The Casino Murder Case (1935).
|Born||23 December 1887|
|Died||2 March 1959 (aged 71)|
(m. 1917;died 1919)
Eric Blore Sr. (23 December 1887 – 2 March 1959) was an English actor and writer. His early stage career, mostly in the West End of London, centred on revue and musical comedy, but also included straight plays. He wrote sketches for and appeared in variety. In the 1930s Blore acted mostly in Broadway productions. He made his last London appearance in 1933 in the Fred Astaire hit Gay Divorce . Between 1930 and 1955 he made more than 60 Hollywood films, becoming particularly well known for playing butlers and other superior domestic servants. He retired in 1956 for health reasons, and died in Hollywood in 1959 at the age of 71.
Blore was born in Finchley, a north-London suburb on 23 December 1887, son of Henry Blore and his wife Mary, née Newton.He was educated at Mills School, Finchley, and after leaving school he worked for an insurance company. He was drawn to a theatrical career, and in 1908 he made his first appearance on the stage at the Spa Theatre, Bridlington in the musical comedy The Girl from Kays . In the same year he went to Australia, where he appeared with a concert party, "The Merrymakers". In the English provinces he appeared in the musical comedy The Arcadians (1910), the pierrot show The March Hares (1911) and Barry Jackson and Basil Dean's Fifinella (1912).
In April 1913 Blore made his first appearance in London, at the Empire, Leicester Square in C. H. Bovill's revue All the Winners,in which he was praised by The Observer . He also appeared at the Empire in Bovill's and P. G. Wodehouse's revue Nuts and Wine (1914). During the First World War Blore served in the infantry and later the Royal Flying Corps, before being assigned to run the 38th Divisional Concert Party in France ("The Welsh Wails") 1917–1919.
Blore wrote several sketches for revue and variety, including "Violet and Pink" (1913); "A Burlington Arcadian" (1914); "The Admirable Fleming" (1917); "Yes, Papa" (1921); "French Beans" (1921) and his most enduring sketch, "The Disorderly Room", written while he was in the army, and first given in London by Stanley Holloway, Tom Walls, Leslie Henson, Jack Buchanan and the author. It was taken up by Tommy Handley who starred in it in music halls around the country and on BBC radio in the 1920s and 30s.
In the early 1920s Blore toured in variety and appeared in the West End in Angel Face (1922) a "musical farce" with music by Victor Herbert, heading a cast that included Sylvia Cecil and the young Miles Malleson,and The Cabaret Girl , joining the cast in mid-run.
In August 1923 Blore appeared for the first time on Broadway, playing the Hon. Bertie Bird in Little Miss Bluebeard, and on his return to London he appeared in the same part at Wyndham's Theatre. After the death of his first wife, Violet (née Winter), Blore married Clara Macklin in 1926.In the same year he returned to New York, playing Teddie Deakin in The Ghost Train . The play, which ran in London for 655 performances did less well on Broadway, and closed after 61 performances. Blore remained in the US for the next seven years; his Broadway roles were Reggie Ervine in Mixed Doubles, Sir Calverton Shipley in Just Fancy, Sir Basil Carraway in Here's How, the King of Arcadia in Angela, Captain Robert Holt in Meet the Prince, Lieutenant Cooper in Roar China, Bertie Capp in Give Me Yesterday and Roddy Trotwood in Here Goes the Bride. In 1932 he toured as Cosmo Perry in The Devil Passes, before returning to Broadway to play the waiter in Cole Porter's Gay Divorce , which starred Fred Astaire and Claire Luce.
Gay Divorce ran for 248 performances, closing in July 1933, to allow Astaire and Luce to go to London to play in the piece at the Palace Theatre. Blore and Erik Rhodes from the Broadway cast also appeared in the London production,which ran for five months. This was Blore's last London stage show. As The Times put it, he joined "the select company of English actors who were persuaded to journey to California" to appear in Hollywood films, along with the likes of C. Aubrey Smith and Ronald Colman.
Blore made more than 60 films between 1930 and 1955. He was particularly known for playing superior butlers, valets and gentlemen's gentlemen. The Times commented that he and another English actor, Arthur Treacher, "made a virtual corner in butler parts … no study of an upper class English or American household was complete without one or other of them".Treacher was tall and thin with a haughty and austere manner; Blore was "shorter and slightly tubby … a trifle more eccentric in manner but equally capable of registering eloquent but unspoken disapproval". His less lofty air enabled him to deliver the line, "If I were not a gentleman's gentleman I could be such a cad's cad."
In 1943 Blore returned to Broadway, replacing Treacher during the run of Ziegfeld Follies ,and made his final stage appearance at Los Angeles in September 1945, playing Charles Mannering in the unsuccessful Tchaikovsky-based musical Song Without Words.
