Born: June 13, 1892 in Johannesburg, South Africa
Died: July 21, 1967 in New York City, New York, USA
|~Stars of the Photoplay, 1930~
Basil Rathbone began his stage career at the age of eleven, playing bits in Shakespearian
productions. He was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and educated in England. He came to
America in 1922 and created quite a figure on the New York stage. He has appeared on the screen in
"The Last of Mrs. Cheyney" opposite Norma Shearer, and many other pictures. Mr. Rathbone has
black hair and hazel eyes, weighs 165 pounds and is 6 feet, 1 1/2 inches tall. He is divorced from his
first wife, and married to Ouida Bergere, the well-known scenarist.
|~The Los Angeles Times, 1967~
Basil Rathbone's roles ranged from Shakespeare to Sherlock Holmes. His career spanned 56 years,
two continents and all theatrical mediums, but his greatest fame came from his motion picture
portrayals of the fictional British detective Holmes.
Rathbone was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, the son of a British engineer. His mother was a
descendant of King Henry IV. Educated in England, he joined his cousin's theatrical company in 1911.
Rathbone made 16 Sherlock Holmes films between 1939 and 1946, and is widely remembered as the
tall, dignified sleuth who wore a deerstalker cap, puffed a curved pipe and solved mysteries with a
casual: "Elementary my dear Watson."
He reportedly refused lucrative offers to re-create the Holmes role after the 1953 death of his friend
and costar Nigel Bruce, whom he considered the "only man who could play Dr. Watson."
— Art Berman in the Los Angeles Times July 22, 1967