Claude Rains


Actor
Claude Rains

About

Birth Place
London, England, GB
Born
November 10, 1889
Died
May 30, 1967

Biography

Having found limited success as a stage actor in his native England and New York, Claude Rains made a sensational film debut in "The Invisible Man" (1933) and launched a long Hollywood character as a character player whose charm and finely modulated voice graced some of the finest films of the 1930s and 1940s. After another starring turn in "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" (1935), Rains assi...

Photos & Videos

Casablanca - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Mr. Skeffington - Lobby Cards
Here Comes Mr. Jordan - Movie Poster

Family & Companions

Isabel Jeans
Wife
Actor. Divorced.
Marie Hemingway
Wife
Beatrix Lindsay Thomas
Wife
Frances Propper
Wife
Mother of Rains' daughter Jennifer.

Biography

Having found limited success as a stage actor in his native England and New York, Claude Rains made a sensational film debut in "The Invisible Man" (1933) and launched a long Hollywood character as a character player whose charm and finely modulated voice graced some of the finest films of the 1930s and 1940s. After another starring turn in "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" (1935), Rains assiduously avoided being typecast in horror films by appearing in the musical "Hearts Divided" (1936), the costume drama "Anthony Adverse," and the romantic drama "Stolen Holiday" (1937), the last being the first of nine films he made with director Michael Curtiz. He went on to co-star in "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (1938) and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939), before delivering his most iconic performance as the cheerful, but corrupt French police captain Renault in the mother of all classic movies, "Casablanca" (1942). From there, he appeared in a number of acclaimed films like "Now, Voyager" (1942), "Passage to Marseille" (1944), and "Mr. Skeffington" (1944), before delivering another iconic performance as the wanted leader of an underground Nazi movement in Alfred Hitchcock's "Notorious" (1946), which earned the actor his fourth Academy Award nomination. Though he appeared in movies of diminishing quality, he ended his career on a high note with major supporting parts in "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962) and "The Greatest Story Ever Told" (1965), underscoring for Rains a career as one of Hollywood's most popular character actors.

Born on Nov. 10, 1889 in London, England, Rains was raised by his father, Frederick, a stage and film actor, and his mother, Emily. Following in his father's footsteps, Rains took to the stage at 11 years old in a London production of "Nell of Old Drury" and was soon taken under the wing of Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, founder of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, who helped the young actor remove his thick Cockney accent by paying for elocution lessons. Rains later taught at RADA, where he counted John Gielgud and Laurence Olivier among his pupils. Meanwhile, he took a hiatus from acting to serve in the London Scottish Regiment of the British Army during World War I and was left nearly blinded in one eye for the rest of his life following a gas attack. After leaving the army with the rank of captain, Rains made his way to the United States, where he became one of the leading members of New York's Theatre Guild in the mid-1920s. On Broadway, he had a starring role in George Bernard Shaw's "The Apple Cart," as well as in stage adaptations of "The Constant Nymph" and "The Good Earth."

Coming to motion pictures late in his career, Rains made a sensational screen debut seemingly out of nowhere as "The Invisible Man" (1933), after winning the leading role courtesy of director James Whale, who was impressed with the power and distinction of his voice. After starring in Ben Hecht's "Crime Without Passion" (1934), Rains portrayed an opium-addicted choirmaster who falls in love with his nephew's niece and is driven to murder in the adaptation of Charles Dickens' unfinished novel, "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" (1935). In an early supporting turn, he played Napoleon Bonaparte opposite Marion Davies and Dick Powell in the musical drama "Hearts Divided" (1936), which he followed with a supporting part in Mervyn LeRoy's costume drama "Anthony Adverse" (1936), starring Fredric March and Olivia de Havilland. By this time, he was primarily making motion pictures for Warner Bros., though he was occasionally loaned out to other studios. He went on to make the romantic political drama, "Stolen Holiday" (1937), the first of nine films he made with director Michael Curtiz, whom Rains credited for teaching him how to act in front of a camera.

