Roland Young

Active - 1922 - 1953  |   Born - Nov 11, 1887   |   Died - Jun 5, 1953   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Romance, Musical

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Trained at the London Academy for Dramatic Art, Roland Young made his London stage debut at the age of 21 and his Broadway bow four years later. Following World War I service in the American military, Young established a solid reputation as a droll, understated stage farceur. His first film was the John Barrymore version of William Gillette's Sherlock Holmes, in which he played Dr. Watson. He flourished in Hollywood films of the 1930s and 1940s, most often playing a befuddled, whimsical British gentleman. He starred in all three of Hal Roach's Topper films and played the likeable, impecunious British peer in Ruggles of Red Gap (1935). Only rarely was Young cast as a villain, but on those occasions he proved as adept at skullduggery as comedy: his most memorable unsympathetic portrayal was as the "'umble" Uriah Heep in David Copperfield (1935). A frequent radio performer, Roland Young starred in a mid-'40s audio version of Topper and was cast opposite Cornelia Otis Skinner in the 1945 sitcom William and Mary.

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