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George Sanders Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (4) | Trade Mark (4) | Trivia (21) | Personal Quotes (10)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 3 July 1906St. Petersburg, Russian Empire [now Russia]
Date of Death 25 April 1972Castelldefels, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain  (suicide)
Birth NameGeorge Henry Sanders
Height 6' 3½" (1.92 m)

Mini Bio (1)

George Sanders was born of English parents in St. Petersburg, Russia. He worked in a Birmingham textile mill, in the tobacco business and as a writer in advertising. He entered show business in London as a chorus boy, going from there to cabaret, radio and theatrical understudy. His film debut, in 1936, was as Curly Randall in Find the Lady (1936). His U.S. debut, the same year, with Twentieth Century-Fox, was as Lord Everett Stacy in Lloyd's of London (1936). During the late 1930s and early 1940s he made a number of movies as Simon Templar--the Saint--and as Gay Lawrence, the Falcon. He played Nazis (Maj. Quive-Smith in Fritz Lang's Man Hunt (1941)), royalty (Charles II in Otto Preminger's Forever Amber (1947)), and biblical roles (Saran of Gaza in Cecil B. DeMille's Samson and Delilah (1949)). He won the 1950 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as theatre critic Addison De Witt in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's All About Eve (1950). In 1957 he hosted a TV series, The George Sanders Mystery Theater (1957). He continued to play mostly villains and charming heels until his suicide in 1972.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Spouse (4)

Magda Gabor (5 December 1970 - 1971) (divorced)
Benita Hume (10 February 1959 - 1 November 1967) (her death)
Zsa Zsa Gabor (2 April 1949 - 1 April 1954) (divorced)
Susan Larson (1940 - 1949) (divorced)

Trade Mark (4)

Often played the "cad" in his films, such as Jack Favell in Rebecca (1940)
Often played purring, sinister villains
Skill at delivering cutting lines
Deep, strong voice

Trivia (21)

Brother of the actor Tom Conway. The two appeared together in The Falcon's Brother (1942), in which they portrayed -- appropriately enough -- brothers, and which was Sanders' final appearance as "The Falcon", a role he had grown tired of. In this entry, Sanders hands off the role to Conway, who took it up for nine subsequent films through 1946.
Sanders told David Niven in 1937, that he intended to commit suicide when he got older. In 1972, he fulfilled his promise, leaving this note: "Dear World, I am leaving because I am bored. I feel I have lived long enough. I am leaving you with your worries in this sweet cesspool. Good luck.".
After being convinced by a woman he had taken up with, George Sanders sold his beloved house in Majorca. Soon after, he checked into a hotel in Barcelona, and two days later, his body was discovered next to five empty tubes of Nembutal.
George is also joined by his real life brother in the crime drama Death of a Scoundrel (1956) (again playing his screen brother).
First got involved in acting when a secretary in the same advertising firm suggested it. That secretary was Greer Garson.
Withdrew from the lead in the Broadway-bound musical version of "The Man Who Came to Dinner" called "Sherry!" (with Dolores Gray) during its Boston tryout in March 1967 when his wife Benita Hume was diagnosed with bone cancer. He was replaced by Clive Revill. The show was a quick failure on Broadway, and Hume passed away that November.
Featured in a crime novel, "Crime On My Hands", in which he solved a murder on a film set. The book was ghost-written by Falcon screenwriter Craig Rice. The Author's Dedication reads "To Craig Rice, without whom it would not have been possible.".
Possessed of a fine baritone singing voice, often raised at parties, Sanders released an album entitled "The George Sanders Touch: Songs for the Lovely Lady" (ABC-Paramount: 1958), today a much sought-after collector's item.
Credited as the author of the mystery novel "Stranger at Home". Book was actually ghostwritten by Leigh Brackett. Book dedication reads, "To Leigh Brackett, whom I have never met".
Is portrayed by Neil Hunt in Norma Jean & Marilyn (1996).
Was one of two stars of the "Pink Panther" series to commit suicide. Capucine, who played Inspector Clouseau's wife in The Pink Panther (1963), killed herself in 1990.
His ex-wives Zsa Zsa Gabor and Magda Gabor were sisters.
His mother Margaret Sanders, his third wife Benita Hume, and his brother Tom Conway all died in the year 1967.
He and his ex-wife Zsa Zsa Gabor both played "Special Guest Villains" in Batman (1966).
Prior to his casting in The Jungle Book (1967) animator Milt Kahl drew several drawings of Shere Khan looking quite haughty. One of the individuals who looked at the drawings immediately remarked on how similar they were to Sanders.
During his college days, George enjoyed a reputation as a good swimmer and boxer, as well as beginning to cultivate his image as a bounder.
His Hollywood career began at 20th Century Fox (1936-38). From there, he went to RKO (1939-41), back to Fox (1942-43 and 1947-50) and MGM (1954-55). He worked for most of the great directors, including Hitchcock, Lang and Sirk.
His first steady employment was in the tobacco industry, travelling through Brazil and Argentina. He was sacked from jobs twice: the first time, after turning up at his boss's wedding in a drunken stupor; the second time, after having fought a pistol duel over a paramour.
His father was a rope manufacturer and tobacconist, and his mother a well-known horticulturist.
Famously stated, that he loathed giving interviews, because he did not get paid for them; never gave autographs; and rather enjoyed being perceived as "a rude and disagreeable person".
Educated at Brighton College.

Personal Quotes (10)

A woman, a dog and a walnut tree, the more you beat them, the better they be.
Acting is like roller-skating. Once you know how to do it, it is neither stimulating nor exciting.
I am not one of those people who would rather act than eat. Quite the reverse. My own desire as a boy was to retire. That ambition has never changed.
I don't ask questions. I just take their money and use it for things that really interest me.
I was beastly but never coarse. A high-class sort of heel.
I never really thought I'd make the grade. And let's face it, I haven't.
The important thing for a star is to have an interesting face. He doesn't have to move it very much. Editing and camerawork can always produce the desired illusion that a performance is being given.
Where on the screen I am invariably a son of a bitch, in life I am a dear, dear boy.
[on being asked how he felt about his divorce from Zsa Zsa Gabor] Like a squeezed lemon.
[to Rex Red's observation, "I understand you were a great fan of Tyrone Power"] Who told you that? He died on the set of "Solomon and Sheba". But he was just someone I knew. One knew lots of people. Every film is like an ocean voyage, a transatlantic crossing. You swear you will meet each other again. But you never do.

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