Basil Rathbone

Actor, Insurance salesman
Tall and lean, with an interesting, angular face and a remarkable authoritative voice that lent considerably gravity to the most poetic of sentiments and the vilest of evil, Basil Rathbone's ability to excel at heroism ... Read more »
Born: 06/13/1892 in South Africa


Actor (64)

The Great Mouse Detective 1986 (Movie)

of Sherlock Holmes (Voice)

Queen of Blood 1966 (Movie)

Dr Farraday (Actor)

The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini 1965 (Movie)

Reginald Ripper (Actor)

Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet 1964 (Movie)

Professor Hartman (Actor)

The Comedy of Terrors 1963 (Movie)

John F Black (Actor)

Tales of Terror 1962 (Movie)

Carmichael (Actor)

The Magic Sword 1962 (Movie)

Lodac (Actor)

DuPont Show of the Month 1957 - 1961 (TV Show)


The Last Hurrah 1958 (Movie)

Norman Cass Sr (Actor)

The Lark 1956 - 1957 (TV Show)


The Black Sleep 1956 (Movie)

Sir Joel Cadman (Actor)

The Court Jester 1956 (Movie)

Sir Ravenhurst (Actor)

A Christmas Carol 1954 - 1955 (TV Show)


We're No Angels 1955 (Movie)

Andre Trochard (Actor)

Casanova's Big Night 1954 (Movie)

Lucio (Actor)

The Nash Airflyte Theater 1950 - 1951 (TV Show)


The Chevrolet Tele-Theater 1948 - 1950 (TV Show)


The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad 1949 (Movie)

Narrator ("The Wind in the Willows") (Voice)

The Spider Woman 1944 (Movie)

Sherlock Holmes (Actor)

Frenchman's Creek 1943 (Movie)

Lord Rockingham (Actor)

The Black Cat 1940 (Movie)

Montague Hartley (Actor)

Rhythm on the River 1939 (Movie)


The Adventures of Robin Hood 1938 (Movie)

Sir Guy of Gisbourne (Actor)

If I Were King 1937 (Movie)


Make a Wish 1936 (Movie)


Romeo and Juliet 1935 (Movie)

Tybalt (Actor)

The Garden of Allah 1935 (Movie)

Count Ferdinand Anteoni (Actor)

A Tale of Two Cities 1934 (Movie)


Anna Karenina 1934 (Movie)

Karenin (Actor)

Captain Blood 1934 (Movie)

Captain Levasseur (Actor)

David Copperfield 1934 (Movie)


A Lady Surrenders (Movie)

Carl Vaudry (Actor)

A Notorious Affair (Movie)

Paul Gherardi (Actor)

A Woman Commands (Movie)

Capt. Alex Pasitsch (Actor)

Above Suspicion (Movie)

Sig von Aschenhausen (Actor)

Bathing Beauty (Movie)

George Adams (Actor)

Crazy House (Movie)

Sherlock Holmes (Actor)

Dressed to Kill (Movie)

Sherlock Holmes (Actor)

Fingers at the Window (Movie)

Dr. H. Santelle (Actor)

Hillbillys in a Haunted House (Movie)

Gregor (Actor)

International Lady (Movie)

Reggie Oliver (Actor)

Kind Lady (Movie)

Henry Abbott (Actor)

Love from a Stranger (Movie)

Gerald Lovell (Actor)

Private Number (Movie)

Wroxton (Actor)

Pursuit to Algiers (Movie)

Sherlock Holmes (Actor)

Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (Movie)

Sherlock Holmes (Actor)

Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (Movie)

Sherlock Holmes (Actor)

Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror (Movie)

Sherlock Holmes (Actor)

Sherlock Holmes in Washington (Movie)

Sherlock Holmes (Actor)

Sin Takes a Holiday (Movie)

Reginald Durant (Actor)

Son of Frankenstein (Movie)

Baron Wolf von Frankenstein (Actor)

Terror by Night (Movie)

Sherlock Holmes (Actor)

The Adventures of Marco Polo (Movie)

Ahmed (Actor)

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Movie)

Sherlock Holmes (Actor)

The Bishop Murder Case (Movie)

Philo Vance (Actor)

The Dawn Patrol (Movie)

Major Brand (Actor)

The House of Fear (Movie)

Sherlock Holmes (Actor)

The Last Days of Pompeii (Movie)

Pontius Pilate (Actor)

The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (Movie)

