From the trailer for Stage Fright (1950)
Michael Charles Gauntlet Wilding
23 July 1912
|Died||8 July 1979 66) (aged|
|Cause of death||Head injury sustained in a fall|
(m. 1937;div. 1951)
(m. 1952;div. 1957)
(m. 1958;div. 1962)
(m. 1964;died 1976)
Michael Charles Gauntlet Wilding (23 July 1912 – 8 July 1979) was an English stage, television, and film actor. He is best known for a series of films he made with Anna Neagle, for the two films he made with Alfred Hitchcock and for being Elizabeth Taylor's second husband.
Dame Florence Marjorie Wilcox,, known professionally as Anna Neagle, was an English stage and film actress, singer and dancer.
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was an English film director and producer, widely regarded as one of the most influential filmmakers in the history of cinema. Known as "the Master of Suspense", he directed over 50 feature films in a career spanning six decades, becoming as well known as any of his actors thanks to his many interviews, his cameo roles in most of his films, and his hosting and producing of the television anthology Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1965).
Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was a British-American actress, businesswoman, and humanitarian. She began her career as a child actress in the early 1940s, and was one of the most popular stars of classical Hollywood cinema in the 1950s. She continued her career successfully into the 1960s, and remained a well-known public figure for the rest of her life. In 1999, the American Film Institute named her the seventh-greatest female screen legend.
Born in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, England, and educated at Christ's Hospital,Wilding left home at age 17 and trained as a commercial artist. He went to Europe when he was 20 and supported himself in Europe by doing sketches. He wanted to get into designing sets for films and approached a London film studio in 1933 looking for work. They invited him to come to work as an extra.
Leigh-on-Sea, also referred to as Leigh, is a town and civil parish in Essex, England. A district of Southend-on-Sea, with its own town council, it is currently the only civil parish within the borough.
Essex is a county in the south-east of England, north-east of London. One of the home counties, it borders Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to the north, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent across the estuary of the River Thames to the south, and London to the south-west. The county town is Chelmsford, the only city in the county. For government statistical purposes Essex is placed in the East of England region.
Christ's Hospital, also known colloquially as CH, is an English coeducational independent day and boarding school with Royal Charter located in the south of Horsham in West Sussex. Founded in 1552 and received its first Royal Charter in 1553, Christ's Hospital follows much of the public schools tradition. Since its establishment, Christ's Hospital has been a charity school, with a core aim to offer children from humble backgrounds the chance to have a better education.
Wilding appeared as an extra in British films such as Bitter Sweet (1933), Heads We Go (1933), and Channel Crossing (1933).He caught the acting bug and decided to make it a career. He reportedly appeared in an Austrian film called Pastorale.
Bitter Sweet is a British musical romance film directed by Herbert Wilcox and released by United Artists in 1933. It was the first film adaptation of Noël Coward's 1929 operetta Bitter Sweet. It starred Anna Neagle and Fernand Gravey, with Ivy St. Helier reviving her stage role as Manon. It was made at Elstree Studios and was part of a boom in operetta films during the 1930s.
Heads We Go is a 1933 British comedy film directed by Monty Banks and starring Constance Cummings, Frank Lawton and Binnie Barnes. It was made at Elstree Studios by British International Pictures.
Channel Crossing is a 1933 British crime film directed by Milton Rosmer and starring Matheson Lang, Constance Cummings, Anthony Bushell and Nigel Bruce.
He made his stage debut in The Ringer in 1934 for the Watford Repertory Company and made his London stage debut in Chase the Ace the following year. He could be spotted in the films Late Extra (1935), When Knights Were Bold (1936), and Wedding Group (1936).He was in two musicals on stage, Spread It Abroad and Home and Beauty.
Chase the Ace is a comedy thriller play by the British writer Anthony Kimmins. Originally staged in 1935 by the producer Harold French, it ran for 48 performances at Daly's Theatre in the West End. Amongst the original cast were Edward Chapman, Eric Portman, Michael Wilding, Patrick Barr, Warburton Gamble, Marie Lohr and Winifred Shotter. Wilding, a future film star, was making his West End debut.