Teaming with Curtiz again, Rains played the evil Prince John, whose plans to take over the thrown from King Richard the Lionhearted (Ian Hunter) are famously thwarted by Errol Flynn in "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (1938). The following year, he earned his first Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his performance as the corrupt, but conflicted U.S. Senator Joseph Harrison Paine in Frank Capra's "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939), starring James Stewart and Jean Arthur. Rains continued to collaborate with Curtiz on a number of occasions, co-starring in "Sons of Liberty" (1939), "Four Wives" (1939) and the Errol Flynn swashbuckler "The Sea Hawk" (1940), while tackling the role of an angel who gives a boxer (Robert Montgomery) a new lease on life after death in the popular comedy, "Here Comes Mr. Jordan" (1941). After co-starring opposite Lon Chaney, Jr. in "The Wolf Man" (1941), Rains delivered his most memorable performance as the good-natured, but decidedly corrupt Vichy police captain Louis Renault in Curtiz's "Casablanca" (1942). Though a thorn in the side of cynical American expatriate Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), whose ex-lover (Ingrid Bergman) throws his world into chaos after showing up in his Casablanca saloon, Rains's Renault was a major highlight of an exquisite film and spouted off some of the best lines, including his famed declaration at the end to "Round up the usual suspects" in order to aid Rick's escape from the Nazis. Rains once again earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for this role which provided him cinematic immortality even generations after.

Rains followed up with the first of several notable turns opposite Bette Davis in "Now, Voyager" (1942), where he played a prescient psychiatrist who helps a repressed woman (Davis) make radical changes in her life. In "The Phantom of the Opera" (1943), he played the titular disfigured phantom before reuniting with "Casablanca" castmates Humphrey Bogart, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre for Curtiz's romantic war drama "Passage to Marseille" (1944). Rains next starred opposite Davis as the titular "Mr. Skeffington" (1944), earning another Oscar nomination for his portrayal of a financier who marries a woman (Davis) protecting her brother from stealing his money to pay for gambling debts. He next played Julius Caesar to Vivien Leigh's Cleopatra in the box office bomb "Caesar and Cleopatra" (1945), before landing another of his most famous roles as the leader of a Nazi group hiding out in Brazil after World War II in Alfred Hitchcock's "Notorious" (1946). One of Hitchcock's best films prior to his peak years of the 1950s, "Notorious" starred Cary Grant as an American agent who gains access to Rains' underground Nazi group by using the daughter (Ingrid Bergman) of a Nazi spy to wed Rains. Despite being the film's bad guy, Rains made his character sympathetic and earned the final Academy Award nomination of his career.

After starring opposite Bette Davis in the commercially unsuccessful "Deception" (1946), Rains made his last film with Michael Curtiz, "The Unsuspected" (1947), where he played a popular radio host whose tales of murder are eerily intimate and detailed. He went on to star in a number of films like David Lean's "The Passionate Friends" (1949), "Rope of Sand" (1949) starring Burt Lancaster, and "Where Danger Lives" (1950) with Robert Mitchum, but nothing came close to matching the majesty on display in "Casablanca" or "Notorious." In fact, while he remained a popular character actor, Rains' career slowed down in the 1950s with only a handful of films like "Sealed Cargo" (1951), "The Man Who Watched Trains Go By" (1953) and "Lisbon" (1956). On television, he played the mayor in a popular TV movie version of "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" (NBC, 1957), before returning to features to co-star opposite Rock Hudson in "The Earth Is Mine" (1959). Following turns in a pair of low-quality sci-fi adventures, "The Lost World" (1960) and "Battle of the Worlds" (1961), Rains returned to high-quality filmmaking with a major supporting role as diplomat Mr. Dryden in "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962). Following a turn in the courtroom drama "Twilight of Honor" (1963), Rains delivered his final onscreen appearance with a co-starring performance as Herod the Great in "The Greatest Story Ever Told" (1965). Two years later, on May 30, 1967, Rains died from an abdominal hemorrhage at 77 years old. He was unmarried at the time, but had previously married six women throughout his life: actress Isabel Jeans (1913-15), Marie Hemingway (1920), Beatrix Thomson (1924-1935), Frances Proper (1935-1956), classical pianist Agi Jambor (1959-1960) and Rosemary Clark (1960-64).

