Leslie Howard Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (2)  | Family (2)  | Trivia (33)  | Personal Quotes (12)  | Salary (1)

Overview (4)

Born in Forest Hill, London, England, UK
Died in Bay of Biscay  (casualty of war)
Birth NameLeslie Howard Steiner
Height 5' 10½" (1.79 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Leslie Howard Steiner was born in London, to Lilian (Blumberg) and Ferdinand "Frank" Steiner. His father was a Hungarian Jewish immigrant, and his English mother was of German Jewish, and mostly English, descent. Leslie went to Dulwich College. After school, he worked as a bank clerk until the outbreak of World War I, when he went into the army. In 1917, diagnosed as shell-shocked, he was invalided out and advised to take up acting as therapy. In a few years, his name was famous on the stages of London and New York. He made his first movie in 1914 (The Heroine of Mons (1914)). He became known as the perfect Englishman (slim, tall, intellectual and sensitive), a part that he played in many movies, and a part women would dream about. His first sound movie came in 1930, Outward Bound (1930), an adaptation of the stage play in which he starred. In Never the Twain Shall Meet (1931) and Smilin' Through (1932), he played the Englishman role to the hilt. His screen persona could perhaps best be summed up by his role as Sir Percy Blakeney in The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934), a foppish member of society.

It was Howard who insisted that Humphrey Bogart get the role of Duke Mantee in The Petrified Forest (1936), a role that Bogart had played in the stage production. As he became more successful, he also became quite picky about which roles he would do, and usually performed in only two films a year. In 1939, he played the character that will always be associated with him, that of Ashley Wilkes, the honor-bound disillusioned intellectual Southern gentleman in Gone with the Wind (1939).

However, war clouds were gathering over England, and he devoted all his energy on behalf of the war effort. He directed films, wrote articles and made radio broadcasts. He died in 1943, when the KLM plane he was in was shot down by German fighters over the Bay of Biscay.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Educated at Dulwich College where he excelled at at polo, tennis and cricket. His first job was in a bank. He joined the cavalry in WWI and served with the 20th Hussars at Bethune, where he was wounded. Finding banking dull after his war service he tried to earn a living as a writer or actor. After his debut in 'Peg 'O My Heart' in 1917 he became popular on the stages of London and Broadway with plays such as 'Outward Bound' and 'Berkley Square' which he re enacted on the screen. His career was studded with memorable performances such as the foppish aristocrat who was secretly the 'Scarlet Pimpernel, the star crossed lover in 'Romeo and Juliet' Henry Higgins in 'Pygmalion', He had a strong friendship with Humphrey Bogart, with whom he made the stage and film versions of 'The Petrified Forrest, so much so that Bogart named his daughter Leslie in memory of him.As soon as he could, after, completing Gone With the Wind, he returned to England to produce documentaries for the government and aided propaganda for British war effort. In May 43 the British Council sent him to Spain and Portugal for lectures to offset the Nazi propaganda. On June 1st 1943 he left Portugal on a commercial plane for London but never arrived.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tonyman 5

Family (2)

Spouse Ruth Evelyn Jessie Martin (March 1916 - 1 June 1943)  (his death)  (2 children)
Relatives Michael Howard (niece or nephew)

Trivia (33)

