Claude Rains (Claude Rains)

Claude  Rains

Actor. Born William Claude Rains in London, England, the son of British stage actor Frederick Rains, he made his stage debut at the age of eleven, and learned the technical end of the business working first as a page, then working up to stage manager. He came to the USA in 1913 but returned to England during World War I, serving in the London Scottish Regiment. He was gassed in France resulting in the partial lost of vision in one eye, but rendered such service that he rose from the rank of Private to Captain. After the war he returned to the theater, where he was associated with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, later becoming its teacher. He returned to the USA, working from the mid 1920s for the New York Theatre Guild productions. He took a Universal Studio screen test that proved positive and his long career in motion pictures began – the greatest portion of which was spent with Warner Brothers where he became a busy actor with his smooth distinguished voice portraying a variety of roles, ranging from villains to sympathetic gentlemen. His “breakout” role came as Julius Caesar in “Caesar and Cleopatra,” where he garnered a million dollars for his performance. He was nominated Best Supporting Actor four times for is work in the films “Mr Smith Goes to Washington” 1940, “Casablanca” 1944, “Mr Skeffington” 1945 and “notorious” 1947, but never received the award. He made a successful Broadway return in 1951, appearing in “Darkness at noon” winning a Tony Award as Best Actor (Dramatic). He appeared in over 60 films, most notably in “Build Thy House” his first, a 1920 British film, “The Invisible Man”, “Hearts Divided”, “The Last Outpost”, “Juarez”, “Kings Row” “Phantom of the Opera”, “Lawrence of Arabia”, “The Greatest Story Ever Told” and again “The Invisible Man”, which was a 1966 remake and his final movie role. He also made many notable televison guest appearances in the 1950s and 1960s after his film roles decreased. He fell ill in his later years, and he retired to his residence near Sandwich, New Hampshire. Needing emergency medical attention, he was taken to Lakes Region Hospital where he died of abdominal hemorrhage at age 77. He was buried in nearby Red Hill Cemetery beside his sixth wife who had died three years prior. On his marker is emblazoned the epitaph: “All things once are things forever, Soul, once living, lives forever.” 

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  • November, 10, 1889
  • England


  • May, 30, 1967
  • USA
  • New Hampshire


  • Red Hill Cemetery
  • New Hampshire
  • USA

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