Erskine Sanford

Active - 1940 - 1952  |   Born - Nov 19, 1880   |   Died - Jan 1, 1969   |   Genres - Drama, Romance

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Legend has it that Orson Welles saw his first theatrical production at age seven, when a touring company of Mr. Pim Passes By played in Welles' hometown of Kenosha, WI. Invited backstage, young Welles was effusively greeted by the play's leading man, Erskine Sanford, whose kind and encouraging words inspired Welles to pursue an acting career himself. Whether this story is true or not, the fact remains that, in 1936, Erskine Sanford left the Theatre Guild after a 15-year association to join Orson Welles' experimental Mercury Theatre. When Welles took the Mercury Players to Hollywood in 1940 to film Citizen Kane, Sanford was assigned the small but plum role of Herbert Carter, the sputtering, apoplectic former editor of the New York Inquirer. The actor went on to appear prominently in such Welles-directed films as The Magnificent Ambersons (1942, as Mr. Bronson), Lady From Shanghai (1947, as the judge), and MacBeth (1948, as King Duncan). Outside of his Mercury Theatre activities, Erskine Sanford played featured roles in such mainstream Hollywood productions as Ministry of Fear (1943) and Angel on My Shoulder (1946) before his retirement in 1950.

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