Basil Rathbone (1892 - 1967)

A photo of Basil Rathbone
Basil Rathbone
1892 - 1967
updated June 13, 2019
Basil Rathbone was born in 1892 in South Africa. He died in 1967 in New York City at 75 years old. We know that Basil Rathbone had been residing in Manhattan County, New York.

Basil Rathbone (1892–1967) Painting by fan, artist Arthur K. Miller.
Basil Rathbone was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1892, but three years later his family was forced to flee the country because his father was accused by the Boers of being a British spy at a time when Dutch-British conflicts were leading to the Boer War. The Rathbones escaped to England, with Basil and his two younger siblings.
Born: June 13, 1892 in Johannesburg, South Africa
Died: July 21, 1967 (age 75) in New York City, New York, USA

1968 Autopsia de un fantasma
Canuto Pérez
1967 Hillbillys in a Haunted House
1967 Soldier in Love (TV Movie)
The Duke of York
1966 Summer Fun (TV Series)
- Pirates of Flounder Bay (1966) ... Governor
1966 The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini
Reginald Ripper
1966 Queen of Blood
Dr. Farraday
1965 Dr. Rock and Mr. Roll
1965 Dr. Kildare (TV Series)
Frederick Foray
- Duet for One Hand (1965) ... Frederick Foray
- Perfect Is Too Hard to Be (1965) ... Frederick Foray
1965 Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet
Prof. Hartman - Lunar 7
1965 Burke's Law (TV Series)
Milo James
- Who Killed Hamlet? (1965) ... Milo James
1964 Suspense (TV Series)
- The Leader (1964)
1963 The Comedy of Terrors
Mr. John F. Black
1962 Two Before Zero
1962 Tales of Terror
Carmichael (segment "The Case of M. Valdemar")
1962 Pontius Pilate
1962 The Magic Sword
1961 Mystic Prophecies and Nostradamus
1961 The Black Cat (Short)
Voices (voice)
1961 Victoria Regina (TV Movie)
Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli (Lord Beaconsfield)
1960 The Christophers (TV Series)
- Tips for the Homemaker (1960)
1956-1960 The Red Skelton Hour (TV Series)
Hugh Rubicoff / Sir Robert
- Super-Cauliflower (1960) ... Hugh Rubicoff
- The Sculpture Show (1956) ... Sir Robert
1959 Fredric March Presents Tales from Dickens (TV Series)
Ebenezer Scrooge
- A Christmas Carol (1959) ... Ebenezer Scrooge
1958 The Last Hurrah
Norman Cass, Sr.
1958 The DuPont Show of the Month (TV Series)
- Cole Porter's 'Aladdin' (1958) ... Emperor
1958 Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates (TV Movie)
Dr. Boekman
1956-1957 Kraft Theatre (TV Series)
General Zomback
- Heroes Walk on Sand (1957) ... General Zomback
- Five Minutes to Live (1956)
1957 The United States Steel Hour (TV Series)
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1957) ... Duke
1957 The Lark (TV Movie)
Chief Inquisitor
1956 The Alcoa Hour (TV Series)
Ebenezer Scrooge
- The Stingiest Man in Town (1956) ... Ebenezer Scrooge
1954-1956 Shower of Stars (TV Series)
Marley's Ghost
- A Christmas Carol III (1956) ... Marley's Ghost
- A Christmas Carol (1954) ... Marley's Ghost
1956 The Black Sleep
Sir Joel Cadman
1956 Screen Directors Playhouse (TV Series)
Paul Charters
- Affair in Sumatra (1956) ... Paul Charters
1955 The Court Jester
Sir Ravenhurst
1955 Star Tonight (TV Series)
- The Selfish Giant (1955) ... Narrator
1955 Science Fiction Theatre (TV Series)
Dr. Victor Berenson
- The Stones Began to Move (1955) ... Dr. Victor Berenson
1955 Svengali and the Blonde (TV Movie)
1955 We're No Angels
Andre Trochard
1955 The Eddie Cantor Comedy Theater (TV Series)
- Always the Butler (1955) ... Robert
1955 Encounter (TV Series)
Captain Edward Fairfax Vere
- Billy Budd (1955) ... Captain Edward Fairfax Vere
1954 Schlitz Playhouse (TV Series)
The Jewel Thief
- Volturio Investigates (1954) ... The Jewel Thief
1954 Studio One in Hollywood (TV Series)
Hazelton Crome
- The House of Gair (1954) ... Hazelton Crome
1954 Love Story (TV Series)
- The Yo-Yo People (1954)
1954 Casanova's Big Night
Lucio / Narrator
1954 The Philip Morris Playhouse (TV Series)
- The Man They'd Murdered (1954)
1953 The Motorola Television Hour (TV Series)
