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John Gielgud

Knowledge Identifier: +John_Gielgud

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John Gielgud

English actor, director, and produceradd

Category: Movies & TV

Born in 1904.

Countries: United Kingdom (57%), United States (19%), Ireland (5%)

Education: undef.

Main connections: Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, Hamlet

Linked to: The School for Scandal, Oxford University Dramatic Society, Royal Shakespeare Company, Westminster School

 

Timeline


 

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John Gielgud was born in 1904 add something


1913

Ellen Terry - Terry's daughter Edith Craig became a theatre director, producer, costume designer and early pioneer of the women's suffrage movement in England; her son, Edward Gordon Craig, became an actor, scenery and effects designer, illustrator and director and founded the Gordon Craig School for the Art of the Theatre in Florence , Italy, in 1913; and her grandnephew was the actor John Gielgud


1924

Although he began to appear in British films as early as 1924, making his debut in Who Is the Man? and appearing in the Edgar Wallace-based thriller The Clue of the New Pin, he did not make an international impact in the medium until the last decades of his life. add something

 

Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies - In 1924, she played Juliet opposite John Gielgud as Romeo, and Gielgud was grateful to her for the rest of his life for the kindness she showed him, casting her as Queen Anne in "Richard of Bordeaux" in 1934


1928

Gielgud's brother Val Gielgud became the head of BBC Radio Production in 1928, and John made his radio debut there the following year in a version of Pirandello's The Man With the Flower in His Mouth, which he was performing at the Old Vic Theatre. add something


1929

Harcourt Williams - In 1929 Lilian Baylis appointed the 49 year old actor as the new director of the Old Vic and he was responsible for asking John Gielgud to join as a leading actor in the new company he was forming


1930

Geoffrey Toone - At the time of his death, Toone was one of the last survivors of the Old Vic theatre company of the 1930s, having appeared alongside the likes of John Gielgud and Laurence Olivier in productions of Shakespeare

 

Laurence Olivier - His stage breakthrough was in Noel Coward's Private Lives in 1930, followed by Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in 1935, alternating the roles of Romeo and Mercutio with John Gielgud.


1931

George Devine - It was at Oxford that his interest in theatre, which had begun at school, came to fruition, and in 1931 he became the President of the prestigious Oxford University Dramatic Society, or OUDS. In early 1932, he invited the young actor John Gielgud to direct a production of Romeo and Juliet, and, as the OUDS did not admit women, Peggy Ashcroft and Edith Evans were invited to play Juliet and the Nurse


1932

Gielgud was almost as highly regarded for his work as a theatre director as for his acting, having staged his first production as a guest director of the Oxford University Dramatic Society production of Romeo and Juliet in 1932. add something

 

Frederick Ranalow - In 1932, John Gielgud suggested his name to C. B. Cochran for the part of Autolycus in Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale"


1933

But Gielgud was best known for directing productions in which he starred, including his greatest commercial success Richard of Bordeaux, his definitive production of The Importance of Being Earnest, Medea with Judith Anderson's Tony Award-winning performance of the title role with Gielgud supporting her as Jason, The Lady's Not for Burning that won Richard Burton his first notoriety as an actor, and Ivanov. add something

 

Angus McBean - He worked as a maker of theatrical props, including a commission of medieval scenery for John Gielgud's 1933 production of "Richard of Bordeaux"


1934

Peggy Ashcroft - Stardom came in 1934 when she played Juliet in a legendary production of "Romeo and Juliet", at the New Theatre, in which Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud alternated in the roles of Romeo and Mercutio


1935

But many believed that his greatest successes were in Shakespearean productions in which he both directed and starred, especially Romeo and Juliet, Richard II, King Lear, Much Ado About Nothing and his signature role of Hamlet. add something


1936

Clintic was so certain that the production would fail in the United States that Gielgud gave up the idea. add something

 

Clintic's production in which Lillian Gish played Ophelia in 1936. add something

 

Judith Anderson - In 1936, Anderson played Gertrude to John Gielgud's Hamlet in a production which featured Lillian Gish as Ophelia


