you a VERY special story about how AncientFaces helped to reunite our family. For 13 years, I have been searching for my grandmother's missing sister. She just disappeared from the family in the 1930s without a trace. No one ever knew where or when she died or where she was buried. My years of searching have just run into dead ends, so I had given up. Today, out-of-the-blue, a young lady called me and said that she had seen a photograph on AncientFaces and one of the women in the photo was her grandmother! Little did I know that she had left a small child behind when she died so young of TB. You can imagine our shock and excitement at finding each other and a whole new family that we never knew existed. We only live one state away from each other and very soon plan to have all family members meet to share our sides of "the story" and of course, many, many more picturesl AncientFaces...... without you, this family may never have been complete and Aunt Grace would have been lost to us forever. I hope you realize what a valuable service you provide and how grateful we are to have found you. Thank you!!!! -Lynda B.
I never knew my biological family. My family is my mother and father who raised me. But, as I got older I got curious about my heritage. It took me years of investigation to finally discover my parents’ names. Well, I get goosebumps just writing this, I have found my biological family because of AncientFaces. Yes!! I did a search for my [parents' names] and was shocked to find a photo of them on AncientFaces! I cannot tell you the feeling that came over me when I saw this photo - to see the faces of my biological parents…JUST LIKE THAT. I left a comment on the photo and you won’t believe this - the owner of the photo is MY SISTER!!! Yes, I have a LITTLE sister! It turns out my parents were too young when they had me and had to give me up. My little sister knew I existed and wanted to find me but had no way of doing it. Thanks to you I am meeting my little sister for the first time next month. GOD BLESS YOU ANCIENTFACES. -Anonymous
We have found our missing relative entirely thanks to AncientFaces. We have received a much clearer photo of Captain Grant from his Son. The picture we on AncientFaces is an old yellowed newspaper photo. I am attaching the new photo and ask that you take the old one out and put the new clear picture in its place. With our Canadian Remembrance Day here in 2 days - the timing could not be better. Thank You, AncientFaces. My long lost Aunt is now 86 years old and her Son and I are talking by phone and e-mails. Captain Grant was his Father and died in France in 1944 and is buried there. By posting pictures of the visit to his gravesite - we connected through one of his brothers. Amazing that our prayers have been answered. Thank you -Beth B.
I came home for lunch yesterday and decided to look at my email before going back to work. The weekly newsletter that I subscribe to from the Logan Family History Center had this message in it about AncientFaces. I clicked on the link and the first search I did was for Woodruff, and Mamie was the first picture that came up. I could hardly stand it. I was late getting back to work. I had to add comments and write to you. Thank you for noticing her in the store and for the website. I can't help but wonder how many other family pictures may have ended up in that store and why. I also can't help but feel that it was meant to be and that there is a purpose that this picture is coming home as you say. What are the chances of this all just happening? It's amazing that you even picked it up at the store and then went to all the extra effort to post it. It makes me feel as though you have been my friend forever. It certainly has given me a connection to you, and I have a love for what you do. I just can't tell you how excited I am. I can't even hold it in. -Cathy K., Utah
I have previously submitted several pictures of my grandfather August Zemidat. I have tried for many years to find anyone with that name, and I have searched many genealogy web sites to no avail. Recently I was contacted by someone who saw my pictures on AncientFaces who may well be a cousin. She also provided me with information that seems to indicate her grandparents were my grandfather’s siblings. Considering the many years I have been searching for the name Zemidat, I find this is absolutely amazing that I have finally found a family member. Thank you AncientFaces -Ron D.
I love AncientFaces, a while back I saw that you had labeled Garcia surname pictures. At the time I didn’t have all my family facts for my research. Anyway, I wandered into your site just to check it out AND NOW 1 YEAR LATER I received a picture from an 87 year old aunt and guess what you had this very same picture on your site!! (They were my great aunts and my great-grandmother!). Thank you… -Angela M.
I have loved AncientFaces since I first found it, it's the first thing I check when I turn on the computer. There was a time when even in the most modest households there were three cherished possessions, a family Bible. a family album and a fancy lamp. It was usual for the family to gather in the parlour, generally on Sunday and talk, tell stories of family and friends with the photos in the albums as illustration. Sadly in our modern electronic age we have fallen away from the oral tradition and interest in history has waned. I was quite shocked on the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic to see so many comments from younger people who were surprised to learn that the Titanic wasn't just a movie. This is why AncientFaces is so important, to me it's the electronic age version of the oral tradition on a global scale and the sheer volume of people who follow, comment and contribute seems to prove the point. We are all grateful to you all for providing us with this wonderful site. - Arba M.