John Laurie

1897 - 1980

John Laurie was a Scotsman who would play many character roles in his long career - a lot of Scotsmen to be sure - but an enthusiastic and skilled actor in nearly 120 screen roles. He was the son of a mill worker, and studied for a career in architecture which he indeed began. But with World War I he left his position to join the British army. After the war he set his sights in a different direction, training to become an actor by attending the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. His first stage play was in 1921. He honed his skills thereafter (from 1922 to 1939) principally as a Shakespearian actor at the Old Vic in London or at Stratford-upon-Avon - and later the Open Air in Regent's Park. But by 1930 he was giving time to films as well. His first movie was the Sean O'Casey play The Shame of Mary Boyle (1929), one of Alfred Hitchcock's early sound efforts. With his craggy profile and arcing bulbous nose, and rather stern visage (though it could as quickly break into a broad

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