Seymour Hicks

Active - 1926 - 1949  |   Born - Jan 30, 1871 in St. Hélier, Isle of Jersey, England  |   Died - Apr 6, 1949   |   Genres - Comedy

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Seymour Hicks began his six-decade acting career in 1887. A fine comic singer and an even better farceur, Hicks headlined the first revue show ever staged in London, 1893's Under the Clock. Before he had reached his 35th birthday, Hicks had managed several thriving music-hall and "legitimate" theatres, including the legendary Aldwych, which he founded in 1906. One year later, he made his movie debut in a 30-second tableau about his publishing activities, titled Seymour Hicks Edits 'The Tatler'. His "official" entree into films was in 1913; thereafter, he frequently co-starred on screen with his wife, Ellailine Terris, who also served as the subject of his 1939 autobiography Me and the Missus (his first book of reminiscences, Between Ourselves, was published in 1930). Hicks was the first British actor to appear in France during World War I, repeating this accomplishment during World War II -- and winning the French Croix de Guerre on both occasions. In 1922, he collaborated with cinema novice Alfred Hitchcock on the direction of Always Tell Your Wife, based on Hicks' own screenplay. Hicks made his best-remembered talkie appearance as star and scenarist of Scrooge, the 1935 remake of Hicks' 1913 silent film; also in 1935, Hicks became Sir Seymour Hicks, and his wife Lady Hicks. Sir Seymour Hicks continued appearing in films and on stage up until a year before his death at the age of 78.

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  • Wrote and starred in several musical comedies with his wife Ellaline Terriss, including Bluebell in Fairyland in 1901, The Cherry Girl and Quality Street in 1902, and The Catch of the Season in 1904.
  • Was awarded the Croix de Guerre in 1915 for entertaining allied troops in France during World War I, and received a second Croix de Guerre for similar service during World War II.
  • Gave Alfred Hitchcock one of his first directing jobs, after dismissing the original director of the film adaptation of his play Always Tell Your Wife in 1923.
  • Was awarded the Legion of Honour by the French Republic in 1931 for his efforts in promoting French theater on the English stage.
  • Most famous role was Ebenezer Scrooge from Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol which he played several times on stage and in two film adaptations - the 1913 silent film Scrooge and the 1935 film also titled Scrooge.