British actor Ralph Truman may seldom have played a leading role in films, but on radio he was a 14-carat star. On the air since 1925 (he was one of the first), Truman once estimated that he'd appeared in 5000 broadcasts. The actor's film career commenced with City of Song in 1930, followed by a string of cheap "quota quickies" and a few worthwhile films like Mr. Cohen Takes a Walk (1936), Under the Red Robe (1937), Dinner at the Ritz (1938) and The Saint in London (1941). The '40s found Truman cast as Mountjoy in Laurence Olivier's filmization of Henry V (1945) and in such equally prestigious productions as Oliver Twist (1948) and Christopher Columbus (1949). American audiences were treated to Truman in the wildly extroverted role of pirate George Merry in Treasure Island (1950); he'd beem deliberately cast in that role by director Robert Stevenson so that his hammy costar Robert Newton (as Long John Silver) would look "downright underplayed" in comparison. Though hardly as well served as he'd been on radio, Ralph Truman stayed with films until retiring in 1970; his last appearance was in Lady Caroline Lamb (released in 1971).
by Hal Erickson biography