John Gielgud

Actor + Director and Producer
Born Apr 14, 1904

Sir Arthur John Gielgud, OM, CH was an English actor, director, and producer. A descendant of the renowned Terry acting family, he achieved early international acclaim for his youthful, emotionally expressive Hamlet, which broke box office records on Broadway in 1937. He was known for his beautiful speaking of verse and particularly for his warm and expressive voice, which his colleague Sir Alec Guinness likened to "a silver trumpet muffled in silk".… Read More

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1904 Birth Born in 1904.
1912 8 Years Old In 1912, aged eight, Gielgud went to Hillside preparatory school in Surrey as his elder brothers had done. … Read More


1921 17 Years Old 1 More Event
…  On leaving Westminster in 1921, Gielgud persuaded his reluctant parents to let him take drama lessons on the understanding that if he was not self-supporting by the age of twenty-five he would seek an office post. … Read More
1922 18 Years Old Gielgud's first substantial engagement came through his family. In 1922 his cousin Phyllis Neilson-Terry invited him to tour in J. B. Fagan's The Wheel, as understudy, bit-part player and assistant stage manager, an invitation he accepted. … Read More
1923 19 Years Old 1 More Event
Gielgud was awarded a scholarship to the academy and trained there throughout 1923 under Kenneth Barnes, Helen Haye and Claude Rains. … Read More


Gielgud was in the Oxford company in January and February 1924, from October 1924 to the end of January 1925, and in August 1925. … Read More
1925 - 1929 5 More Events
1930 26 Years Old 1 More Event
In April 1930 Gielgud finished the season playing Hamlet. … Read More
1931 27 Years Old Returning to the West End, Gielgud starred in JBPriestley's The Good Companions, adapted for the stage by the author and Edward Knoblock. The production ran from May 1931 for 331 performances, and Gielgud described it as his first real taste of commercial success. … Read More
In 1932 Gielgud turned to directing. … Read More


1934 30 Years Old Between seasons of Richard, in 1934 Gielgud returned to Hamlet in London and on tour, directing and playing the title role. … Read More
1936 32 Years Old 1 More Event
In May 1936 Gielgud played Trigorin in The Seagull, with Evans as Arkadina and Ashcroft as Nina. … Read More
1937 33 Years Old 1 More Event
After his return from America in February 1937 Gielgud starred in He Was Born Gay by Emlyn Williams. … Read More
1938 34 Years Old The venture did not lose money, nor did it make much, and in July 1938 Gielgud turned to more conventional West End enterprises, in unconventional circumstances. … Read More
1940 36 Years Old 1 More Event
Gielgud directed Michael Redgrave in a 1940 London production of The Beggar's Opera for the Glyndebourne Festival. … Read More


1944 40 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1944 he was approached by Ralph Richardson, who had been asked by the governors of the Old Vic to form a new company. … Read More
1945 - 1949 4 More Events
1952 48 Years Old His own attempt at direction in Stratford, for Richardson's Macbeth in 1952, was much less successful, with poor notices for the star and worse ones for the director.
In 1953 Gielgud made his first Hollywood film, the sole classical actor in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's Julius Caesar. … Read More


1955 - 1956 2 More Events
1957 53 Years Old 1 More Event
He made two film appearances, playing a cameo comedy scene with Coward in Michael Anderson's Around the World in 80 Days (1956) and Mr Barrett, in Sidney Franklin's 1957 remake of The Barretts of Wimpole Street. … Read More
1958 54 Years Old His performance on Broadway won him a Tony Award in 1958, and an audio recording in 1979 received a Grammy. … Read More
1959 55 Years Old He gave his first performances on television during 1959, in Rattigan's The Browning Version for CBS and N C Hunter's A Day by the Sea for ITV. … Read More
1962 58 Years Old In 1962 Gielgud met Martin Hensler (1932–99), an interior designer exiled from Hungary. … Read More


1964 60 Years Old 1 More Event
…  Between Becket in 1964, for which he received his first Oscar nomination, and Elizabeth in 1998 he appeared in more than sixty films. … Read More
One potentially outstanding acting role, Ibsen's Bishop Nicholas, fell through in 1967 when Olivier, with whom he was to co-star at the National Theatre in The Pretenders, was ill.
1970 - 1971 2 More Events
1977 73 Years Old 1 More Event
From 1977 to 1989, he was president of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. … Read More
1978 - 1990 2 More Events
1996 92 Years Old In 1996 the Globe Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue was renamed the Gielgud Theatre. … Read More
1999 95 Years Old Gielgud's partner, Martin Hensler, died in 1999. … Read More
2000 96 Years Old 1 More Event
In 2000 he had a non-speaking role alongside Pinter in a film of Beckett's short play Catastrophe directed by David Mamet.
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