Late Extra is a 1935 British crime film directed by Albert Parker and starring James Mason, Virginia Cherrill, and Alastair Sim.
When Knights Were Bold is a 1936 British musical comedy film directed by Jack Raymond and starring Jack Buchanan, Fay Wray and Garry Marsh. Songs include "Let's Put the People To Work" sung by Jack Buchanan, "Onward We Go" sung by Buchanan & soldiers' chorus, and "I'm Still Dreaming" sung by Buchanan.
In 1937–38 he toured Australia and New Zealand with Fay Compton's stage company.The plays included Personal Appearance, Victoria Regina, Tonight at Eight Thirty and George and Margaret. While in Australia he filmed a prologue for Personal Appearance.
Virginia Lilian Emmeline Compton-Mackenzie, CBE, known professionally as Fay Compton, was an English actress. She appeared in several films, and made many broadcasts, but was best known for her stage performances. She was known for her versatility, and appeared in Shakespeare, drawing room comedy, pantomime, modern drama, and classics such as Ibsen and Chekhov. In addition to performing in Britain, Compton appeared several times in the US, and toured Australia and New Zealand in a variety of stage plays.
Back in England he appeared in the first Gate Revue, then followed this with another revue, Let's Face It and a pantomime, Who's Taking Liberty.
He had bigger film parts in There Ain't No Justice (1939), Convoy (1940), and Tilly of Bloomsbury (1940). He had a good role in Sailors Three (1940), and Sailors Don't Care (1940).
Wilding had a leading role in Spring Meeting (1941) but was back to support parts in The Farmer's Wife (1941). His films grew more prestigious: Kipps (1941), Cottage to Let (1941), Ships with Wings (1941), The Big Blockade (1941), In Which We Serve (1942), Secret Mission (1942), and Undercover (1943). He played in Quiet Weekend on stage for a year. In 1943 he performed for the troops in Gibraltar with John Gielgud.
Wilding finally became a film name with Dear Octopus (1943). He followed it with English Without Tears (1944).
What really made him a star was appearing opposite Anna Neagle in Piccadilly Incident (1946). Director Herbert Wilcox had wanted Rex Harrison or John Mills and had only taken Wilding reluctantly. However, once he saw the rushes he signed Wilding to a long-term contract. Piccadilly Incident was the second most popular film at the British box office in 1946. After co-starring with Sally Gray in Carnival (1946), Wilding was reunited with Neagle and Wilcox in The Courtneys of Curzon Street (1947), the biggest hit at the 1947 British box office and one of the most-seen British films of all time. Alexander Korda cast him opposite Paulette Goddard in An Ideal Husband (1947), another hit, but it failed to recoup its enormous cost. Wilding, Neagle and Wilcox reteamed for Spring in Park Lane (1948), another outstanding hit. It led to a sequel, Maytime in Mayfair (1949), which was also enormously popular.
Wilding was now one of the biggest stars in Britain—indeed he was voted as such by the readers of Kine Weekly.Director Alfred Hitchcock then cast him in two consecutive films that he produced through his own film production company Transatlantic Pictures (distributed through Warner Brothers Pictures). The first, Under Capricorn (released in 1949), in which he played opposite Ingrid Bergman and Joseph Cotten, was shot mostly in London but had final retakes and overdubs filmed in Hollywood. It was one of Hitchcock's few flops. His second film for Hitchcock was the more popular Stage Fright (released in 1950), also filmed in London, with Marlene Dietrich and Jane Wyman. Thirteen years later, in 1963, Wilding starred in an Alfred Hitchcock Hour episode titled "Last Seen Wearing Blue Jeans".
Wilcox used him in a film without Neagle, Into the Blue (1950) and the public response was considerably less enthusiastic than for the films they made together. He put Anouk Aimée under personal contract and announced plans to make a movie togetherbut none resulted.
MGM made an offer for Wilding to appear opposite Greer Garson in The Law and the Lady (1951);the film was not a success. He returned to Britain for The Lady with a Lamp (1951), a biopic of Florence Nightingale with Neagle and Wilcox. It was popular in Britain, though less so than their earlier collaborations.
