|Born||in Dorchester, Dorset, England, UK|
|Died||in Rottingdean, East Sussex, England, UK (cancer)|
|Birth Name||Maurice Herbert Evans|
|Height||5' 10" (1.78 m)|
Mini Bio (1)
A grand, robust, highly theatrical British classical actor, Maurice Evans was born on June 3, 1901, in Dorchester, England, the son of a justice of the peace who enjoyed amateur play writing on the side. In fact, his father adapted several adaptations of Thomas Hardy's novels and Evans would often appear in them. Early interest also came in London choirs as a boy tenor.
Making his professional stage debut in 1926, Evans made do during his struggling years by running a cleaning and dyeing store. He earned his first triumph three years later in the play "Journey's End." When his resulting attempts as an early 1930's romantic film lead and/or second lead in White Cargo (1929), Raise the Roof (1930), The Only Girl (1933), The Path of Glory (1934), Bypass to Happiness (1934) and Checkmate (1935) didn't pan out, he refocused on the stage.
Following a season with the Old Vic theatre company, he arrived in America and proceeded to conquer Broadway, establishing himself as one of the world's more illustrious interpreters of Shakespeare. His eloquent, florid portrayals of Romeo, Hamlet, Macbeth and Richard II are considered among the finest interps. He was also deemed a master of Shavian works which included superlative performances in "Major Barbara", "Man and Superman" and "The Devil's Disciple".
As a U.S. citizen (1941), Maurice was placed in charge of the Army Entertainment Section, Central Pacific Theater during WWII and left military service with the rank of major. His post-war career included a handful of character film roles, notably Kind Lady (1951), Androcles and the Lion (1952), Gilbert and Sullivan (1953) (as composer Sir Arthur Sullivan), The War Lord (1965), Rosemary's Baby (1968), and as "Dr. Zaius" in the Planet of the Apes (1968) series.
Films would never be Evans' strong suit, earning much more stature on TV. More importantly, he brought Shakespeare and Shaw to 1950's TV, adapting (and directing) a number of his stage classics including King Richard II (1954), The Taming of the Shrew (1956), Man and Superman (1956), Twelfth Night (1957), The Tempest (1960). He won an Emmy award in 1960 for his Macbeth (1960).
Interestingly, for all his legendary performances under the theatre lights and stirring TV classics, the ever-regal stage master is probably best known to generations for his delightful, Shakespeare-spouting appearances on the Bewitched (1964) TV series, as Elizabeth Montgomery's irascible warlock father. Following guest shots on such popular TV shows as "Medical Center," "The Big Valley," "Columbo," "Streets of San Francisco," "Fantasy Island" and "The Love Boat," he made his final on-camera appearance in the TV movie A Caribbean Mystery (1983).
Evans returned to England to live out his remaining years and died there on March 12, 1989, in a Sussex nursing home of heart failure as a result of a bronchial infection, aged 87.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / firstname.lastname@example.org
Alfred Herbert Evans