- The Thirteen Clocks (1953) ... Duke
1953 Danger (TV Series)
- The Educated Heart (1953)
1951-1953 Suspense (TV Series)
Sherlock Holmes / Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde
- The Adventure of the Black Baronet (1953) ... Sherlock Holmes
- Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1951) ... Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde
1953 Broadway Television Theatre (TV Series)
Benvenuto Cellini / Chief Inspector Tanner
- The Firebrand (1953) ... Benvenuto Cellini
- Criminal at Large (1953) ... Chief Inspector Tanner
1951-1953 Lux Video Theatre (TV Series)
Ambrose Wallington / Sir Paul Maxim / Frampton
- Miss Marlowe at Play (1953) ... Ambrose Wallington
- Masquerade (1952) ... Sir Paul Maxim
- Purple and Fine Linen (1951) ... Frampton
1951 Betty Crocker Star Matinee (TV Series)
- An Inspector Calls (1951)
1951 Lights Out (TV Series)
- Dead Man's Coat (1951) ... Gregory
1951 The Colgate Comedy Hour (TV Series)
Count Durand
- Would-Be Gentleman (1951) ... Count Durand
1950 Nash Airflyte Theatre (TV Series)
- The Kind Mr. Smith (1950)
1949-1950 The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre (TV Series)
- Queen of Spades (1950)
- At Night All Cats Are Grey (1949)
1949 The Ford Theatre Hour (TV Series)
Mr. Brink
- On Borrowed Time (1949) ... Mr. Brink
1949 The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
Narrating the Story of Mr. Toad / Policeman (voice)
1949 The Wind in the Willows (Short)
Narrator (voice)
1946 Dressed to Kill
Sherlock Holmes
1946 Heartbeat
Professor Aristide
1946 Terror by Night
Sherlock Holmes
1945 Pursuit to Algiers
Sherlock Holmes
1945 The Woman in Green
1945 The House of Fear
Sherlock Holmes
1944 Frenchman's Creek
Lord Rockingham
1944 The Pearl of Death
Sherlock Holmes
1944 Bathing Beauty
George Adams
1944 The Scarlet Claw
Sherlock Holmes
1943 The Spider Woman
Sherlock Holmes
1943 Crazy House
Sherlock Holmes
1943 Sherlock Holmes Faces Death
Sherlock Holmes
1943 Above Suspicion
Sig von Aschenhausen
1943 Sherlock Holmes in Washington
Sherlock Holmes
1942 Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon
Sherlock Holmes
1942 Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror
Sherlock Holmes
1942 Crossroads
Henri Sarrou
1942 Fingers at the Window
Dr. H. Santelle
1941 Paris Calling
Andre Benoit
1941 International Lady
Reggie Oliver
1941 The Black Cat
Montague Hartley
1941 The Mad Doctor
Dr. George Sebastian / Dr. Frederick Langamann
1940 The Mark of Zorro
Capt. Esteban Pasquale
1940 Rhythm on the River
Oliver Courtney
1939 Tower of London
Richard - Duke of Gloucester
1939 Rio
Paul Reynard
1939 The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes
1939 The Sun Never Sets
Clive Randolph
1939 The Hound of the Baskervilles
Sherlock Holmes
1939 Son of Frankenstein
Baron Wolf von Frankenstein
1938 The Dawn Patrol
Major Brand
1938 If I Were King
King Louis XI
1938 The Adventures of Robin Hood
Sir Guy of Gisbourne
1938 The Adventures of Marco Polo
1937 Tovarich
Commissar Dimitri Gorotchenko
1937 Make a Wish
Johnny Selden
1937 Confession
Michael Michailow
1937 A Night of Terror
Gerald Lovell
1936 The Garden of Allah
Count Ferdinand Anteoni
1936 Romeo and Juliet
Tybalt - Nephew to Lady Capulet
1936 Private Number
1935 Captain Blood
1935 A Tale of Two Cities
Marquis St. Evrémonde
1935 Kind Lady
Henry Abbott
1935 A Feather in Her Hat
Captain Randolph Courtney
1935 The Last Days of Pompeii
Pontius Pilate
1935 Anna Karenina
Alexei Alexandrovitch Karenin
1935 David Copperfield
Mr. Murdstone
1933 Loyalties
Ferdinand de Levis
1933 One Precious Year
Derek Nagel
1932 After the Ball
Jack Harrowby
1932 A Woman Commands
Capt. Alex Pastitsch
1930 Sin Takes a Holiday
Reggie Durant
1930 A Lady Surrenders
Carl Vandry
1930 The Lady of Scandal
1930 The Flirting Widow
Colonel Smith
1930 A Notorious Affair
Paul Gherardi
1930 This Mad World Philip St. John Basil Rathbone was his birth name and probably how Basil P. Rathbone may have ended up on his death certificate or passport.