By Shawn Dwyer

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)
Herod the Great
Battle of the Worlds (1963)
Prof. Benjamin Benson
Twilight of Honor (1963)
Art Harper
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Mr. Dryden
The Lost World (1960)
Professor George Edward Challenger
This Earth Is Mine (1959)
Jean Philippe Rambeau
Lisbon (1956)
Aristides Mavros
Paris Express (1953)
Kees Popinga
Sealed Cargo (1951)
Eric Skalder
The White Tower (1950)
Paul Delambre
Where Danger Lives (1950)
Mr. [Frederick] Lannington
Song of Surrender (1949)
Elisha Hunt
Rope of Sand (1949)
Arthur [Fred] Martingale
The Passionate Friends (1949)
The Unsuspected (1947)
Victor Grandison
Deception (1946)
Alexander Hollenius
Angel on My Shoulder (1946)
Nick, the Devil
Notorious (1946)
Alexander Sebastian
This Love of Ours (1945)
Dr. Joseph Targel
Strange Holiday (1945)
John Stevenson
Caesar And Cleopatra (1945)
Julius Caesar
Mr. Skeffington (1944)
Job Skeffington
Passage to Marseille (1944)
Captain Freycinet
Forever and a Day (1943)
[Ambrose] Pomfret
Phantom of the Opera (1943)
Erique Claudin
Kings Row (1942)
Dr. Alexander Tower
Now, Voyager (1942)
Dr. Jaquith
Casablanca (1942)
Louis Renault
Moontide (1942)
Nutsy
Four Mothers (1941)
Adam Lemp
The Wolf Man (1941)
Sir John Talbot
Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)
Mr. Jordan
Lady with Red Hair (1940)
David Belasco
The Sea Hawk (1940)
Don Jose Alvarez de Cordoba
Saturday's Children (1940)
Mr. [Henry] Halevy
Four Wives (1939)
Adam Lemp
They Made Me a Criminal (1939)
Detective Phelan
Daughters Courageous (1939)
Jim Masters
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Senator Joseph Paine
Juarez (1939)
Napoleon III
White Banners (1938)
Paul Wardrobe
Four Daughters (1938)
Adam Lemp
Gold Is Where You Find It (1938)
Colonel Ferris
The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
Prince John
The Prince and the Pauper (1937)
Earl of Hertford
Stolen Holiday (1937)
Stefan Orloff
They Won't Forget (1937)
Andy Griffin
Anthony Adverse (1936)
Don Luis
Hearts Divided (1936)
Napoleon Bonaparte
The Clairvoyant (1935)
Maximus, the mind-reader
Mystery of Edwin Drood (1935)
John Jasper [also known as Mr. Orrich]
The Last Outpost (1935)
John Stevenson
Crime Without Passion (1934)
Lee Gentry
The Man Who Reclaimed His Head (1934)
Paul Verin
The Invisible Man (1933)
The Invisible One [Jack Griffin]

Cast (Special)

The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1961)
Mayor
Once Upon a Christmas Time (1959)
On Borrowed Time (1957)
Mr Brink

Misc. Crew (Short)

The Making of a Great Motion Picture (1936)
Archival Footage

Life Events

1900

Entered the London stage at age 11

1913

First trip to US

1926

Became leading player of the Theater Guild

1934

Feature film debut, title role in "The Invisible Man"

1939

First of four Oscar nominations, "Mr Smith Goes to Washington"

1965

Last feature to perform in, "The Greatest Story Ever Told"

