Alastair Sim

Active - 1935 - 1977  |   Born - Oct 9, 1900   |   Died - Aug 19, 1976   |   Genres - Comedy, Crime, Mystery, Drama

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Droll, moon-faced Scottish actor Alastair Sim was for the first decade of his adult life a professor of elocution. A late bloomer, Sim made his stage debut at age 30; in 1935, he broke into British films, appearing in no fewer than five pictures during his first year. In many of his early films, Sim portrayed slow-witted, regional types, notably the buffoonish sergeant in the Inspector Hornleigh mysteries of the late '30s. He achieved movie stardom during the 1940s, frequently portraying dithering eccentrics who weren't quite as distracted or disorganized as they seemed: the undercover detective in Cottage to Let (1943), the inquisitive Inspector Cockrill in Green for Danger (1946), and the befuddled birdwatcher in Hue and Cry (1947), for instance. Among his most fondly remembered roles of the 1950s were the taciturn moralist forced to break the law in order to qualify for an inheritance in Laughter in Paradise (1952); the enigmatic "voice of conscience" in An Inspector Calls (1954); the mild-mannered professional assassin in The Green Man (1956); his "drag" appearances as the snooty headmistress in the St. Trinians farces; and, of course, the title role in Scrooge (1951), his finest hour and a half. Seemingly growing funnier with each passing year, the 72-year-old Sim all but stole the show as a doddering cleric in the outrageous The Ruling Class (1972). Throughout his four-decade film career, Sim retained his ties to the theater, directing and starring in several of the works of playwright James Bridie and, by popular request, made frequent appearances as Captain Hook in Barrie's Peter Pan; Sim made his last stage appearance in 1975, the year before his death.

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