Basil Rathbone Biography

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Most Commonly Known Name

Basil Rathbone

First name


Middle name


Last Name(s)

Nickname(s) or aliases

Philip St. John Rathbone (Basil)




Basil Rathbone was born in in South Africa


Basil Rathbone died in in New York City

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Last Known Residence

Manhattan County, New York


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Basil Rathbone Family Tree

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Basil Rathbone Obituary

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Actor Basil Rathbone, whose roles ranged from Shakespeare to Sherlock Holmes, died of a heart attack Friday in New York. He was 75.
Mr. Rathbone's career spanned 56 years, two continents and all theatrical mediums, but his greatest fame came from his motion picture portrayals of the fictional British detective, Holmes.
He made 16 Sherlock Holmes films between 1939 and 1946, and is widely remembered as the tall, dignified sleuth who wore a deerstalker cap, puffed a curved pipe and solved mysteries with a casual:
"Elementary, my dear Watson."
Mr. Rathbone reportedly refused lucrative offers to re-create the Holmes role after the 1953 death of his friend and co-star Nigel Bruce, who he considered the "only man who could play Dr. Watson."
It was a feeling that he was overly identified with the Holmes' role that drove Mr. Rathbone from Hollywood in the late 1940s.
'Lost Our Identity'
"I was so badly typed," he once said, "that when I went back to New York I lost my own identity. On the street no one ever said 'Good morning, Basil,' or 'Good morning, Mr. Rathbone.'
"They said 'Good morning, Sherlock.'"
Mr. Rathbone settled in New York, where he performed on Broadway in "The Heiress," "The Winslow Boy" and other productions.
He also played radio and television roles, wrote a book of reminiscences and toured in a one-man show.
He appeared in the Beverly Hills High School Auditorium in March and was acclaimed for his performance, a combination of anecdotes, poetry and readings from Shakespeare.
Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone in "The Adventures of Robin Hood."
Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone in "The Adventures of Robin Hood." (Warner Bros.)
Mr. Rathbone's death Friday came shortly after he suffered a heart attack in his New York apartment, according to his daughter, Cynthia.
Funeral services were tentatively scheduled for Tuesday in St. James Episcopal Church in Manhattan.
Mr. Rathbone was born Philip St. John Basil Rathbone on June 13, 1892, in Johannesburg, South Africa, the son of a British engineer. His mother was a descendant of King Henry IV.
Educated in England, Mr. Rathbone joined a cousin's theatrical company in 1911.
Mr. Rathbone's early acting career was largely in Shakespearean productions, some at the Stratford-on-Avon Festival. He also toured the United States in Shakespearean roles.
In 1925, the suave British actor made his first film – a silent, "The Masked Bride," at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Among his other films were "David Copperfield," "Anna Karenina," "Romeo and Juliet" and "A Tale of Two Cities."
Mr. Rathbone had a son, Rodion, by his marriage to Marion Foreman, which ended in divorce. In 1926, he married Ouida Bergere, a scenario writer, who survives. They were the parents of Cynthia.

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1892 - 1967 World Events

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In 1892, in the year that Basil Rathbone was born, on January 1st, Ellis Island opened to process immigrants. 700 passed through on the first day - in the first year, 450,000 were processed. The processing center was originally a 3 story wooden building - with outbuildings - that burned down a few years later.

In 1914, by the time he was 22 years old, in August, the Panama Canal opened to traffic. Begun by the French in the 1880's and abandoned, the United States undertook further construction in 1904. After 10 years, and the elimination of malaria carrying mosquitoes (which caused immense delays for the French and the Americans), the 48 mile long artificial waterway - a series of locks - created a shortcut for ships traveling between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

In 1942, Basil was 50 years old when from January 7th through April 9th, the Battle of Bataan was fought in the Philippines. At the end of the battle, the U.S. and Filipino forces surrendered and a three-year occupation of the Philippines by Japan began. Between 60,000 and 80,000 American and Filipino soldiers surrendered and were marched around 60 to 69 miles - most were beaten, abused, or killed. Named the Bataan Death March, it was later declared to be a war crime.

In 1957, when he was 65 years old, on September 24th, the "Little Rock Nine" (nine African-American students) entered Little Rock High School. Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus had previously prevented the students from entering the school at the beginning of the term with the Arkansas National Guard - they blocked the door. President Eisenhower ordered federal troops - the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army - to guard the students and allow them entry.

In 1967, in the year of Basil Rathbone's passing, on October 2nd, Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the first black US Supreme Court justice. Marshall was the great-grandson of a slave and graduated first in his class at Howard University Law School. His nomination to the Supreme Court was approved by the Senate, 69 to 11.

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