1937

However much Gielgud may have wished to stay in America, his return to London in 1937 had an enormous influence on the development of English Theatre. add something

 

Guthrie McClintic - He directed "Hamlet" featuring John Gielgud in New York in 1937

 

Alec Guinness - In 1937 he played Aumerle in "Richard II" and Lorenzo in "The Merchant of Venice" under the direction of John Gielgud

 

Jane Baxter - She had further success in London in 1937 with "George and Margaret" which ran for two years and in 1947 she co-starred on Broadway with John Gielgud and Margaret Rutherford in "The Importance of Being Earnest", in which she played Cicely Cardew

 

Michael Redgrave - Other roles that year included Christopher Drew in Daisy Fisher's comedy "A Ship Comes Home" at the St Martin's Theatre in May and Larry Starr in Philip Leaver's comedy "Three Set Out" at the Embassy in June, before joining John Gielgud's Company at the Queen's Theatre, September 1937 to April 1938, where he played Bolingbroke in "Richard II", Charles Surface in "The School for Scandal" and Baron Tusenbach in "Three Sisters"


1939

There followed a 1939 production that Gielgud again directed at the Lyceum Theatre, historic for having been the professional home for Henry Irving's company. add something

 

Dadie Rylands - Rylands' 1939 Shakespeare anthology "Ages of Man" was the basis of John Gielgud's one-man show of the same title


1940

Roy Henderson (baritone) - In March 1940, he was involved in the Glyndebourne Company revival of "The Beggar's Opera", directed by John Gielgud, at the Haymarket Theatre in London


1941

Stephen Murray (actor) - He was Gladstone to John Gielgud's Disraeli in "The Prime Minister" in 1941

 

Ernest Thesiger - Thesiger played the First Witch in a 1941 production of "Macbeth" directed by John Gielgud


1942

Michael Ayrton - He was a stage and costume designer, working with John Minton on the 1942 John Gielgud production of Macbeth from age 19; and a book designer and illustrator, for Wyndham Lewis's "The Human Age" trilogy and William Golding

 

Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies - She played Lady Macbeth for almost an entire year in 1942 opposite John Gielgud's Macbeth

 

John Minton (artist) - While still in the army, Minton, with Ayrton, designed the costumes and scenery for John Gielgud's 1942 production of "Macbeth"


1944

Gielgud's Hamlet was later taken to Elsinore Castle in Denmark, there was a 1944 production directed by George Rylands, and finally a 1945 production that toured the Far East under Gielgud's own direction. add something


1947

Claire Bloom - Her London stage debut was in 1947 in the hit Christopher Fry play "The Lady's Not For Burning", which featured the young Richard Burton, starred John Gielgud and Pamela Brown and which, subsequently, was produced, with the aforementioned four, on Broadway in New York

 

Alexander Scourby - On December 22, 1947, he opened with John Gielgud in Rodney Ackland's dramatization of "Crime and Punishment" at the National Theatre in New York, playing Razournikhim, friend to Gielgud's Raskolnikoff


1948

It became rumoured that Gielgud provided the voice for the uncredited role of the Ghost of Hamlet's Father in Laurence Olivier's 1948 film version, but the voice was actually that of Olivier, electronically distorted. add something


1949

Mariano Andreu - He was invited to London by John Gielgud to design the sets and costumes for Shakespeare's "Much Ado about Nothing", in 1949


1950

Gielgud's crowning achievement, many believe, was Ages of Man, his one-man recital of Shakespearean excerpts which he performed throughout the 1950s and 1960s, winning a Tony Award for the Broadway production, a Grammy Award for his recording of the piece, and an Emmy Award for producer David Susskind for the 1966 telecast on CBS. Gielgud made his final Shakespearean appearance on stage in 1977 in the title role of John Schlesinger's production of Julius Caesar at the Royal National Theatre. add something

 