Photo Collections

Casablanca - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are several photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of Warner Bros' Casablanca (1942), directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Claude Rains.
Mr. Skeffington - Lobby Cards
Here are several Lobby Cards from Mr. Skeffington (1944), starring Bette Davis and Claude Rains. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Here Comes Mr. Jordan - Movie Poster
Here is an original release movie poster from Columbia Pictures' Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941), starring Robert Montgomery. This is an Insert poster, measuring 14 x 36 inches.
The Wolf Man - Publicity Stills
Here are a few Publicity Stills taken for Universal Pictures' The Wolf Man (1941), starring Lon Chaney Jr., Evelyn Ankers, Bela Lugosi, and Claude Rains. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Anthony Adverse - Scene Stills
Here are some scene stills from Warner Bros' Anthony Adverse (1936), directed by Mervyn LeRoy and starring Fredric March and Olivia de Havilland.
The Last Outpost - Scene Stills
Here are several scene stills from Paramount Pictures' The Last Outpost (1935), starring Cary Grant, Claude Rains, and Gertrude Michael.
The Last Outpost - Lobby Cards
Here are several Lobby Cards from Paramount Pictures' The Last Outpost (1935), starring Cary Grant and Claude Rains. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
The Last Outpost - Movie Poster
Here is an original-release Window Card movie poster from The Last Outpost (1935), starring Cary Grant and Claude Rains. Window Cards were 14x22 mini posters designed to be placed in store windows around town during a film's engagement. A blank space at the top of the poster featured theater and playdate information. (The top has been trimmed from this example).
The Prince and the Pauper - Lobby Cards
Here are a few Lobby Cards from Warner Bros' The Prince and the Pauper (1937), starring Errol Flynn. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Notorious - Movie Poster
Here is an original-release half-sheet movie poster for Notorious (1946), starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman, and directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Half-sheets measured 22 x 28 inches.
Lady with Red Hair - Scene Stills
Here are a few scene stills from Warner Bros' Lady with Red Hair (1940), starring Miriam Hopkins and Claude Rains.
Claude Rains - Publicity Still
Here is a casually-posed publicity still of Claude Rains, as issued by the Warner Bros. publicity department.
Casablanca (1942) - Production Documents
The following production materials from the film Casablanca (1942) include office memos, telegrams, sheet music, call sheets and other materials.

Videos

Movie Clip

Casablanca (1942) - You Are A Subject Of The German Reich Czech resistance hero Lazlo (Paul Henreid) and consort Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) arrive at Rick's Cafe, surprising Sam (Dooley Wilson), meeting Norwegian Berger (John Qualen), French Renault (Claude Rains) and German Strasser (Conrad Veidt), early in Casablanca, 1942.
Deception (1946) - I Infer a Husband Maestro Alexander (Claude Rains) drops in on the wedding of his ex-mistress Christine (Bette Davis) and troubled Karel (Paul Henreid) in director Irving Rapper's Deception, 1946.
Passionate Friends, The (1949) - The Restrictions Imposed Near soliloquy by Claude Rains as banker Howard, alarmed because his wife and her supposedly platonic friend left their tickets for the theater behind, Betty Ann Davies his assistant, outwardly calm but with intense double-entendre in the language, from H.G. Wells’ novel and Eric Ambler’s script, in director David Lean’s The Passionate Friends, 1949.
Twilight Of Honor (1963) - I Get Somebody Plastered Maybe not too convincing, the MGM lot as a small New Mexico city, where widowed lawyer David (Richard Chamberlain) has been appointed to defend a drifter accused of killing a cop, visiting his mentor (Claude Rains as Harper) and his daughter (Joan Blackman), in Twilight Of Honor, 1963, co-starring Academy Award nominated Nick Adams.
Saturday's Children (1940) - We Do A Large South American Trade Bobby (Anne Shirley) still on her first day at the shipping firm where her dad got her a job, as new pal Gertrude (Dennie Moore) finagles a second encounter for her with eligible colleague and would-be inventor “Rims” (John Garfield), early in Saturday’s Children, 1940, from a Maxwell Anderson play.
Saturday's Children (1940) - Garden Of Eden Apartments Though the Maxwell Anderson play isn’t set in New York, the Warner Bros. version begins there, Claude Rains and Elizabeth Risdon as the parents, Anne Shirley as daughter Bobby, and Roscoe Karns the live-in brother-in-law, Vincent Sherman directing, in Saturday’s Children, 1940, starring John Garfield.
Mr. Skeffington (1944) - He Created Everything But Rhode Island Responsible cousin George (Richard Waring) is present for the first meeting between Bette Davis (as "Fanny") and stock broker Claude Rains (title character), dropping by to discuss her brother's embezzlements, early in Mr. Skeffington, 1944.
Mr. Skeffington (1944) - Cordial Not Connubial On the ferry back from their wedding in New Jersey, Claude Rains (title character) and flighty Fanny (Bette Davis) compare their bliss to another couple, in Mr. Skeffington, 1944, directed by Vincent Sherman.
Four Daughters (1938) - Right On The Nose Michael Curtiz directing, father (Claude Rains) conducting, Kay (Lane sister Rosemary) singing, Thea (Lola) fretting, Jane (Priscilla) cooking and Emma (Gale Page) assisting, preparing for eligible dinner guest Ben Crowley (Frank McHugh), in Four Daughters, 1938.
Greatest Story Ever Told, The (1965) - You Have Followed A Star? Impressive landscapes, three kings (Cyril Delevanti, Mark Lenard, Frank Silvera) visiting the duly worried Herod (Claude Rains), his son Antipas (Jose Ferrer) standing by, early in George Stevens' The Greatest Story Ever Told, 1965.
Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) - He Keeps Telling Me I'm Dead We’ve just met sax-playing fighter Joe Pendleton (Robert Montgomery) who insisted on flying solo to New York, running into trouble and meeting supernatural Messenger 7013 (Edward Everett Horton) and his boss, Claude Rains, noted in the title, in director Alexander Hall’s Here Comes Mr. Jordan, 1941.
Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) - Not Even In Heaven Heavenly Claude Rains (title character) and fighter Joe (Robert Montgomery), who was cremated while wrongly presumed dead, consider the body of millionaire Farnsworth, about to be murdered by his wife and secretary (Rita Johnson, John Emery), not anticipating Miss Logan (Evelyn Keyes), in Here Comes Mr Jordan, 1941.

