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Leslie Howard

Leslie Howard



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Also Known As: Leslie Howard Stainer,Leslie Howard Steiner Died: June 1, 1943
Born: April 3, 1893 Cause of Death: airplane shot down by Nazis during WW II
Birth Place: London, England, GB Profession: Cast ... actor director producer playwright intelligence agent for the British government bank clerk


Debonair English actor Leslie Howard excelled at playing disillusioned intellectuals and gallant gentlemen on the stages and screens of Britain and America for nearly 30 years. Painfully shy as a child and traumatized on the battlefields of World War I, Howard turned to the theater as a form of therapy, and began appearing on the stages of London within a few short years. By the 1920s, Howard had left for Broadway, where he achieved acclaim in a series of well-received productions over the following decade. He made his Hollywood debut in an adaptation one of his more successful plays "Outward Bound" (1930), and repeated that strategy with "The Animal Kingdom" (1933). Lauded performances opposite Bette Davis in "Of Human Bondage" (1933) helped make Howard one of the most popular stars of the 1930s. For better or worse, he would be forever remembered for three roles in particular - swashbuckling hero Sir Percy Blakney in "The Scarlet Pimpernel" (1934), egocentric Professor Henry Higgins in "Pygmalion" (1938) and milquetoast Ashley Wilkes in "Gone With the Wind" (1939). Despite his success, Howard held a rather poor opinion of Hollywood. By 1940, he had returned to England to support the war effort with a series of propaganda films, including "49th Parallel" (1941), prior to his death over the Bay of Biscay in 1943. Considered the ideal British leading man, both refined and sensitive, those close to him opined that while astonishingly talented, Howard was merely playing himself.

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