ROBERT MORLEY Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Robert Adolph Wilton Morley                                                   
Born: 26 May 1908 Semley, Wiltshire, England                                       
Died: 3 June 1992 Reading, Berkshire, England                                       
Robert Morley CBE (May 26, 1908 - June 3, 1992) was an Oscar-nominated English     
actor who, often in supporting roles, was usually cast as a pompous English         
gentleman representing the Establishment. In Movie Encyclopedia, film critic       
Leonard Maltin describes Morley as "recognizable by his ungainly bulk, bushy       
eyebrows, thick lips, and double chin, particularly effective when cast as a       
pompous windbag". More politely, Ephraim Kurtz in his International Film           
Encyclopaedia describes Morley as a "a rotund, triple-chinned, delightful           
character player of the British and American stage and screen."                     
He was born Robert Adolph Wilton Morley in Semley, Wiltshire, England. Morley       
attended Elizabeth College, Guernsey, RADA and made his West End stage debut in     
1929 in Treasure Island at the Strand Theatre and his Broadway debut in 1938 in     
the title role of Oscar Wilde at the Fulton Theatre. Although soon won over to     
the big screen, Morley remained both a busy West End star and successful author,   
as well as tirelessly touring.                                                     
A versatile actor, especially in his younger years, he played roles as divergent   
as those of Louis XVI, for which he received an Academy Award Nomination as Best   
Supporting Actor (Marie Antoinette 1938). He gave Oscar-worthy performances in     
Oscar Wilde (1960) and as a missionary in The African Queen (1951).                 
As a playwright he co-wrote and adapted several plays for the stage, having         
outstanding success in London and New York with Edward, My Son, a gripping         
family drama written in 1947 (with Noel Langley) in which he played the central     
role of Arnold Holt. But the disappointing film version, directed by George         
Cukor at MGM Elstree in 1949, instead starred the miscast Spencer Tracy, who       
turned Holt, an unscrupulous English businessman, into a blustering Canadian       
Morley also personified the conservative Englishman in many comedy and caper       
films. Later in his career, he received critical accolades for Who Is Killing       
the Great Chefs of Europe?. Renowned for repartee and for being an eloquent         
conversationalist, Morley gained the epitheton of being a "wit".                   
Morley was honoured by being the first King of Moomba appointed by the Melbourne   
Moomba festival committee and, in typical humility, he accepted the crown in       
bare feet! Morley was in Australia touring his one-man show, The Sound of           
He married Joan Buckmaster (1910-2005), a daughter of Dame Gladys Cooper. Their     
elder son, Sheridan Morley was a well-known writer and critic. They also had a     
daughter Annabel and another son Wilton. He was appointed a Commander of the       
Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1957. He was also offered a Knighthood         
during the Wilson government but declined it. He died in Reading, Berkshire from   
a stroke, aged 84.