Alan Napier

Active - 1931 - 1981  |   Born - Jan 7, 1903   |   Died - Aug 8, 1988   |   Genres - Drama, Adventure, Crime

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Though no one in his family had ever pursued a theatrical career (one of his more illustrious relatives was British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain), Alan Napier was stagestruck from childhood. After graduating from Clifton College, the tall, booming-voiced Napier studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, then was engaged by the Oxford Players, where he worked with such raw young talent as John Gielgud and Robert Morley. He continued working with the cream of Britain's acting crop during his ten years (1929-1939) on the West End stages. Napier came to New York in 1940 to co-star with Gladys George in Lady in Waiting. Though his film career had begun in England in the 1930s, Napier had very little success before the cameras until he arrived in Hollywood in 1941. He essayed dignified, sometimes waspish roles of all sizes in such films as Cat People (1942), The Uninvited (1943), and House of Horror (1946); among his off-the-beaten-track assignments were the bizarre High Priest in Orson Welles' Macbeth (1948) and a most elegant Captain Kidd in the 1950 Donald O'Connor vehicle Double Crossbones. In 1966, Alan Napier was cast as Bruce Wayne's faithful butler, Alfred, on the smash-hit TV series Batman, a role he played until the series' cancellation in 1968. Alan Napier's career extended into the 1980s, with TV roles in such miniseries as QB VII and such weeklies as The Paper Chase.

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