Blore retired after suffering a stroke in 1956. Taken ill in February 1959 he was moved from his Hollywood home to the Motion Picture Country Hospital, where he died of a heart attack on 1 March, aged 71.He was survived by his widow, Clara, a son, Eric Jr., and one grandchild.
Source: British Film Institute.
|Laughter (1930)||angel in party scene|
|Tarnished Lady (1931)||jewellery counter clerk|
|Flying Down to Rio (1933)||Butterbass, Hammerstein's assistant|
|The Gay Divorcee (1934)||waiter|
|Behold My Wife! (1934)||Benson|
|Limehouse Blues (1934)||slummer|
|Folies Bergère de Paris (1935)||François|
|Old Man Rhythm (1935)||Phillips|
|Top Hat (1935)||Bates, Hardwick's valet|
|Diamond Jim (1935)||Sampson Fox|
|I Dream Too Much (1935)||Roger Briggs|
|Seven Keys to Baldpate (1935)||Prof. Harrison Boulton|
|The Ex-Mrs. Bradford (1936)||Stokes|
|Sons o' Guns (1936)||Hobson|
|Piccadilly Jim (1936)||Bayliss|
|Swing Time (1936)||Gordon|
|Smartest Girl in Town (1936)||Lucius Philbean, Dick's valet|
|Quality Street (1937)||recruiting sergeant|
|The Soldier and the Lady (1937)||Blount|
|Shall We Dance (1937)||Cecil Flintridge|
|It's Love I'm After (1937)||Digges|
|Breakfast for Two (1937)||Butch, blair's valet|
|Hitting a New High (1937)||Cedric Cosmo, aka Captain Braceridge Hemingway|
|Joy of Living (1938)||Potter, the butler|
|Swiss Miss (1938)||Edward Morton|
|A Gentleman's Gentleman (1939)||Heppelwhite|
|Island of Lost Men (1939)||Herbert|
|The Lone Wolf Strikes (1940)||Jamison|
|'Til We Meet Again (1940)||Sir Harold Pinchard|
|The Lone Wolf Meets a Lady (1940)||Jamison|
|The Boys from Syracuse (1940)||Pinch|
|Earl of Puddlestone (1940)||Horatio Bottomley|
|The Lady Eve (1941)||Sir Alfred Mcglennan Keith|
|The Lone Wolf Takes a Chance (1941)||Jamison|
|Road to Zanzibar (1941)||Charles Kimble|
|Confirm or Deny (1941)||Mr. Hobbs|
|Sullivan's Travels (1941)||Sullivan's valet|
|The Shanghai Gesture (1941)||Caesar Hawkins, the bookkeeper|
|The Moon and Sixpence (1942)||Captain Nichols|
|Happy Go Lucky (1943)||Betsman|
|One Dangerous Night (1943)||jamison|
|Forever and a Day (1943)||Sir Anthony's butler|
|Heavenly Music (1943 short)||Mr. Frisbie|
|The Sky's the Limit (1943)||Jackson, the butler|
|Passport to Suez (1943, part of the Lone Wolf series)||Llewellyn Jameson|
|Holy Matrimony (1943)||Henry Leek|
|San Diego, I Love You (1944)||Nelson, butler|
|Easy to Look At (1945)||Billings|
|Men in Her Diary (1945)||florist|
|I Was a Criminal (1945)||Obermüller, the mayor|
|The Notorious Lone Wolf (1946)||Jameson|
|Winter Wonderland (1946)||Luddington|
|Abie's Irish Rose (1946)||Stubbins|
|The Lone Wolf in Mexico (1947)||Jamison|
|The Lone Wolf in London (1947)||Jamison|
|Romance on the High Seas (1948)||ship's doctor|
|The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949, Short)||J. Thaddeus Toad (voice)|
|Love Happy (1949)||Mackinaw|
|Fancy Pants (1950)||Sir Wimbley|
|Babes in Bagdad||cast member|
|Bowery to Bagdad (1955)||genie of the lamp|
Cole Albert Porter was an American composer and songwriter. Many of his songs became standards noted for their witty, urbane lyrics, and many of his scores found success on Broadway and in film.
The Gay Divorcee is a 1934 American musical film directed by Mark Sandrich and starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. It also features Alice Brady, Edward Everett Horton, Eric Blore, and Erik Rhodes. The screenplay was written by George Marion Jr., Dorothy Yost, and Edward Kaufman. Robert Benchley, H. W. Hanemann, and Stanley Rauh made uncredited contributions to the dialogue. It was based on the Broadway musical Gay Divorce, written by Dwight Taylor, which had been adapted into a musical by Kenneth S. Webb and Samuel Hoffenstein from an unproduced play by J. Hartley Manners.