Jill Bennett (British actress) - Bennett made many appearances in British films during the 1950s and 1960s, notably "The Nanny" , "Inadmissible Evidence" , "The Charge of the Light Brigade" , Calpurnia to John Gielgud's Caesar in a 1970 version of "Julius Caesar" and as Margaret Stevenson in "I Want What I Want "

 

George Devine - Byam Shaw had moved to Stratford-on-Avon to run the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, and Devine directed several successful Shakespeare productions there in the early 1950s, including a notorious version of King Lear , which starred John Gielgud and was designed by the experimental Japanese American artist and sculptor Isamu Noguchi

 

Robert Gillespie - He trained as an actor at RADA in the 1950s and upon leaving RADA worked with notable stage actors including Richard Burton and John Gielgud


1951

Robert MacBryde - These included sets for Gielgud's "Macbeth", "King Lear" at Stratford and Massine's Scottish ballet "Donald of the Burthens", produced by the Sadler's Wells Ballet at Covent Garden in 1951

 

Robert Colquhoun - These included sets for Gielgud's "Macbeth", "King Lear" at Stratford and Massine's Scottish ballet "Donald of the Burthens", produced by the Sadler's Wells Ballet at Covent Garden in 1951


1952

Ralph Richardson - In 1952 he appeared at the Stratford-upon-Avon Festival at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre but had mixed reviews: his Prospero in 'The Tempest was judged too prosaic, and his Macbeth, directed by Gielgud, was thought unconvincingly villainous ("Richardson's playing of Macbeth suggests a fatal disparity between his temperament and the part").


1953

He was knighted in the 1953 coronation honours, became a Companion of Honour in 1977, and was admitted to the Order of Merit in 1996. add something

 

In 1953, he was convicted of "persistently importuning for immoral purposes" in a Chelsea mews, having been arrested for trying to pick up a man in a public lavatory. add something

 

The 'Gielgud case' of 1953, above, was dramatised by critic turned playwright Nicholas de Jongh in the play Plague Over England and performed at the Finborough, a small London theatre, in 2008, with Jasper Britton as Gielgud. add something

 

Sybil Thorndike - She is one of the principal characters in Nicholas de Jongh's play "Plague Over England", about John Gielgud's arrest for homosexual acts in 1953


1954

Ralph Richardson - In 1954 and 1955 Richardson played Dr. Watson in an American/BBC radio co-production of Sherlock Holmes stories, with Gielgud as Holmes and Orson Welles as the villainous Professor Moriarty.

 

Dr. Watson - In 1954, Sir Ralph Richardson played Watson in a short radio series on NBC opposite Sir John Gielgud as Holmes


1955

But Gielgud didn't always have the magic touch, staging a disappointing revival of Twelfth Night with Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh in 1955 and a disastrous production of Macbeth with Ralph Richardson in 1952. add something

 

Isamu Noguchi - In 1955, he designed the sets and costumes for a controversial theatre production of "King Lear" starring John Gielgud


1957

He directed the operas The Trojans in 1957 and A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1960. add something

 

Les Troyens - Royal Opera House - An aircheck of this performance has been issued on CD. However, the 1957 production at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden conducted by Rafael Kubelík and directed by John Gielgud, has been described as "the first full staging in a single evening that even approximated the composer's original intentions"


1958

Brian Bedford - He has done a great deal of Shakespearean work, notably as Ariel in "The Tempest" opposite John Gielgud's Prospero in 1958, Angelo in "Measure for Measure" at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 1975 and 1976, and The Public Theater's New York Shakespeare Festival Shakespeare in the Park productions of "As You Like It" , and "Timon of Athens" , the latter based on a production he originated with the National Actors Theatre in 1993 and which he eventually played on Broadway


1960

But he lost his aversion to filming in the late 1960s, and by the 1980s and 1990s he was appearing in films so regularly that it was jokingly said that he was prepared to do almost anything for his art. add something

 

Ralph Richardson - In the 1960s, Richardson appeared successfully as Sir Peter Teazle in Gielgud's production of The School for Scandal, as the Father in Six Characters in Search of an Author, a return to Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream and the original production of Joe Orton's controversial farce What the Butler Saw in the West End at the Queen's Theatre in 1969 with Stanley Baxter, Coral Browne and Hayward Morse.