Lord Arthur Dilling (Actor)

The Pearl of Death (Movie)

Sherlock Holmes (Actor)

The Scarlet Claw (Movie)

Sherlock Holmes (Actor)

The Sun Never Sets (Movie)

Clive Randolph (Actor)

The Woman in Green (Movie)

Sherlock Holmes (Actor)

Tovarich (Movie)

Gorotchenko (Actor)


Tall and lean, with an interesting, angular face and a remarkable authoritative voice that lent considerably gravity to the most poetic of sentiments and the vilest of evil, Basil Rathbone's ability to excel at heroism and villainy kept him in demand for much of his career. The South African native had his start on the stage and thanks to acclaim from Broadway work like "The Swan" (1923-24), he soon graduated to motion pictures. He was an excellent choice to play period villains in films like "David Copperfield" (1935), "Captain Blood" (1935), and "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (1938), and Rathbone proved so effective, typecasting seemed inevitable. However, he staved off such a career fate with his indelible portrayal of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's master of deduction, Sherlock Holmes. From "The Hound of the Baskervilles" (1939) through "Dressed to Kill" (1946) and seven seasons on radio, Rathbone did a superb job of communicating Holmes' unmatchable intelligence and sleuthing mastery. Rathbone eventually tired of the role and returned to the stage, which offered him a richer venue for his talents than acting as foils for comedians like Bob Hope and Danny Kaye and the rote villainy of low-budget horrors like "The Black Sleep" (1956). At the height of his craft, Rathbone performed with a degree of vividness and sincerity that was a hallmark of the finest classically-trained actors and his interpretation of Holmes was considered the definitive take on the literary icon.



founder of the Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespeare Festival and one of the founders of British Actors Equity

Ouida Bergere

born in 1886 met Rathbone c. 1923 died of complications of a broken hip in 1974

Ethel Forman

married in October 1914 separated after WWI divorced c. 1924

Rodion Rathbone

born in 1915


Repton College



Voice used as Sherlock Holmes in the animated children's film, "The Great Mouse Detective"


Last film, "Hillbillys in a Haunted House"


Gave an effective performance as Spencer Tracy's political enemy in "The Last Hurrah"


Acted alongside Julie Harris and Boris Karloff in the "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation "The Lark" (NBC)


Appeared as Scrooge in the NBC production "The Stingiest Man in Town"


First film in eight years, "Casanova's Big Night", starring Bob Hope; played Hope's valet


Returned to Broadway to play Mr. Sloper in "The Heiress"; received Tony Award


Last Sherlock Holmes films, "Dressed to Kill" and "Terror By Night"


Once again displayed his flair for scoundrels as the ill-fated Lord Rockingham in "Frenchman's Creek"


Again displayed his dueling abilities opposite Tyrone Power in "The Mask of Zorro"


Cast as Richard III in "The Tower of London"


First played Sherlock Holmes in "The Hound of the Baskervilles" and "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes"


Had title role in "Son of Frankenstein"


Cast as the villain Sir Guy of Gisbourne in "The Adventures of Robin Hood", featuring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland


Garnered second Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination for "If I Were King"


Supported Norma Shearer and Leslie Howard as Tybalt in "Romeo and Juliet"; nominated for Best Supporting Actor Oscar


Had featured role in the Technicolor film "The Garden of Allah"


Returned to films after several years: enjoyed landmark villain roles as Mr. Murdstone in George Cukor's "David Copperfield", as Karenin in Clarence Brown's "Anna Karenina" and as Errol Flynn's dueling adversary in Michael Curtiz's "Captain Blood"


First films for several years and talkie debut, "The Last of Mrs. Cheyney", as Norma Shearer's leading man


First notable feature film credit, "Trouping with Ellen"


Film acting debut in the British-produced "The Fruitful Vine"

Served in the London Scottish Regiment and later the Liverpool Scottish Regiment (achieving rank of lieutenant) during WWI

Toured on and off in the 1950s in one-man show "An Evening with Basil Rathbone"

Accepted into a touring company; began training for the stage

Acted opposite Katharine Cornell on Broadway and on tour

Sent to London to receive his education

Following WWI, joined the Shakespeare company at Stratford-upon-Avon that was founded by his cousin

Invited to appear on Broadway; moved to NYC and acted in several shows, most notably "The Swan" (1923) opposite Eva Le Gallienne

Briefly worked in business before embarking on acting career