So too was Derby Day (1952), the last Neagle–Wilding collaboration. Wilcox tried Wilding with a new star, Margaret Lockwood, in Trent's Last Case (1952), a minor hit. In 1952 British exhibitors voted him the fourth most popular star at the local box office.
In May 1952 Wilding signed a long term contract with MGM.He turned down a role in MGM's Latin Lovers and the studio put him under suspension.
In Hollywood, Wilding supported Joan Crawford in MGM's Torch Song (1953). 20th Century Fox borrowed him to play a pharaoh in their big budget spectacular, The Egyptian (1954), which was a box office disappointment.
At MGM he was Prince Charming to Leslie Caron's Cinderella in The Glass Slipper (1955), and Major John André in The Scarlet Coat (1956).
Wilding journeyed with Taylor to Africa to appear in Zarak (1956) for Warwick Films, after which his marriage to Taylor ended. He began appearing regularly on U.S. television, including the title role in the 1957 episode "The Trial of Colonel Blood" of NBC's anthology series The Joseph Cotten Show .
He had some good roles in Danger Within (1959), a POW movie; The World of Suzie Wong (1960); The Naked Edge (1961); The Best of Enemies (1961); and A Girl Named Tamiko (1962).
His last roles included The Sweet Ride (1968) and Waterloo (1970).
His last appearance in a feature was in an uncredited, nonspeaking cameo in Lady Caroline Lamb (1972), which co-starred his last wife, Margaret Leighton. His last role was in the TV movie Frankenstein: The True Story (1973).
At the peak of his career, British exhibitors voted him among the most popular stars in the country:
Wilding was married four times: to Kay Young (married 1937, divorced 1951),actress Elizabeth Taylor (married 1952, divorced 1957), Susan Nell (married 1958, divorced 1962), and actress Margaret Leighton (married 1964 until her death in 1976).
He and Taylor, who was 20 years his junior, had two sons, Michael Howard Wilding (born 1953) and Christopher Edward Wilding (born 1955). In 1957 he had a short-lived romance with actress Marie McDonald, who was nicknamed The Body.
In the 1960s he was forced to cut back on his film appearances because of illness related to his lifelong epilepsy.[ citation needed ]
Wilding died in Chichester, West Sussex, as a result of head injuries suffered from a fall down a flight of stairs during an epileptic seizure.His body was cremated and the ashes were scattered.
|Heads We Go||Minor Role||Uncredited|
|Channel Crossing||Passenger Boarding Ferry||Uncredited|
|1935||Late Extra||Newspaper Telephone Operator||Uncredited|
|1936||When Knights Were Bold||Soldier||Uncredited|
|Wedding Group||Dr. Hutherford|
|1939||There Ain't No Justice||Len Charteris|
|Tilly of Bloomsbury||Percy Welwyn|
|Sailors Three||Johnny Wilding|
|Sailors Don't Care||Dick|
|1941||Mr. Proudfoot Shows a Light||Officer|
|Spring Meeting||Tony Fox-Collier|
|The Farmer's Wife||Richard Coaker|
|Cottage to Let||Alan Trently|
|1942||Ships with Wings||Lt. David Grant|
|The Big Blockade||Captain||Uncredited|
|In Which We Serve||Flags|
|Secret Mission||Pvt. Nobby Clark|
|Dear Octopus||Nicholas Randolph|
|1944||English Without Tears||Tom Gilbey|
|1946||Piccadilly Incident||Capt. (later Major) Alan Pearson|
|1947||The Courtneys of Curzon Street||Sir Edward Courtney|
|An Ideal Husband||Viscount Arthur Goring|
|1948||Spring in Park Lane||Richard|
|1949||Maytime in Mayfair||Michael Gore-Brown|
|Under Capricorn||Hon. Charles Adare|
|1950||Stage Fright||Det. Insp. Wilfred 'Ordinary' Smith|
|Into the Blue||Nicholas Foster|
|1951||The Law and the Lady||Nigel Duxbury / Lord Henry Minden aka Hoskins|
|The Lady with a Lamp||Sidney Herbert / Lord Herbert of Lea|
|1952||Derby Day||David Scott|
|Trent's Last Case||Philip Trent|
|1953||Torch Song||Tye Graham|
|1955||The Glass Slipper||Prince Charles|
|The Scarlet Coat||Major John Andre|
|1956||Zarak||Major Michael Ingram|
