Ivor Barnard

Active - 1931 - 1953  |   Born - Jun 13, 1887 in London, England  |   Died - Jun 30, 1953   |   Genres - Drama, Crime, Comedy, Romance, Mystery

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Ivor Barnard was a busy actor for 40 years on stage and screen, with dozens of plays and more than 60 movies to his credit. In England, he was respected enough, and got leading roles right into his sixties, including the part of Mr. Murdoch in the 1948 London production of Brigadoon. If there was a sad element to his career, it was that he had to wait until the final year of his life -- at the age of 66, in the role of would-be assassin Major Ross in John Huston's Beat the Devil -- to finally get noticed by American film critics, who thought him delightful. Barnard was almost too good at what he did, melting into the character roles that were his forte onscreen. Apart from a bit part in a 1920 silent, he confined his work on the stage until the dawn of the sound era. He was very active with the Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company in the teens, and was established in London by the early '20s. Barnard's movie career began with a small part in Alfred Hitchcock's adaptation of John Galsworthy's play The Skin Game. Two years later, he got one of the more prominent movie roles of his career when he played Dr. Falke, the character who sets the story in motion when he is the victim of a practical joke, in William Thiele's screen adaptation of Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus. Most of the parts that Barnard portrayed, however, were much smaller, with as little as a single line of dialogue, though he often made them memorable, such as his performance as the sarcastic bystander in the opening scene of Anthony Asquith and Leslie Howard's Pygmalion (1938). Asquith thought enough of Barnard to use him in The Importance of Being Earnest 14 years later. Barnard also played small but memorable parts in David Lean's Great Expectations and Oliver Twist. It fell to John Huston to give him the most prominent screen time of his career, however, as the diminutive Ross in Beat the Devil, in which Barnard managed to hold his own in a cast that included Humphrey Bogart, Robert Morley, and Peter Lorre.

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