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Remind Me

George Sanders Profile

George Sanders (1906-1972) defined cynical, sophisticated wit in his movie roles, especially in his Oscar-winning performance as theater critic Addison DeWitt in All About Eve (1950). Born to English parents in St. Petersburg, Russia, Sanders began in show business as a chorus boy in London and made his debut in English films in 1936. The following year he made his first American movie, Lloyds of London (1937). He quickly achieved star status, which was reinforced by two popular series of the World War II period in which he played adventure heroes "The Saint" and "The Falcon." (He eventually relinquished the latter role to his brother, Tom Conway.)

Constantly working in the 1940s, Sanders also played Nazis (Man Hunt, 1941), royalty (Forever Amber, 1947) and Biblical characters (Samson and Delilah, 1949). Two of his best roles of that decade came in The Moon and Sixpence (1943), as an artist based on Paul Gaugin; and The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945), as the very decadent Lord Henry Wotton.

Sanders remained active throughout the 1950s, usually cast as a suave villain. In Ivanhoe (1952) he provided memorable menace to Elizabeth Taylor; in Solomon and Sheba (1959) he was Adonijah, the warrior brother of Solomon. The 1960s found him back in British movies including Village of the Damned (1960), in which he shines as the doctor who wins the trust of some very peculiar children. Sanders acted mostly in European films for the remainder of his career. He committed suicide in 1972 after writing a note that began, "Dear World, I am leaving because I am bored." Among his four wives were two Gabor sisters, Zsa Zsa and Magda.

The films in TCM's salute to George Sanders are Solomon and Sheba (1959), The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) and Village of the Damned (1960).

by Roger Fristoe