Robert Morley Poster


Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (2) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (16) | Personal Quotes (5)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 26 May 1908Semley, Wiltshire, England, UK
Date of Death 3 June 1992Wargrave, Berkshire, England, UK  (stroke)
Birth NameRobert Adolph Wilton Morley
Height 6' 0½" (1.84 m)

Mini Bio (2)

English character actor Robert Morley was educated in England, Germany, France and Italy. His family planned for him to go into the diplomatic service but he liked the idea of acting more. After studying at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London he appeared on the London stage in 1929 and in 1938 he first appeared on Broadway as the lead in Oscar Wilde. His film debut was as Louis XVI with Norma Shearer in Marie Antoinette (1938). A regular series of supporting roles kept him occupied and he made regular appearances on TV as an exceptionally witty guest on various talk shows.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Bushy-browed, triple-chinned and plummy-voiced English actor and raconteur of wide girth and larger-than-life personality. The son of a career army officer, Morley was expected to join the diplomatic corps. As a 'compromise', he tried his hand as a beer salesman. However, bitten by the acting bug since first performing in a kindergarten play, he prevailed over the wishes of his parents and enrolled at RADA. He made his theatrical debut at London's Strand Theatre, in a 1929 production of "Treasure Island", playing the part of a pirate for $5 a week. During the next few years, Morley honed his craft by touring regional theatres, writing or co-writing the occasional play, and, when money was hard to come by, selling vacuum cleaners. For a while, he managed his own repertory company in tandem with fellow actor Peter Bull in the Cornish seaside resort of Perranporth. Morley eventually returned to the London stage in a much acclaimed performance as "Oscar Wilde", a role he took to Broadway in October 1938.

On the strength of this, he was invited to Hollywood and garnered an Oscar nomination for his first screen role as the effete, simple-minded monarch Louis XVI, in MGM's lavish production of Marie Antoinette (1938). Back in Britain, he then played the armaments millionaire Andrew Undershaft in George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara (1941), a performance praised by Bosley Crowther as "deliciously satanic, profoundly suave and tender" (NY Times, May 15 1941). Happily managing to avoid military participation in the Second World War, Morley spent the remainder of the decade acting in such prestigious theatrical showpieces as "The Man Who Came to Dinner", and as star and co-author of "Edward, My Son". His defining performance in the play led the critic Brooks Atkinson to comment on his "studied authority ... which might sound like an affectation in an actor of inferior style"(NY Times, June 4 1992).

Morley acted on screen in a variety of very British, sometimes eccentric, sometimes giddy, often pompous, but rarely dislikeable characters. At his best, he was the expatriate Elmer Almayer, at once pitiable and overbearing, in Outcast of the Islands (1951); the Sydney Greenstreet parody Peterson in John Huston's Beat the Devil (1953); as another languid monarch, George III in the colourful period drama Beau Brummell (1954); as Oscar Wilde (1960), recreating his original stage triumph; and as a food critic in the hugely enjoyable Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? (1978). He also performed occasionally in TV movies and miniseries. His wit was much appreciated on chat shows, both in Britain and the U.S., where was a frequent and popular guest. He was also the voice of British Airways in commercials of the 70's and early 80's, promising "we'll take good care of you" -- something he did with his acting for over half a century. Robert Morley was awarded a CBE in 1957. He died as the result of a stroke in Reading, Berkshire, at the age of 84.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: I.S.Mowis

Spouse (1)

Joan Buckmaster (23 February 1940 - 3 June 1992) (his death) (3 children)

Trivia (16)

His son, Sheridan Morley, was a distinguished London Theatre critic and writer.
Wife, Joan, was the daughter of Gladys Cooper
Children with Joan Buckmaster, Sheridan Morley, Annabel Morley, Wilton Morley.
He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1957 Queen's New Year Honours List for his services to drama.
When asked to give a talk at his old school, Wellington, he said the only reason he would return to the school would be to burn it down.
Was among those offered the cameo part of Cryus West (eventually played by Wilfrid Hyde-White) in The Cat and the Canary (1978).
He allegedly declined a knighthood in the 1975 Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to drama.
Stepuncle-in-law of Emma Hardy and Justine Hardy.
Brother-in-law of John Buckmaster.
Stepbrother-in-law of Sally Pearson, Robert Hardy and John Merivale.
Upon his death, his remains were interred at St. Mary's Churchyard, Mill Green, Station Road, Wargrave, Berkshire, England.
In the last years of his life, he became somewhat estranged from his son, Sheridan Morley, following the latter's divorce from his first wife, Margaret. Robert Morley was especially fond of this daughter-in-law, a well-known novelist who was also his biographer.
His love of horse-racing was famous for decades, and he died on Derby Day.
Is one of 13 actors who have received an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of a real-life king. The others in chronological order are Charles Laughton for The Private Life of Henry VIII. (1933), Basil Rathbone for If I Were King (1938), Laurence Olivier for Henry V (1944) and Richard III (1955), José Ferrer for Joan of Arc (1948), Yul Brynner for The King and I (1956), John Gielgud for Becket (1964), Peter O'Toole for Becket (1964) and The Lion in Winter (1968), Robert Shaw for A Man for All Seasons (1966), Richard Burton for Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), Kenneth Branagh for Henry V (1989), Nigel Hawthorne for The Madness of King George (1994), and Colin Firth for The King's Speech (2010).
He got the part of Cedric Page in "Topkapi" after Orson Welles had declined it. Before hiring Morley, however, director Jules Dassin interviewed Peter Bull (one of Morley's closest friends) for the part, on the recommendation of Peter Sellers, who had recently worked with Bull in "Dr. Strangelove", and was being sought by Dassin for another leading role in the film. Bull later said that he knew as soon as he met Dassin that he had no hope of getting the part, and that Dassin was merely going through the motions to appease Sellers (who later dropped out of the project anyway). When Morley signed for the part, Bull cheekily told him that he'd got it because "I turned down the part months ago.".
His closest friends were the actors Peter Bull and Llewellyn Rees and the writer Sewell Stokes.

Personal Quotes (5)

It is a great help for a man to be in love with himself. For an actor it is absolutely essential.
Show me the man who has enjoyed his schooldays and I will show you a bully and a bore.
Anyone who works is a fool. I don't work; I merely inflict myself on the public.
Actors live in a cocoon of praise. They never meet the people who don't like them.
If you want me to do a film its £500,000. But if you want me to read the script first its £750,000.

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