Sherlock Holmes
(Fictional character)
Mark Twain
Maurice Barrymore
(Movies & TV)

See also

William Gillette

Knowledge Identifier: +William_Gillette


William Gillette

American actor, playwright and stage-manager in the late 19th and early 20th centuries add

Category: Movies & TV

Born in 1853.

Countries: United States (29%), United Kingdom (14%), New York (14%)

Education: undef.

Main connections: Sherlock Holmes (play), Sherlock Holmes, Connecticut

Linked to: Vanity Fair, Famous Players-Lasky Corporation, Goldwyn Pictures Corporation, Harvard University




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William Gillette was born in 1853 add something


His eldest brother, Frank Ashbell Gillette, went to California and died there in 1859 from consumption add something


After his brother Edward moved to Iowa, and his sister Elisabeth married George Henry Warner, both in 1863, William was left as the only child in the household add something


He briefly worked for a stock company in New Orleans and returned to New England where, on Mark Twain's own recommendation, he debuted at the Globe Theater of Boston with Twain's stage-play "The Gilded Age", in 1875 add something


When his father's health began to fail in 1878, William forsook the stage for more than a year to care for his father in his final illness add something


In 1882 Gillette married Helen Nichols of Detroit add something


In 1883 he filed the first of four patent requests with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a Time-Stamp "as stamps upon the upper surface of papers a dial and one or more dial-pointers, representing the time of day at which the papers stamped by it were respectively so stamped add something


With "Held by the Enemy" in 1887, Gillette became the first American playwright to achieve true success on British stages with an authentic American play add something


She died in 1888 from peritonitis, caused by a ruptured appendix add something


Margaret Warner Morley - As early as 1890 she visited Tryon, North Carolina with the painter Amelia Watson where she resided in the cottage of playwright William Gillette


In 1891, after first visiting Tryon, North Carolina, Gillette began building his bungalow, which he later enlarged into a house add something


Meanwhile Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, feeling that Holmes was stifling him and keeping him from more worthy literary work, had finished his "Sherlock Holmes" saga and killed Holmes off in "The Final Problem", published in 1893 add something


Gillette finally came fully out of retirement in October 1894 in "Too Much Johnson", adapted from the French farce, "La Plantation Thomassin", by Maurice Ordonneau add something


In 1895 he wrote "Secret Service", which was first performed in the Broad Street Theatre in Philadelphia for two weeks beginning on May 13, 1895, with Maurice Barrymore in the lead role add something


Gillette rewrote some of the script and starred in the play when it opened at the Garrick Theatre on October 5, 1896 add something


The production ran until March 6, 1897, and was an enormous critical and popular success add something


Following its American success, Frohman booked "Secret Service" to open at the Adelphi Theatre on the West End in London on May 15, 1897, and it became the cornerstone of Frohman's achievements in England add something


Ethel Barrymore - In 1897 Ethel went with William Gillette to London to play Miss Kittridge in Gillette's "Secret Service"


After a copyright performance in England, "Sherlock Holmes" debuted on October 23, 1899, at the Star Theatre in Buffalo add something


Following appearances in Rochester and Syracuse, New York in New York, and in Scranton, Pennsylvania and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in Pennsylvania, "Sherlock Holmes" made its Broadway debut at the "Garrick Theater" on November 6, 1899, performing until June 16, 1900 add something


The company toured nationally, along the western United States, from October 8, 1900 until March 30, 1901 add something


The new stories were resumed in 1901, first with a prequel and with Holmes actually revived in 1903 add something


"Sherlock Holmes" made its British debut at the Shakespeare Theatre in Liverpool on September 2, 1901 add something


Maude Fealy - Fealy toured England with William Gillette in "Sherlock Holmes" from 1901 to 1902


In the United States, Gillette again toured from 1902 until November 1903, starring in "The Admirable Crichton" by James M. Barrie add something


The production was extended until April 12, 1902 , including a gala for "King Edward VII" on February 1 add something


Charlie Chaplin - In 1903 Chaplin secured the role of Billy the pageboy in Sherlock Holmes, written by William Gillette and starring English actor H. A. Saintsbury.


Gillette's own play, "Electricity", appeared in 1910, and he starred in Victorien Sardou's "Diplomacy" in 1914, Clare Kummer's "A Successful Calamity" in 1917, Barrie's "Dear Brutus" in 1918, and Gillette's "The Dream Maker" in 1921 add something


In 1913, while sailing up the Connecticut River in his houseboat, Gillette spotted a hill, part of the Seven Sisters chain, over a ferry's pier in Hadlyme add something


He is best remembered today for portraying Sherlock Holmes on stage and in a now lost 1916 silent film add something


Sherlock Holmes (play) - In 1916, a silent film of the play entitled "Sherlock Holmes" featured William Gillette in the role of Holmes and has been called "the most elaborate of the early movies"


A brief revival of "Sherlock Holmes" in early 1923 did not generate enough interest to return to Broadway, so he retired to his Hadlyme estate add something


The Holmes series continued for another quarter-century, culminating with the bound edition of "The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes" in 1927 add something


In 1929, at the age of 76, Gillette started the farewell tour of "Sherlock Holmes", in Springfield, Massachusetts , Massachusetts add something


In the New Amsterdam Theater of New York, on November 25, 1929, a great ceremony took place add something


Entwistle was the tragic young actress who committed suicide by jumping from the Hollywoodland sign in 1932 add something


Scheduled for two seasons, it was eventually extended into 1932 add something


On December 7, 1934, Gillette attended the first dinner meeting of the Baker Street Irregulars in New York add something


Gillette's last appearance on stage was in Austin Strong's "Three Wise Fools" in 1936 add something


"Washington Post", "Gillette's Castle", February 2, 1936, pg add something


"The Times" noted in 1937 that, "it would be hard to convince that portion of the American public that knew and followed him that any better actor had ever trod the American stage add something

William Gillette died in 1937 add something


Gillette died on April 29, 1937, aged 83, in Hartford, Connecticut , due to a pulmonary hemorrhage add something


In 1943, the Connecticut state government bought the property, renaming it Gillette's Castle and Gillette Castle State Park add something


Unfortunately, despite Gillette's concern that it not be in the possession of some blithering saphead, the train was relocated to an amusement park, Lake Compounce in Bristol, Connecticut, from 1943 through the mid-90s add something


Located in 67 River Road, East Haddam, Connecticut, it was reopened in 2002 add something


After years of being thought a lost film, a copy of the film was found in October 2014 at the Cinematheque Francaise and is undergoing restoration add something


It was shown on Turner Classic Movies in 2015 add something