Repton School, Willington Rd, Repton, Derby DE65 6FH, Regno Unito
Ferncliff Cemetery, 280 Secor Rd, Hartsdale, NY 10530, Stati Uniti
Philip St. John Basil Rathbone MC (13 June 1892 – 21 July 1967) was a South African-born English actor. He rose to prominence in the United Kingdom as a Shakespearean stage actor and went on to appear in more than 70 films, primarily costume dramas, swashbucklers and, occasionally, horror films.
Rathbone frequently portrayed suave villains or morally ambiguous characters, such as Mr. Murdstone in David Copperfield (1935) and Sir Guy of Gisbourne in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). His most famous role, however, was heroic—that of Sherlock Holmes in fourteen Hollywood films made between 1939 and 1946 and in a radio series. His later career included roles on Broadway, as well as self-ironic film and television work. He received a Tony Award in 1948 as Best Actor in a Play. He was also nominated for two Academy Awards and was honored with three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Rathbone married actress Ethel Marion Foreman in 1914. They had one son, Rodion Rathbone (1915–1996), who had a brief Hollywood career under the name John Rodion. The couple divorced in 1926. In 1924 he was involved in a brief relationship with Eva Le Gallienne. In 1927, he married writer Ouida Bergère; the couple adopted a daughter, Cynthia Rathbone (1939–1969). Their own baby had died some 11 years previously. The American actor Jackson Rathbone is a distant relation (a third cousin, several times removed). Basil Rathbone was a first cousin once-removed of the British campaigning independent MP, Eleanor Rathbone.
During Rathbone's Hollywood career, Ouida Rathbone, who was also her husband's business manager, developed a reputation for hosting elaborate and expensive parties in their home, with many prominent and influential people on the guest lists. This trend inspired a joke in The Ghost Breakers (1940), a film in which Rathbone does not appear: During a tremendous thunderstorm in New York City, Bob Hope observes that "Basil Rathbone must be throwing a party". Actress Mrs. Patrick Campbell described Rathbone as "two profiles pasted together". As cited in the same autobiography, Mrs. Campbell would later refer to him as, "a folded umbrella taking elocution lessons."
He was the cousin of the eminent actor Frank Benson, to whom he bore a strong resemblance.
He was a devout Episcopalian and a member of the Episcopal Actors Guild.
Rathbone died suddenly of a heart attack in New York City on 21 July 1967 at age 75. He is interred in a crypt in the Shrine of Memories Mausoleum at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.