1961

Gielgud won a Tony Award for his direction of Big Fish, Little Fish in 1961, the only time he won the award in a competitive category (having won honorary awards for "Best Foreign Company" for his 1947 production of The Importance of Being Earnest and for his one-man show Ages of Man). add something

 

A Midsummer Night's Dream (opera) - Royal Opera House - "Dream" was performed at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 1961, produced by John Gielgud and conducted by Georg Solti

 

Margreta Elkins - She notably sang Hippolyta in the London premiere of Benjamin Britten's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" , directed by Sir John Gielgud, and portrayed the role of Helen in the world premiere of Michael Tippett's "King Priam" on 29 May 1962 in Coventry


1963

He made a recording of many of Shakespeare's sonnets in 1963. add something


1964

Gielgud did voice the Ghost in both the stage and film version of the Richard Burton Hamlet, which he directed in 1964, and in the 1970 Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation starring Richard Chamberlain. add something

 

In his later years, Gielgud played the Ghost of Hamlet's Father in productions of the play, first to Richard Burton's Melancholy Dane on the Broadway stage which Gielgud directed in 1964, on television with Richard Chamberlain, and finally in a radio production starring Gielgud's protege Kenneth Branagh. add something

 

Columbia Masterworks Records - And in 1964, Columbia Masterworks would release a complete album of the 1964 Broadway revival of "Hamlet", starring Richard Burton and directed by John Gielgud - the longest-running "Hamlet" in Broadway history to date

 

Richard Burton - He put his stage career on the back burner to concentrate on film, although he received a third Tony *award nomination when he reprised his Hamlet under John Gielgud's direction in 1964 in a production that holds the record for the longest run of the play in Broadway history

 

George Rose (actor) - On Broadway, among other roles, he played the First Gravedigger in John Gielgud's 1964 "Hamlet," a suspicious storekeeper in William Hanley's "Slow Dance on Killing Ground" , a bitter soldier in Peter Shaffer's "Royal Hunt of the Sun" , and the detective in Joe Orton's "Loot"

 

Hamlet - Richard Burton received his third Tony *award nomination when he played his second Hamlet, his first under John Gielgud's direction, in 1964 in a production that holds the record for the longest run of the play in Broadway history


1965

Rachel Gurney - On the stage she most notably starred opposite John Gielgud as Hermione in the 1965 production of "A Winter's Tale" and as Lady Chiltern in "An Ideal Husband" at the Piccadilly Theatre in 1966

 

Irene Worth - She went to New York in 1965 for the opening of Edward Albee's enigmatic "Tiny Alice", in which she co-starred with John Gielgud and which won her the first of her three Tony *awards


1966

Doug Hayward - Hayward's client list included: actors Clint Eastwood, Sir John Gielgud, Michael_Caine, Terence Stamp, Rex Harrison, Steve McQueen and John_Osborne; actor Tommy Steele; singer Tony Bennett; newsreader Tom Brokaw; footballer and 1966 World Cup England captain Bobby_Moore; Formula 1 world champion Sir Jackie Stewart; and businessmen Lord Hanson and Mark Birley

 

Bob Cato - In 1966, he directed the CBS-TV miniseries "Playback", featuring Leonard Bernstein, Miles Davis, John Gielgud, Johnny_Mathis and Igor Stravinsky


1968

Anthony Andrews - First World War - He auditioned in 1968 for a production of Alan Bennett's new play, "Forty Years On", which featured John Gielgud as the headmaster of a British public school during the First World War period

 

Michael Anderson (director) - He directed the 1968 film "The Shoes of the Fisherman" starring Anthony Quinn, Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud

 

Arthur Lowe - In 1968 Lowe was invited by Laurence Olivier to act at the National Theatre at the Old Vic and appeared in Somerset Maugham's "Home and Beauty" in 1968 and later "The Tempest" in 1974 with John Gielgud

 

Laurence Olivier - Kern, John Gielgud, and Oskar Werner.