Top Hat is a 1935 American screwball musical comedy film in which Fred Astaire plays an American dancer named Jerry Travers, who comes to London to star in a show produced by Horace Hardwick. He meets and attempts to impress Dale Tremont to win her affection. The film also features Eric Blore as Hardwick's valet Bates, Erik Rhodes as Alberto Beddini, a fashion designer and rival for Dale's affections, and Helen Broderick as Hardwick's long-suffering wife Madge.
Fred Astaire was an American dancer, singer, actor, choreographer, and television presenter. He is widely considered the most influential dancer in the history of film.
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Stanley Augustus Holloway, was an English stage and film actor, humourist, singer, poet and monologist. He was famous for his comic and character roles on stage and screen, especially that of Alfred P. Doolittle in My Fair Lady. He was also renowned for his comic monologues and songs, which he performed and recorded throughout most of his 70-year career.
Arthur Veary Treacher was an English film and stage actor active from the 1920s to the 1960s, and known for playing English stereotypes, especially butler and manservant roles, such as the P.G. Wodehouse valet character Jeeves and the kind butler Andrews opposite Shirley Temple in Heidi (1937). In the 1960s, he became well-known on American television as an announcer/sidekick to talk show host Merv Griffin. He lent his name to the Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips chain of restaurants.
Eleanor Torrey Powell was an American dancer and actress. Best remembered for her tap dance numbers in musical films in the 1930s and 1940s, Powell began studying ballet when she was six and was dancing at nightclubs in Atlantic City before she was a teenager. At the age of sixteen, she began studying tap and started appearing in musical revues on Broadway. She made her Hollywood debut as a featured dancer in the movie George White's Scandals (1935).
Walter John "Jack" Buchanan was a tall (1.88m) Scottish theatre and film actor, singer, dancer, producer and director. He was known for three decades as the embodiment of the debonair man-about-town in the tradition of George Grossmith Jr., and was described by The Times as "the last of the knuts." He is best known in America for his role in the classic Hollywood musical The Band Wagon in 1953.
Swing Time is a 1936 American RKO musical comedy film set mainly in New York City, and starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. It features Helen Broderick, Victor Moore, Betty Furness, Eric Blore and Georges Metaxa, with music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Dorothy Fields. The film was directed by George Stevens.
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Erik Rhodes was an American film and Broadway singer and actor. He is best remembered today for appearing in two classic Hollywood musical films with the popular dancing team of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers: The Gay Divorcee (1934) and Top Hat (1935).
Follow the Fleet is a 1936 American RKO musical comedy film with a nautical theme starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in their fifth collaboration as dance partners. It also features Randolph Scott, Harriet Hilliard, and Astrid Allwyn, with music and lyrics by Irving Berlin. Lucille Ball and Betty Grable also appear, in supporting roles. The film was directed by Mark Sandrich with script by Allan Scott and Dwight Taylor based on the 1922 play Shore Leave by Hubert Osborne.
The Pleasure of His Company is a 1961 comedy film starring Fred Astaire and Debbie Reynolds, directed by George Seaton and released by Paramount Pictures. It is based on the 1958 play of the same name by Samuel A. Taylor and Cornelia Otis Skinner.
Claire Luce was an American stage and screen actress, dancer and singer. Among her few films were Up the River (1930), directed by John Ford and starring Spencer Tracy and Humphrey Bogart in their feature film debuts, and Under Secret Orders, the English-language version of G. W. Pabst's French-language feature, Mademoiselle Docteur (1937).
London Calling! was a musical revue, produced by André Charlot with music and lyrics by Noël Coward, which opened at London's Duke of York's Theatre on 4 September 1923. It is famous for being Noël Coward's first publicly produced musical work and for the use of a 3-D stereoscopic shadowgraph as part of its opening act. The revue's song "Parisian Pierrot", sung by Gertrude Lawrence, was Coward's first big hit and became one of his signature tunes.
Evergreen is a 1934 Gaumont British musical film, starring Jessie Matthews as a music hall singer, based on the 1930 musical Ever Green, also starring Matthews. Matthews had a dual role as both mother and daughter.
C.H. Bovill was a writer, songwriter and lyricist best known for his collaboration with P.G. Wodehouse on the short story collection A Man of Means. He contributed to the original Broadway musicals A Princess of Kensington (1903) (songs), The Little Cherub (1906), The Girls of Gottenberg (1908), Fluffy Ruffles (1908), Peggy (1911) (lyrics), and The Big Show (1916).
Smartest Girl in Town is a 1936 American comedy film directed by Joseph Santley, written by Viola Brothers Shore, and starring Gene Raymond, Ann Sothern, Helen Broderick, Eric Blore, Erik Rhodes and Harry Jans. It was released on November 27, 1936, by RKO Pictures.
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