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Biography

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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 30 January 1871St. Hélier, Isle of Jersey, England, UK
Date of Death 6 April 1949Fleet, Hampshire, England, UK  (influenza)
Birth NameEdward Seymour Hicks

Mini Bio (1)

Seymour Hicks was an extremely successful actor and theatrical impresario who flourished from the late 19th century into the 1930s. He was best remembered for his portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol".

Born on January 30, 1871 on the Isle of Jersey, he first trod the boards as a professional at the age of sixteen. He became a musical-comedy star in London in 1894 in "The Shop Girl", which he followed up with "The Circus Girl" (1896) and "A Runaway Girl" (1898), both of which co-starred his wife Ellaline Terriss, whom he had married in 1893.

After the turn of the century, Hicks began writing musical comedies that he and his wife appeared in. These efforts were met with great success. With his earnings from his successful career, he built the Aldwych Theatre in 1905 and the Seymour Hicks Theatre in 1906. (The Hicks was renamed the Globe Theatre in 1909 and eventually the Gielgud Theatre in 1994.) The first production at the Aldwych, Hicks' own musical comedy "The Beauty of Bath", was a hit. Jerome Kern was the composer and P.G. Wodehouse gained his first paying job as a writer on the musical. Wodeouse would be credited with the lyrics to two songs on another Hicks musical, "The Gay Gordons", in 1907.

(Hicks also was instrumental in "discovering" the young Alfred Hitchcock. When the director Hugh Croise walked off the set of the 1923 short Always Tell Your Wife (1923), based on a play by Hicks, starring Seymour Hicks, and produced by his Seymour Hicks Productions, the actor enlisted Hitchcock to finish directing it. It was only the second directing gig for Hitchcock, and though he was uncredited, it was his first film to be screened. (Hitch's first movie, Number 13 (1922), was never completed.))

By the time of the "Always Tell Your Wife" movie, Hicks had successfully navigated the change in theatrical tastes brought about by the Great War. He had begun writing and appearing in light, escapist comedies and satiric farces. Many of the farces he put on in the 1920s were adapted from French plays. Eventually, as his star waned, he worked in music halls.

It was in 1901 that Hicks first played the role of Ebenezer Scrooge, the role for which he was most famous. He appeared in "A Christmas Carol" thousands of times on stage and made two movie versions of the Charles Dickens classic, a silent film (Old Scrooge (1913)) in 1913 and a talkie (Scrooge (1935)) in 1935.

By the mid-'30s, he was a well-established and highly respected actor and theatrical impresario. He became the 13th actor to become knighted in 1934, which came three years after the French Republic awarded him the Legion of Honor in recognition of his services in promoting French theater in England. (In 1915, he had won the French Croix de Guerre for entertaining Allied troops in France during in World War One and would win his second Croix de Guerre in World War II for the same service to the Allies.)

Seymour Hicks died on April 6, 1949 in Hampshire, England. He was 78 years old. He had continued appearing on stage and in movies until the year before his death.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood

Spouse (1)

Ellaline Terriss (1893 - 6 April 1949) (his death) (1 child)

Trivia (7)

He was the first British actor to appear in France during both World War I and World War II, and he was twice awarded the French Croix de Guerre for these appearances.
The role of Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol" was one of his specialties. He performed it many times onstage and twice on film.
He was awarded Knight Bachelor of the Order of the British Empire in the 1935 King's Honours List for his services to drama.
Hicks first performed the role of Ebenezer Scrooge on the London stage in 1901, at the age of thirty. He received very mixed reviews and was criticized for not being able to portray old age convincingly enough, something he eventually mastered. According to one source, he had played the role onstage more than 2,000 times by the time he first appeared as Scrooge on the screen (in 1913).
He shares with Alastair Sim the distinction of having appeared as Ebenezer Scrooge in more than one unrelated production.
Wrote and produced 64 plays.
Father of actress, Betty Hicks.

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