Claude Rains was the invisible man
1909 - 1971
Claude Rains was born on November 10, 1889 in the Camberwell section of London. His first stage appearance was at the age of ten in Sweet Nell of Old Drury and following his bit in the production, he decided that acting was the life for him. He was a critically acclaimed stage actor for over thirty years before Hollywood sought his impressive talents. Already in his mid-forties when The Invisible Man was released in 1933, his film career soon parallelled his stage success. Early in his celluoid career, he was primarily cast as the heavy of the picture, who always seemed to have a difficulty to remain of sound mind. Although Rains was brilliant in portraying these types of characters, Tinseltown eventually took notice of his great skills as an actor and began to feature him in a variety of roles. By 1939, Rains earned his first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor as the conscience-tortured Senator Joseph Paine in Frank Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Unfortunately, the 50 year old Rains lost out to Mr. Smith co-star, Thomas Mitchell, for his role in John Ford's timeless Western classic, Stagecoach. The Hollywood community would recognize Rains on three more Oscar nights, but the Britisher was never awarded for his fine accomplishments on the silver screen. Following a steady film schedule throughout the forties, Rains' work onscreen during the fifties was considerably less. In addition to sporadic film appearances in such films as The White Tower and Lisbon, Rains returned to the stage and in 1951, his portrayal of Rubashov in the Broadway production of Darkness at Noon, won him the Tony Award for Best Actor. Television also provided many additions to Rains' acting resume and Rains watchers could often see him on such classic shows as Alfred Hitchcock Presents. During the sixties, Rains remained at the top of his game and was often seen in big-budget Hollywood productions. Although in his seventies, the Britisher still could keep up with the younger generation of actors and delivered many terrific performance during this time, most notably as Mr. Dryden in David Lean's masterpiece, Lawrence of Arabia. In 1965, advancing age began to create an impact on his acting career and Rains went into semi-retirement. Two years later, on May 30, 1967, in Laconia, New Hampshire, Claude Rains took his final bow at the age of 77.
Claude Rains Web site