|1959||Danger Within||Major Charles Marquand|
|1960||The World of Suzie Wong||Ben Marlowe|
|1961||The Naked Edge||Morris Brooke|
|The Best of Enemies||Burke|
|1962||A Girl Named Tamiko||Nigel Costairs|
|1968||Code Name, Red Roses||English General|
|The Sweet Ride||Mr. Cartwright|
|1970||Waterloo||Sir William Ponsonby|
|1972||Lady Caroline Lamb||Lord Holland|
|1956||Screen Director's Playhouse||David Scott||Episode: The Carroll Formula|
|1955, 1956||The 20th Century Fox Hour||Robert Marryot |
Captain Robert Wilton
| Episode: Cavalcade |
Stranger in the Night
|1957||The Joseph Cotten Show||Colonel Blood||Episode: The Trial of Colonel Blood|
|1958||Climax!||Lt. MacKenzie Barton||Episode: The Volcano Seat (1) |
Episode: The Volcano Seat (2)
|Target||Episode: The Clean Kill|
|1959||Lux Playhouse||Stephen MacIllroy||Episode: The Case of the Two Sisters|
|1958, 1959||Playhouse 90||Sir John Alexander |
|Episode: Verdict of Three |
Episode: Dark as the Night
|1962||Saints and Sinners||Sir Robert||Episode: A Night of Horns and Bells|
|1963||The Alfred Hitchcock Hour||David Saunders||Episode: Last Seen Wearing Blue Jeans|
|Burke's Law||Dr. Alex Steiner||Episode: Who Killed Sweet Betsy?|
|1966||The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.||Franz Joseph||Episode: The Lethal Eagle Affair|
|Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre||Major Tucker||Episode: The Fatal Mistake|
|1968||Mannix||Phillip Montford/Sir Arnold Salt||Episode: A View of Nowhere|
|1973||Frankenstein: The True Story||Sir Richard Fanshawe||TV film, (final film role)|
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Herbert Sydney Wilcox CBE, was a British film producer and director who was one of the most successful British filmmakers from the 1920s to the 1950s. He is best known for the films he made with his third wife Anna Neagle.
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Forever and a Day is a 1943 American drama film, a collaborative effort employing seven directors/producers and 22 writers, including an uncredited Alfred Hitchcock, with an enormous cast of well-known stars.
Limelight is a 1936 British musical film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Arthur Tracy, Anna Neagle and Jane Winton. It was released in the U.S. as Backstage.
Piccadilly Incident is a 1946 British drama film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Michael Wilding, Coral Browne, Edward Rigby and Leslie Dwyer. Wilcox teamed his wife Anna Neagle with Michael Wilding for the first time, establishing them as top box-office stars in five more films, ending with The Lady with a Lamp in 1951. Wilding was third choice for leading man after Rex Harrison and John Mills.
Maytime in Mayfair is a 1949 British musical comedy film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Michael Wilding, Nicholas Phipps, and Tom Walls. It was a follow up to Spring in Park Lane.
Trent's Last Case is a 1952 British detective film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Michael Wilding, Margaret Lockwood, Orson Welles and John McCallum. It was based on the novel Trent's Last Case by E. C. Bentley, and had been filmed previously in the UK with Clive Brook in 1920, and in a 1929 US version.
King's Rhapsody is a 1955 English musical film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Errol Flynn and Patrice Wymore. Wymore was Errol Flynn's wife at the time of filming. It was based on the successful stage musical King's Rhapsody by Ivor Novello.
Nell Gwyn is a 1926 British romance film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Dorothy Gish, Randle Ayrton and Juliette Compton. It was based on the 1926 novel Mistress Nell Gwyn by Marjorie Bowen and follows the life of Nell Gwynne, the mistress of Charles II. Wilcox later made a second version of the film in 1934, Nell Gwynn which starred Anna Neagle.
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