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Ivor Novello Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (2) | Trivia (8) | Personal Quotes (3)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 15 January 1893Cardiff, Wales, UK
Date of Death 6 March 1951Aldwych, London, England, UK  (coronary thrombosis)
Birth NameDavid Ivor Davies
Height 5' 11" (1.81 m)

Mini Bio (2)

While his special gifts seemed to lie in music and composing, the dapper, multi-talented Welsh actor Ivor Novello (ne David Ivor Davies), with his leading-man good looks, had a strong affinity for the camera.

Born in Cardiff, Wales, in 1893, he was the son of a tax-collector father and a well-known singing teacher mother. His prodigious musical skills were evident fairly early. Trained at the Magdalen College Choir School on a soprano scholarship, he soon began writing songs under the name Ivor Novello. In his overall career, Novello would write over 250 songs, a large percentage of them uplifting, touchingly sentimental and war-inspired morale boosters. He moved with his family to London in 1914, and became an overnight celebrity after composing the patriotic World War I standard "Keep the Home Fires Burning," which was introduced much later in the film The Lost Squadron (1932).

Novello then switched to pursue acting and debuted with a role in The Call of the Blood (1921) [The Call of the Blood], a French romantic melodrama which earned him promising notices. Other roles that ensured his status as a screen idol followed, including The Man Without Desire (1923), which he produced. He wrote and appeared in the successful 1924 play "The Rat," which transferred quite well to film the following year (The Rat (1925)). This also inspired two sequels -- The Triumph of the Rat (1926) and The Return of the Rat (1929).

The actor's film peak occurred headlining two of Alfred Hitchcock's early suspense thrillers, serving as the put-upon protagonist in both the silent classic The Lodger (1927) and the lesser-received When Boys Leave Home (1927). Novello had a fine, well-modulated speaking voice that transferred easily to talkies. Into the 1930s, he wrote and starred in Symphony in Two Flats (1930) and went on to remake The Phantom Fiend (1932) successfully. During this time he also wrote the dialogue for Tarzan the Ape Man (1932), the first of the jungle series to star Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan. Novello's last film was Autumn Crocus (1934), after which he decided to devote himself full time to music and theater.

He went on to earn rave reviews for his opulent, romantically melodramatic stagings of "Glamorous Night" (1935), "The Dancing Years" (1939) and "Perchance to Dream" (1945). He wrote eight musicals in all and appeared in six of them, all of them non-singing parts.

His longtime companion of 35 years, actor Robert Andrews, was with Novello when Novello died suddenly on March 6, 1951 of a coronary thrombosis only hours after performing in his own play "The King's Rhapsody." Hugely popular in his time (though virtually unknown in America), Novello's lasting influence on film, theater and especially music cannot be denied.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Ivor was described by some who knew him in Cardiff as a truly beautiful man. Ivor, or David as he was then known, made his first public appearances as a pub and working men's club pianist and singer in and around the Cardiff area. His angelic voice and spirit allegedly created a great deal of envy amongst some men, certainly in Wales and very possibly America too.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Otter 17

Trivia (8)

One of the most famous matinée idols, writers and composers of the British stage during the early part of the 20th century. He played the title role in the first London production of Ferenc Molnar's "Liliom", the Hungarian play from which the American musical "Carousel" was adapted.
Portrayed by Jeremy Northam in the largely fictional Gosford Park (2001).
He served in the Royal Naval Air Service during WWI and survived two crash landings.
He was jailed for eight weeks in 1944 for misusing petrol coupons during a WWII rationing period. Some say he never got over the public humiliation.
Laurence Olivier, Noël Coward and poet/writer Siegfried Sassoon were among his social circle.
The internationally prestigious "Ivor Novello Awards" are prizes given out annually by the record industry to British publishers, composers and arrangers.
On 27th June 2009 a 7' tall bronze statue of Ivor Novello was unveiled near the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, Wales. The statue shows Novello seated at work on a manuscript. It was created by Peter Nicholas, a celebrated Welsh sculptor who lives in Swansea, and was paid for by public subscription. Apart from a plaque on the house where he was born, it is the only memorial to Ivor Novello in the city of his birth. There are various memorials to Ivor in London including a "blue plaque" between the Novello Theatre and the Waldorf Hotel marking the entrance to the flat above the theatre where he lived until his death in 1951. There is a memorial at Golders Green Crematorium where he was cremated, a plaque in St Paul's Church, Covent Garden (the Actors' Church) and a memorial in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral, London where his ashes were placed.
To honor the work and memory of Mr. Novello, since 1956 the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA), honour and reward excellence in British and Irish songwriting and composing by presenting The Ivor Novello Award. The award has been sponsored by PRS for Music since 1974.

Personal Quotes (3)

The beautiful heroine might be thinking, How long must I bury my face in this wretched man's shoulder?
Things which do not require effort of some sort are seldom worth having.
There's something Vichy about the French.

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