Died while a passenger on board British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) Flight #777-A, a Douglas Aircraft DC-3 named "Ibis", with four crew members and 13 other passengers, on a flight from Portela Airport in Lisbon, Portugal, to Whitchurch Airport near Bristol, England, on June 1, 1943 when it was attacked and shot down by eight German Junkers Ju 88 fighter planes of KG 40 off the north coast of Spain. It crashed into the Bay of Biscay killing all 17 on board.
Father of actor Ronald Howard, who appeared with him in 'Pimpernel' Smith (1941).
Oldest of five siblings: Dorice Howard; casting director Irene Howard; Jimmy Howard; and actor Arthur Howard.
Nephew of director Wilfred Noy.
Father of Leslie Ruth Dale-Harris (1924-2013). At 17 years old, she married Robert Dale-Harris, a chartered accountant. They lived in Toronto, Canada, with three children. In 1960 she published a biography of her father, "A Quite Remarkable Father".
Uncle of actor Alan Howard.
Humphrey Bogart was so grateful at Howard's insistence that he repeat his stage performance in the film of The Petrified Forest (1936), the role that proved to be his big break in movies, that he named his daughter Leslie in Howard's honor.
His death was mentioned in the World War II film Bright Victory (1951).
In 1934, he accepted the Oscar for "Best Actor in a Leading Role" on behalf of Charles Laughton, who was not present at the awards ceremony.
On board his ill-fated plane were Quirinus Tepas (pilot), D. de Koning (second officer), Cornelis van Brugge (radio operator), Engbertus Rosevink (flight engineer); also Francis German Cowlrick (elderly engineer), Wilfrid Jacob Berthold Israel (British Secret Service agent), Gordon Thompson Maclean (British Foreign Office), Ivan James Sharp (mining engineer; specialist in tungsten), Tyrell Milmay Shervington (Lisbon manager of Shell-Mex Corporation), Kenneth Stonehouse (Washington correspondent for Reuters), Evelyn Stonehouse (wife of Kenneth Stonehouse), Cecilia Amelia Falla Paton (on way to secretarial job at a consulate in England), Rotha Violet Lettie Hutcheon (mother of Carola and Petra), Petra Hutcheon (11 years old), Carola Hutcheon (2 years old), and Alfred Tregear Chenhalls (his business manager and traveling companion).
Disclosed in 1944, Leslie Howard left an estate totaling $251,000. The majority was held in trust to his widow, son and daughter. Howard had also left a Beverly Hills home to his secretary, Violette Cunnington (with whom he was rumored to be having an affair), but she had died six months before his own death.
Leslie was in a relationship with Violette Cunnington from 1938 until her death in 1942 of cerebral meningitis.
Got into a blackout automobile accident in the winter of 1939. Howard's jaw was fractured, three front teeth broken, and his forehead and chest were injured.
In 1936 attended as keynote speaker an American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) reception to promote Talking Book machines.
1939 'Reading Eagle' newspaper purported Howard was a "buttermilk addict.".
According to a story in the "Southeast Missourian" newspaper, Howard could be a difficult man to track down, wandering off the set between takes. One day Tay Garnett, while directing Stand-In (1937), finally had several men look for him when he could not be found; they found him and, with the gentleness due a star, tied him up, clapping leg irons on him. Garnett put him on "probation", but gave Howard a cowbell and ordered him to bong the bell when on a stroll. It wasn't long before a scene was ready for shooting, but, again, no Howard. Soon enough they heard the cowbell, though, in a distant corner of the sound stage up in the catwalks. Converging on the sound, they found only the bell with a string attached. They traced the string over rafters back to the lighted set where "Stand-In" was supposed to be shooting. There sat Howard, yanking at the string, plaintively indignant about the absence of director Garnett.
Among other illnesses during his long career, he had laryngitis in May 1924 & December 1930, appendicitis May 1928, and an infected knee in July 1935.
In August 1936, Leslie canceled airplane reservations from Hollywood to New York because an astrologer told him it would be unlucky to fly that week.
Leslie first began writing when he was at Mr Bolland's prep-school in Upper Norwood (England). One Christmas term a play was performed by the schoolboys at Mr Bolland's, written by Leslie -- in Latin, of all things -- at the age of thirteen.
Leslie's father, Ferdinand "Frank" Steiner, was born on April 28th 1862 in Szigetvar, Hungary, to Cacilie Bodansky and Berthold Samuel Steiner, who were both Jewish, and subjects of Austria. Leslie's mother, Lilian (née Bloomberg), was English. Lilian's own paternal grandfather, Ludwig Alexander George Blumberg, was a German Jewish immigrant, while Lilian's other grandparents were all of English origin.
On February 24th 1920, he changed his name from Leslie Howard Steiner to Leslie Howard, by deed poll, which was enrolled in the Central Office of the Supreme Court of Judicature on March 3rd 1920.
With Adrian Brunel, founded production company Minerva Films.
Self-described laissez-faire Liberal and Democrat.
In the parallel universe featured in Quest for Love (1971), Howard was still alive and still acting in 1971 as World War II never occurred.
He was offered a role in Queen Christina with Greta Garbo but turned it down.
Fell in love with Merle Oberon.
Having performed in "The Petrified Forest" on stage he was then cast in the film version but after he heard that the studio were intending to cast Edward G Robinson in the role that Humphrey Bogart had played on stage, he wired Jack Warner saying that "If you have Robinson you don't have me". Warner then signed Bogart.
Was in five Oscar Best Picture nominees: Smilin' Through (1932), Romeo and Juliet (1936), Pygmalion (1938), Gone with the Wind (1939) and 49th Parallel (1941), and a narrator in another, In Which We Serve (1942). Only Gone with the Wind won in the category.
In June 2018, he was honored as Turner Classic Movies Star of the Month.
He was a literate man who wrote articles for The New Yorker and Vanity Fair and had ambitions of moving into productions.
Leslie Howard was a reluctant addition to the cast of 'Gone With the Wind' saying that Ashley Wilkes was too weak a character but Selznick promised that he could be associate producer as well as star in 'Intermezzo'.
He has appeared in one film that has been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: Gone with the Wind (1939).
According to Winston Churchill's WW2 memoirs, the reason the Nazis shot down Howard's plane is that someone thought they had seen Churchill get aboard (even though he never flew commercial during the war).

