Leslie Howard


Actor
Leslie Howard

About

Also Known As
Leslie Howard Stainer, Leslie Howard Steiner
Birth Place
London, England, GB
Born
April 03, 1893
Died
June 01, 1943
Cause of Death
Airplane Shot Down By Nazis During Ww Ii

Biography

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, H...

Photos & Videos

Spitfire - Movie Posters
Romeo and Juliet (1936) - Lobby Card
Of Human Bondage (1934) - Movie Posters

Family & Companions

Ruth Evelyn Martin
Wife
Married in March 1916.
Helen Deutsch
Companion
Screenwriter, author. Had relationship in the 1920s.
Marion Davies
Companion
Actress. Fred Guiles claimed Davies and Howard had a "small affair" c. 1931 in his book, "Intimate Biography of Marion Davies".
Merle Oberon
Companion
Actress. Reportedly had a torrid affair c. 1934.

Bibliography

"In Search of My Father"
Ronald Howard, St. Martin's Press (1981)
"A Quite Remarkable Father"
Leslie Ruth Howard, Harcourt, Brace & Co (1959)

Notes

"I haven't the slightest intentions of playing another weak, watery character. I've played enough ineffectual characters already." --Leslie Howard to "Gone With the Wind" producer David O Sleznick before accepting the part of Ashley Wilkes, the role that immortalized him.

"Leslie Howard was a darling flirt. He'd be caressing your eyes and have his hand on someone else's leg at the same time. He was adorable." --actress Joan Blondell.

Biography

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.

Born Leslie Howard Steiner on April 3, 1893 in Forest Hill, London, England he was the son of Lilian, a Britain of Jewish descent, and Ferdinand "Frank" Steiner, a Jewish-Hungarian immigrant. Although clearly bright, Howard's sheltered upbringing and severe near-sightedness made him extremely self-conscious. Never a good student, the young Howard loathed his time at Alleyn's School in Dulwich, London, preferring to lose himself in the comfort of books. Fiercely protective of her son, Lilian encouraged her boy's participation in the arts, particularly theatre, as a means of improving his social and academic skills. Her intuition was correct; by age 14, Leslie had written his first play. Soon he and his friends were producing their own musical comedies, prompting the ever-supportive Lilian to establish the Upper Norwood Dramatic Club to showcase their talents. Frank did not, however, share his wife's interest in the arts and insisted that the teenage Howard take a position as a London bank clerk, a job the aspiring actor-playwright despised. By now the WWI was looming and, like many immigrants of European decent, Leslie's family adopted the less-German sounding surname of Stainer.

When war finally did break out, Howard saw his chance to escape the monotony of his life and promptly enlisted with the British Cavalry - despite the fact that he had never in his life ridden a horse. Miraculously, the naïve 21-year-old was accepted and after intensive training, began serving overseas as a second lieutenant in the Northhampshire Yoemanry. Any romantic notions of battle the young man may have harbored were quickly shattered on the frontlines; by 1916, Howard was returned to England suffering from what was then termed severe shell shock. Recovering from his experiences in London, he met and soon married Ruth Martin in 1916. Somewhat limited as to his employment options, he once again heeded his mother's advice and looked to the theater. Having performed in a short film prior to his enlistment, Howard made his feature film debut with a small role in the silent sports drama "The Happy Warrior" (1917). Theatrical work initially consisted of small roles with the touring companies of "Peg O' My Heart," "Charley's Aunt" and the juvenile lead in the road version of Matheson Lang's "Under Cover." Within a year's time, Howard made his London stage debut in a small role in Arthur Pinero's "The Freaks."

Howard continued to work steadily in stage productions until he and friend Adrian Brunel founded a film production company of their own named Minerva Films in 1920. Early company efforts included titles like "Twice Two" (1920) and "Bookworms" (1920). Unfortunately, barely one year later, Minerva had gone bankrupt and Howard was once again in need of steady income. His saving grace came from across the Atlantic, where he made his Broadway debut in "Just Suppose" in 1921. Although the comedy-drama was hailed as a success by critics, Howard's performance was not. Undaunted, he pushed onward with increasingly adroit performances in a wide array of genres and material. His notices improved in productions like Booth Tarkington's comedy "The Wren" (1921), as well as the intense dramas of "The Serpent's Tooth" (1922) and "Outward Bound" (1924). Howard enjoyed his first bona fide Broadway smash with "The Green Hat" (1925) and by 1927, had secured his status as one of the stage's most popular stars in such productions as the farcical "Her Cardboard Lover." That same year, a dream came true for the actor-writer when Howard starred in an original play he had penned himself, "Murray Hill." Not surprisingly, as the decade neared its end, Hollywood and the recently sound-enhanced medium of motion pictures began to court Broadway's newest British star.