Trailer

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington - (Original Trailer) Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939), Frank Capra's masterpiece about a naive young senator (James Stewart) who uncovers political corruption.
Adventures of Robin Hood, The -- (Re-issue Trailer) The Sherwood Forest legend (Errol Flynn) leads his Merry Men in a battle against the wicked Prince John in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938).
Anthony Adverse - (Original Trailer) Seven Oscar nominations went to Anthony Adverse (1936), Warner Brothers' adaptation of the best selling novel about 18th-Century Italy.
Stolen Holiday - (Original Trailer) A Paris fashion model (Kay Francis) marries a fortune hunter (Claude Rains) to protect him from the law in Stolen Holiday (1936).
Saturday's Children - (Original Trailer) A young inventor's new marriage is jeopardized by financial problems. Starring John Garfield.
Four Mothers - (Original Trailer) The Four Daughters, then Four Wives face financial problems as motherhood approaches in Four Mothers (1941).
Four Daughters - (Original Trailer) A small-town family's peaceful life is shattered when one daughter falls for a rebellious musician. Starring Claude Rains and John Garfield, directed by Michael Curtiz.
Daughters Courageous - (Original Trailer) A father (Claude Rains) returns to the family he left years earlier and tries to solve their problems. Co-starring John Garfield.
Greatest Story Ever Told, The - (Original Trailer) The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) is an epic re-telling of the life of Christ, directed by George Stevens and starring Max Von Sydow, Dorothy McGuire, Claude Rains and many more
White Banners - (Original Trailer graphics) A mysterious woman tries to help her son's foster family without revealing her true identity in White Banners (1938) starring Fay Bainter.
They Made Me a Criminal - (Original Trailer) A young boxer (John Garfield) goes on the run when he's accused of murdering a reporter in They Made Me a Criminal (1939).
Juarez - (Original Trailer) Paul Muni and Bette Davis star in Juarez (1939), the true story of Mexico's great leader and his fight against Napoleon's empire

Promo

Family

Fred Rains
Father
Actor. Died on December 12, 1945 at the age of 85.
Jennifer Rains
Daughter
Mother Frances Propper.

Companions

Isabel Jeans
Wife
Actor. Divorced.
Marie Hemingway
Wife
Beatrix Lindsay Thomas
Wife
Frances Propper
Wife
Mother of Rains' daughter Jennifer.
Agi Jambor
Wife
Rosemary Clark
Wife
Died in 1964.

Bibliography