Miles Mander

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Miles Mander
Miles Mander in The Little Princess.jpg
Mander in The Little Princess (1939)
Lionel Henry Mander

(1888-05-14)14 May 1888
Died8 February 1946(1946-02-08) (aged 57)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting placeOcean View Burial Park, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
Other namesLuther Miles
Years active1920–1946
  • Princess Pratibha Devi
Kathleen French
(m. 1923)

Miles Mander (born Lionel Henry Mander; 14 May 1888 8 February 1946), was an English character actor of the early Hollywood cinema, also a film director and producer, and a playwright and novelist. He was sometimes credited as Luther Miles.


Early life

Miles Mander was the second son of Theodore Mander, builder of Wightwick Manor, of the prominent Mander family, industrialists and public servants of Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England. [1] He was the younger brother of Geoffrey Mander, the Liberal Member of Parliament. He was educated at Harrow School, Middlesex (The Grove House 1901- Easter 1903), Loretto School (in Canada) [2] and McGill University in Montreal.

He soon broke away from the predictable mould of business and philanthropy. He was an early aviator, a pioneer pilot, flying his Louis Blériot at Pau in 1909 and at the first all-British aviation meeting in July 1910. [3] He won the cup for the first official flight at Brooklands in 1910, and acquired and built Hendon Aerodrome with Claude Grahame-White. [4] He started free ballooning in 1912 and qualified as a pilot, gaining his Royal Aero Club certificate no. 31 on 17 June 1913. He served as a captain in the Royal Army Service Corps in World War I, 1915-19. [5] He spent his twenties in New Zealand farming sheep, with his uncle, Martin Mander. [6]

Film career

Miles Mander entered the British film industry as a writer, producer, and actor, often working with Adrian Brunel. In 1925, he appeared in two Gainsborough productions: The Prude's Fall (1925) and The Pleasure Garden (1926). The former was Alfred Hitchcock's last film as an assistant director to Graham Cutts and the latter was Hitchcock's directorial debut. In 1926–7 he made a series of pioneering sound films. [7] Later he collaborated with Alma Reville, Hitchcock's wife, on the script of The First Born (1928), his feature debut as director, in which he co-starred with Madeleine Carroll. Carroll reappeared in his third film, Fascination (1931).

Mander is better remembered for his character portrayals of oily villains, many of them English gentlemen or upper crust cads – such as Cardinal Richelieu in the musical film The Three Musketeers (1939), a spoof in which the Ritz Brothers played lackeys who substituted for the real Musketeers. In his Hollywood debut, he had portrayed King Louis XIII in the much more serious 1935 version of that same Alexandre Dumas, père classic. One of his meatiest performances came as a dual role in the 1939 serial Daredevils of the Red Circle , in which he played both a kindly industrialist and the ruthless villain who impersonates him (played "out of makeup" by Charles Middleton). Other famous film credits included Wuthering Heights (1939) with Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon, in which he played Mr. Lockwood, the new tenant at the Grange, who is told the story of Cathy and Heathcliff. In the English version of G.W. Pabst's Don Quixote (1933), he played the Duke who invites Don Quixote and Sancho Panza to his castle, and in the original To Be or Not to Be (1942), he was one of the two British officers to whom Robert Stack first reveals his suspicions about the treacherous Professor Siletsky (Stanley Ridges).

Personal life

Miles Mander in Youth on Parole (1937) Miles Mander in Youth on Parole.jpg
Miles Mander in Youth on Parole (1937)

His first wife was Prativa Sundari Devi, a princess of Cooch Behar. She was the daughter of Maharaja Nripendra Narayan and Maharani Suniti Devi of Cooch Behar and paternal aunt of Gayatri Devi, Maharani of Jaipur.

His second wife was Kathleen ('Bunty') French, of Sydney, Australia, by whom he had a son, Theodore, [8] to whom he dedicated a book of memoirs and advice, To My Son—in Confidence (1934). He died suddenly of a heart attack at the Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles, aged 57. He is currently buried at Ocean View Burial Park in Burnaby, Greater Vancouver Regional District, British Columbia, Canada.


As actor

As director

As writer

As producer



  1. Mosley, Charles, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 2, page 2589, sub Mander baronetcy of the Mount [U.K.], cr. 1911.
  2. "The First Born (1928) dir. Miles Mander: Rediscovery of a stunning late 1920s melodrama" (PDF). British Film Institute . Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  3. "The First Air Races - Wolverhampton 1910".
  4. Obituary Times, 11 Feb 1946, p. 6
  5. "Lieutenant Lionel Henry MANDER Royal Army Service Corps".
  6. "Miles Mander". The West Australian . Perth. 6 November 1935. p. 19. Retrieved 19 February 2012 via National Library of Australia.
  7. Miller, Henry K (27 October 2011). "Miles Mander: the true pioneer of sound films". The Guardian . London. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  8. Mosley, Charles, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 2, page 2589, sub Mander baronetcy of the Mount [U.K.], cr. 1911.

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