Personal Quotes (12)

[Describing one of his Gone with the Wind (1939) costumes]: I look like that sissy doorman at the Beverly Wilshire, a fine thing at my age.
I hate the damn part. I'm not nearly beautiful or young enough for Ashley, and it makes me sick being fixed up to look attractive.
I feel the pressure from other people coming at me. When shots don't fall for one person I think it is a domino effect.
What the actor is in private life, he is to a large extent on the stage, because he cannot conceal himself and his true personality from his audience.
Britain's destiny, on the other hand, has been to uphold tolerance in religion, thought, speech, and race--the mainspring of democracy. We have still far to travel on the road to true democracy, but only the Germans have made no progress in this direction. Britain, with her great gifts and strange inconsistencies had helped populate five continents and shown that the white man and the colored man can live in peace together. We have also taken the Roman ideal of just administration, the Greek ideal of democracy and freedom of art, and the French tradition of the family unit, along with the Norse courage and loyalty and the Christian faith. Like all people, we have made some mistakes and have committed some crimes during our history, but we can say that we have built something worthy of our defense. We can look at our record without shame.
Don't think I am not homesick for America. I say 'homesick' advisedly because I am a man with two homes -- America, which gave me hospitality for many happy years, and where my daughter was born; and my native England.
I looked around for some kind of contribution I could make -- some kind of war work I could do. For a long time it was very difficult. There were millions of fellows about my age all looking for the same thing. Desperate, I went to see Duff Cooper and asked him if I should go back in the army. I was in the Northamptonshire Yeomanry in the last war. It's mechanized now, but I daresay I could polish a tank as well as groom a horse. He said, "You should stick to your own job. I think you can be more useful at that. And gradually I have, so to speak, fallen on my wartime feet.
In the love of a good woman you have everything, all the wonders of the ages, the brown skinned girls who inflame your senses with their play; the cool, yellow-haired women who entice and escape you; the gentle ones who serve you; the slender ones who torment you; the mothers who bore and suckled you;--all women whom God created out of the teeming fullness of the earth are yours in the love of one women.
I am a tremendous believer in the power of broadcasting. ... I don't believe anything is too good for the public. ... In my own experience I have proved that the cinema public is as ready to patronize the work of Bernard Shaw, the music of William Walton and film technique at its most subtle.
[July 1932 interview with Schenectady Gazette regarding persistent rumors of leaving film] Statements derogatory to talkies credited to me are absurd. I like movies and their potentialities. I think Hollywood is making definite strides forward when it produces a 'Grand Hotel' and a 'Strange Interlude'. The sole argument I have had with the producers concerned my own parts. I make my living by public approval of my work, and can hardly be blamed, I am sure, for having my own ideas as to the roles I can do best. That these differences are adjusted is indicated by my presence here. A great deal of the misunderstanding which has arisen comes from my recent departure from Hollywood. It was assumed that I would not be back. That is silly. I never expected to give up the stage, but never again do I plan to be on it exclusively. I intend to commute between New York and Hollywood as long as both mediums still want me. Any actor hates to leave the stage, for there he is supreme, the most important individual. On the screen he takes second place to the director. This is essential in the film art, and the actor agrees, but he can hardly be blamed, can he, for returning to his first love? I intend to return to the stage, periodically, believing that my experience in each medium will help me in the other. The screen gives me a lot of pleasure because of its peculiar and exclusive impressionistic power. Dialog, words, are all important on the stage. On the screen words are only part of a composite combination with visual factors which give remarkable effect different from those possible on the stage. In the small, routine, program pictures their appearance indicates the expansion we many expect of the screen art in coming years.
[July 1933] I can't think of anything more exciting than trying to be an actor.
The truth is that to enjoy acting one must be an exhibitionist at heart, one must revel in those exposures of the emotions which would be agonizing to a shy or reserved person. All the great actors have been and are exhibitionists. It is easy and pleasurable for them to shout, to weep, to tear their hair, to laugh, to make love. They enjoy it and they make their audience enjoy it. They are the ideal actors. As a boy the possibility of being an actor never even occurred to me. Nor could it have occurred to anybody who knew the shy and inarticulate youth that I was. I wanted to write. I felt I could express myself on paper; alone in a room I felt articulate and creative. But I was also lazy, a thing a writer never dare be. Application is, I am convinced, the first rule for authors. Then, mysteriously, a part in a play offered itself -- at time when to earn a living was a prime motive of existence. And then another part in another play. And gradually the miracle took place. The metamorphosis of a nervous, inhibited, agoraphobic individual who had other ambitions altogether into a quite successful actor.

Salary (1)

49th Parallel (1941) £2,000 (for 2 weeks)

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