1970

Ben Cross - In 1970 at the age of 22, he was accepted into London 's Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts - the alma mater of actors such as John Gielgud, Glenda_Jackson and Anthony Hopkins, but later expressed little interest in pursuing the classical route


1973

Katharine Cornell - For her 80th birthday party in 1973, an assistant put together a tape of birthday greetings from Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, and Ralph Richardson, among many other actors whom she had known

 

Noel Coward - A memorial service was held in St Martin-in-the-Fields in London on 29 May 1973, for which the Poet Laureate, John Betjeman, wrote and delivered a poem in Coward's honour, John Gielgud and Laurence Olivier read verse and Yehudi Menuhin played Bach


1975

Terence Rigby - Among his stage credits was the première of "No Man's Land" by Harold Pinter, at the Royal National Theatre in 1975, in which he played a supporting role to the leads played by John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson

 

Sean Connery - Apart from The Man Who Would Be King and The Wind and the Lion, both released in 1975, most of Connery's successes in the next decade were as part of ensemble casts in films such as Murder on the Orient Express with Vanessa Redgrave and John Gielgud and A Bridge Too Far co-starring Dirk Bogarde and Laurence Olivier.


1977

Gielgud made his final Shakespearean appearance on stage in 1977 in the title role of John Schlesinger's production of Julius Caesar at the Royal National Theatre. add something

 

James Joyce - Joseph Strick directed a film of the book in 1977 starring Luke Johnston, Bosco Hogan, T.P. McKenna and John Gielgud


1978

It looked as though Gielgud would retire from the stage after appearing in Half Life at the Duke of York's Theatre in 1978, but he made a successful comeback in 1988 in Hugh Whitemore's play The Best of Friends as museum curator Sydney Cockerell. add something

 

Jon Finch - During 1978-79, Finch played the role of Henry Bolingbroke in the BBC Television Shakespeare productions of "Richard II", "Henry IV, Part I" and "Henry IV, Part II", which featured Derek Jacobi, John Gielgud, David Gwillim and Anthony Quayle in principal roles

 

Derek Jacobi - In 1978 he appeared in the BBC Television Shakespeare production of "Richard II", with Sir John Gielgud and Dame Wendy Hiller


1979

Thomas Wolsey - Henry Irving, Walter Hampden and John Gielgud were well known for their stage performances of the role, and Timothy West played him in the 1979 BBC Television Shakespeare production of that play

 

Joop Doderer - In 1979, he played a South African agent, in "The Human Factor", by Otto Preminger, together with Richard Attenborough, Derek Jacobi and John Gielgud

 

Orson Welles - Paul Masson's spokesman since 1979, Welles parted company with Paul Masson in 1981, and in 1982 he was replaced by John Gielgud.


1980

Moustapha Akkad - In 1980 he directed "Lion of the Desert", in which Quinn and Irene Papas were joined by Oliver Reed, Rod Steiger, and John Gielgud

 

Anthony Quinn - In 1980, he starred in the Lion of the Desert, together with Irene Papas, Oliver Reed, Rod Steiger, and John Gielgud.


1981

Dudley Moore - In 1981, Moore appeared as the lead in the comedy "Arthur", an even bigger hit than "10", which starred Liza Minnelli and Sir John Gielgud


1983

In 1983, he made his second onscreen appearance with fellow theatrical knights Laurence Olivier and Ralph_Richardson (following Olivier's own Richard III) in a television miniseries about composer Richard Wagner. add something

 

Barbara Leigh-Hunt - In 1983 Leigh-Hunt appeared as the Queen of Bavaria in the mini-series "Wagner" sharing her scenes with Ralph Richardson, Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud as court ministers

 

Gabriel Byrne - In 1983, he appeared with Richard Burton in the miniseries "Wagner" , co-starring Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson


1986

Gielgud is referenced in Bruce Robinson's 1986 cult film Withnail and I. In an early scene in which Withnail is complaining about his lack of work as an actor, Marwood attempts to console him by suggesting that September is a "bad patch" for actors. add something