For his first U.S. feature film, Howard revisited familiar material with a filmed adaptation of the stage play "Outward Bound" (1930), an eerie drama co-starring Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., about a group of ship's passengers who gradually discover their destination is the afterlife. The 1930s saw Howard dart from London to NYC to Hollywood, from stage to screen, both in front of and behind the camera. Although he excelled in his screen work, Howard frequently aired his distaste for Hollywood and its commercial products. Exemplifying such shallow entertainments, in his opinion, were productions like the bizarre East meets West romance "Never the Twain Shall Meet" (1931), the melodramatic Clark Gable/Norma Shearer vehicle "A Free Soul" (1931), and the convoluted "Devotion" (1931). Disappointed by what the American film industry was producing, Howard packed up his wife and kids and briefly returned to England. After a few small films in his homeland, Howard returned to Broadway, where he directed, co-produced and performed in Philip Barry's adult stage drama "The Animal Kingdom" in 1932. The story of a man torn between two woman, it would be a frequent theme in much of Howard's work. As a well-known, unrepentant philanderer, such conflict would figure prominently in his private affairs as well.

Taking a break from the play's long run on Broadway, Howard appeared in two films that propelled him to stardom in America. First came the romantic drama "Smilin' Through" (1932), which reteamed him with Shearer (one of his many purported paramours), and the film version of "The Animal Kingdom" (1932), co-starring Myrna Loy. A series of high-profile projects then solidified his star status. Howard co-starred with Bette Davis in the provocative Somerset Maugham story "Of Human Bondage" (1933), an intense drama about a medical student's (Howard) sadomasochistic obsession with a slatternly Cockney waitress (Davis). Howard returned to his homeland to star in "The Scarlet Pimpernel" (1935), a swashbuckling adventure about a prissy British nobleman who dons a disguise and risks his life to rescue French aristocrats from the cutthroat embrace of "Madame Guillotine." The following year, he reteamed with Davis for the crime-drama "The Petrified Forest" (1936), an adaptation of the Broadway production he had starred in years earlier. Also brought over from the theatrical production was a young actor named Humphrey Bogart, whom Howard had insisted be cast in the film. The movie paved the way for Bogart's future film stardom and cemented a lifelong friendship between the two actors - so much so that Bogie would later name his daughter, Leslie, in his benevolent friend's honor.

Shortly thereafter, Howard was seen in another signature role - that of Dr. Henry Higgins, an aristocratic phonetics teacher who tries to teach a lowly flower girl how to act and sound like a lady in the delightful George Bernard Shaw romp "Pygmalion" (1938). Howard also served as director and producer of the film, in addition to taking on the role that earned him a Best Actor Oscar nomination. Much to his chagrin, it was his role as Ashley Wilkes in the beloved Civil War epic "Gone With the Wind" (1939) that etched Howard's name and face in the collective memory of American filmgoers. The refined British actor vehemently opposed taking the part, stating he did not want to play another "dreadful milksop," and dreading the make-up and primping needed to give him the requisite youthful appearance. Studio chief David O. Selznick reportedly bribed the actor into accepting the role by promising he could co-produce "Intermezzo" (1939), a dream project of Howard's. Despite his intense dislike of the winsome Ashley, his portrayal of the character proved an ideal symbol of Old South gallantry and a suitable mirror image for the mercurial man's man, Rhett Butler (Clark Gable). As promised, Selznick and Howard went on to produce "Intermezzo," with Howard starring alongside ingénue Ingrid Bergman in what has been described as one of the more affecting love stories of its era.

As well received as both "Gone With the Wind" and "Intermezzo" had been, they turned out to be the last of Howard's big Hollywood studio pictures, when he returned to Britain soon after their release in order lend his home country support as tensions escalated in Europe. Amidst the outbreak of World War II, Howard appeared in, and frequently directed, several propaganda films, including an updating of "The Scarlet Pimpernel" entitled "'Pimpernel' Smith" (1941), the espionage-thriller "49th Parallel" (1941), co-starring Laurence Olivier, and aerial-themed "Spitfire" (1942) alongside good friend David Niven. He also took a job as a broadcaster at the BBC, becoming the voice of Britain to America and served as a goodwill entertainer to many Allied countries embroiled in the war. While on a commercial airline flight originating from Lisbon, Portugal and bound for Bristol, U.K., Howard's plane was suddenly attacked by a squadron of German Luftwaffe fighter aircraft. Along with 16 other passengers and crew, Howard was killed when the plane was shot down over the Bay of Biscay on June 1, 1943. Sparking controversy almost from the day it was announced, his death remained a mystery for decades. Some speculated that he was being used as a decoy for Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who the Nazis mistakenly believed to be on the plane. Others asserted that Howard's "goodwill" missions were a cover for his work with British Intelligence, and that he himself was the intended target. While less thrilling, serious research later indicated that Howard's death was, in fact, merely another tragic, unnecessary wartime accident. Actor Leslie Howard was 50 years old.

