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Sydney Greenstreet Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (12) | Personal Quotes (1) | Salary (1)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 27 December 1879Sandwich, Kent, England, UK
Date of Death 18 January 1954Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA  (effects of diabetes and nephritis)
Birth NameSydney Hughes Greenstreet
Height 5' 9" (1.75 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Sydney Greenstreet's father was a leather merchant with eight children. Sydney left home at age 18 to make his fortune as a Ceylon tea planter, but drought forced him out of business and back to England. He managed a brewery and, to escape boredom, took acting lessons. His stage debut was as a murderer in a 1902 production of "Sherlock Holmes". From then on he appeared in numerous plays in England and the US, working through most of the 1930s with Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne at the Theatre Guild. His parts ranged from musical comedy to Shakespeare. His film debut, occurring when he was 62 years old and weighing nearly 300 pounds, was as Kasper Guttman in the classic The Maltese Falcon (1941), with Humphrey Bogart and Peter Lorre. He teamed with Lorre in eight more movies after that. In eight years he made 24 films, all while beset by diabetes and Bright's disease. In 1949 he retired from films, and died four years later. He was 75.

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

Spouse (1)

Dorothy Marie Ogden (12 May 1918 - 18 January 1954) (his death) (1 child)

Trivia (12)

Interred at Forest Lawn, Glendale, California, USA, in the Utility Columbarium area of the Great Mausoleum (not accessible for public viewing).
Starred as the title character on NBC Radio's "The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe" (1950-1951).
Son, John Ogden Greenstreet died March 4, 2004 at age 84.
His film career lasted a mere eight years and ended more than fifty-five years ago, yet he is one of the best remembered and most recognizable of all film actors.
Author Tennessee Williams wrote his one-act play "The Last of My Solid Gold Watches" with Sydney Greenstreet in mind, and dedicated it to him.
Of the only 23 movies he appeared in, nine were with co-star Peter Lorre.
His little-known Cyrus Redblock role was recycled into another same-name character for the series Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987), episode "The Big Good-Bye". Played fittingly by the late Lawrence Tierney.
Partially inspired the appearance of Jabba the Hut in the "Star Wars" series. When asked what the intergalactic gangster should look like by the designer, George Lucas replied, "A big blob, a huge mass of matter." The designer immediately thought of Greenstreet in Casablanca (1942). At one point during the production, a fez was placed on the final Jabba's head, to make him look like Greenstreet.
Greenstreet had a great theatrical career before making his film debut in "The Maltese Falcon." He is reported to have acted in every major Shakespearean play and committed 12,000 lines of Shakepearean verse to memory.
While appearing at Bryn Mawr College in '"As You Like it," his girth caused him to crash through the floor. after he emerged in sight of the audience, he delivered his next line without breaking stride.
His characters in ''The Maltese Falcon'' and ''Casablanca'' were the inspiration for the Star Wars character Jabba The Hutt.
Karen Burroughs Hannsberry has a short biography of him in her book "Bad Boys: The Actors of Film Noir".

Personal Quotes (1)

The lens is the actor's best critic... showing his mind more clearly than on the stage. You can get wonderful cooperation out of the lens if you are true, but God help you if you are not. Pictures are much harder to do than the theater... You're at the mercy of the camera angles and the piecemeal technique.

Salary (1)

Casablanca (1942) $4,000 /week

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