 

Louis Marks - He has worked with distinguished actors including Anthony Hopkins, Claire Bloom, John Gielgud, Nigel Hawthorne, Michael Gambon, Judi Dench and Ben Kingsley on the adaptation of another George Eliot work "Silas Marner" in 1986


1988

He publicly acknowledged Hensler as his lover only in 1988, in the programme notes for The Best of Friends, which was his final stage performance. add something


1990

Sir John gave the opening address at the Queen Mother's 90th Birthday Celebration Gala at the London Palladium in 1990, referring to a glittering array of stars and personalities assembled saying that because of the love and affection in which she was held they were laying at her feet, this rather large Birthday present, which provoked tremendous approval. add something


1991

In 1991, Gielgud was able to satisfy his life's ambition by immortalising his Prospero on screen in Peter Greenaway's extremely offbeat version of The Tempest, a film called Prospero's Books in which Gielgud voiced every single character in the play. add something


1992

Shining Through - World War II - "'Shining Through"' is a 1992 British-American World War II drama film written and directed by David Seltzer and starring Michael Douglas and Melanie Griffith, with Liam Neeson, Joely Richardson and John Gielgud in supporting roles

 

Stephen Dorff - In 1992, he starred in "The Power of One" opposite Sir John Gielgud and Daniel Craig

 

Shining Through - World War II - "'Shining Through"' is an American World War II drama film which was released to United States cinemas on January 31, 1992, written and directed by David Seltzer and starring Michael Douglas and Melanie Griffith, with Liam Neeson, Joely Richardson and John Gielgud in supporting roles


1994

Gielgud gave one of his final radio performances in the title role of an All Star production of King Lear in 1994 that was mounted to celebrate his 90th birthday. add something

 

Sir John received PETA's Humanitarian of the Year Award twice, in 1994 and 1999. add something

 

The Globe Theatre in London was renamed the Gielgud Theatre in 1994 in his honour. add something


1996

In 1996 he played a wizard in the TV adaptation of Gulliver's Travels. add something

 

Henry Ainley - John Gielgud, writing in the "Sunday Times" in 1996, described Ainley's Prospero as "disastrous", although he generally held Ainley in high regard and fulfilled a longstanding ambition to perform with him when Gielgud played Iago opposite Ainley's Othello in a 1932 BBC Radio broadcast


1998

Gielgud's final onscreen appearance in a major release motion picture was as Pope Pius V in Elizabeth which was released in 1998. add something

 

Gielgud's final television performance was on film in Merlin in 1998, his final television studio appearance having been in A Summer Day's Dream recorded in 1994 for the BBC 2 Performance series. add something

 

Longtime partner Martin Hensler died in December 1998, 16 months before Gielgud's own death in 2000. add something

 

Elizabeth (film) - "'Elizabeth"' is a 1998 biographical film written by Michael Hirst, directed by Shekhar Kapur, and starring Cate Blanchett in the title role of Queen Elizabeth I of England, alongside Geoffrey Rush, Christopher Eccleston, Joseph Fiennes, Sir John Gielgud, Fanny_Ardant and Richard Attenborough


2000

John Gielgud died in 2000 add something

 

Kenneth Branagh - Branagh was the youngest actor to receive the Golden Quill (also known as the Gielgud Award) in 2000.


2009

In 2009 the play was presented for a limited run at the Duchess Theatre, in London's West End, with Michael Feast in the main role add something


2010

Arthur Bach - On April 22, 2010 it was announced that Helen Mirren would star opposite Brand, taking on John Gielgud's part

 

Arthur (1981 film) - On April 22, 2010 it was announced that Helen Mirren would star opposite Brand, taking on John Gielgud's part


2012

Daniel Day-Lewis - In October 2012, he donated to Oxford University papers belonging to his father, the poet Cecil Day-Lewis, including early drafts of the poet's work and letters from actor John Gielgud and literary figures such as W. H. Auden, Robert Graves, and Philip Larkin