By Bryce Coleman

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

The Gentle Sex (1943)
Director
The First of the Few (1942)
Director
Pimpernel Smith (1941)
Director
Pygmalion (1939)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

The First of the Few (1942)
In Which We Serve (1942)
Voice Over
49th Parallel (1941)
Intermezzo, a Love Story (1939)
Holger [Brandt]
Pygmalion (1939)
[Professor Henry] Higgins
Gone With the Wind (1939)
Ashley [Wilkes], his son
It's Love I'm After (1937)
Basil [Underwood]
Stand-In (1937)
Atterbury Dodd
Romeo and Juliet (1936)
Romeo, son of Montague
The Petrified Forest (1936)
Alan Squire
The Scarlet Pimpernel (1935)
Sir Percy Blakeney [also known as the Scarlet Pimpernel]
British Agent (1934)
Stephen Locke
Of Human Bondage (1934)
Philip Carey
Secrets (1933)
John Carlton
Captured! (1933)
[Fred] Allison
Berkeley Square (1933)
Peter Standish
The Animal Kingdom (1932)
Tom [Collier]
Smilin' Through (1932)
John Carteret
Reserved for Ladies (1932)
Max Tracey
A Free Soul (1931)
Dwight Winthrop
Devotion (1931)
[David] Trent
Five and Ten (1931)
Berry Rhodes
Never the Twain Shall Meet (1931)
Dan [Pritchard]
Outward Bound (1930)
Tom Prior
Five Pound Reward (1920)
Bookworms (1920)
The Lackey and the Lady (1919)
The Happy Warrior (1917)
The Heroine of Mons (1914)

Producer (Feature Film)

The Lamp Still Burns (1943)
Producer
The First of the Few (1942)
Producer
Intermezzo, a Love Story (1939)
Associate Producer
The Temporary Lady (1921)
Producer
The Bump (1920)
Producer
Five Pound Reward (1920)
Producer
Bookworms (1920)
Producer
Twice Two (1920)
Producer

Film Production - Main (Feature Film)

The Vanishing (1993)
Assistant Production Coordinator

Misc. Crew (Short)

Leslie Howard (1962)
Archival Footage

Life Events

1914

Joined the British cavalry at the age of 21

1916

Diagnosed as shell-shocked during World War I; turned to stage acting as therapy (date approximate)

1917

British film acting debut in "The Happy Warrior"

1918

Made London stage debut in a small role in Arthur Pinero's "The Freaks"

1919

Had supporting parts in two London stage comedies: "Our Mr. Hipplewhite" and A A Milne's "Mr Pim Passes By"; also had larger role in an English film, "The Lackey and the Lady"

1920

Formed Minerva Films, Ltd with three partners; served as director while Adrian Brunel acted as producer; produced a few critically acclaimed films on a shoestring budget including "Bookworms", "Five Pounds Reward" and "The Bump"

1920

Was critically panned in Broadway debut in "Just Suppose"

1921

Appeared in the Broadway productions "The Wren", "Outward Bound", and "A Serpent's Tooth"

1925

Starred in first Broadway smash "The Green Hat"

1927

Wrote, produced, directed and starred in the Broadway play "Murray Hill"

1927

Solidified popularity with theater critics in the bedroom farce "Her Cardboard Lover"

1929

Produced "Berkeley Square" in London; later brought play to NYC

1930

American movie debut in "Outward Bound", reprising stage performance

1931

Featured in "Never the Twain Shall Meet"

1931

Served as actor, director and co-producer of Philip Barry's adult stage drama "The Animal Kingdom"; was responsible for having the then-unknown Katharine Hepburn fired from the production

1931

Co-starred with Clark Gable and Norma Shearer in "A Free Soul"

1932

Re-teamed with Shearer for the film "Smilin' Through"

1933

Received first Oscar nomination for performance in "Berkeley Square"

1935

Starred as the titular swashbuckler in "The Scarlet Pimpernel"

1935

Appeared in the stage production "The Petrified Forest" opposite Humphrey Bogart

1936

Joined Bogart and Bette Davis in the film version of "The Petrified Forest"

1936

Co-starred with Shearer as star-crossed lovers in "Romeo and Juliet"

1937

Acted in "It's Love I'm After" opposite Davis and Olivia de Havilland

1938

Received Venice Film Festival Best Actor Award and an Oscar nomination for lead performance as Henry Higgins in "Pygmalion"

1939

Played Ashley Wilkes, the whiny, intellectual object of Scarlett O'Hara's affections, in the epic "Gone With the Wind", co-starring Gable and de Havilland

1939

Produced "Intermezzo"; David O Selznick purportedly bribed him with this project in order to secure his participation in "Gone With the Wind"

1941

Acted in World War II U-boat movie "The Forty-Ninth Parallel"

1941

Starred in, directed and produced "Pimpernel Smith", an updated version of the "Scarlet Pimpernel" character, now set during World War II

1942

Last feature film "First of the Few"

1942

Directed documentary "White Eagle", which was nominated for a Best Documentary Oscar

1943

Helmed the documentary "War in the Mediterranean"

1943

Narrated the film "The Gentle Sex", about the sacrifice women were being called upon to make during the war effort

1943

Died when plane was shot down by Nazi fighters

Photo Collections

Spitfire - Movie Posters
Spitfire - Movie Posters
Romeo and Juliet (1936) - Lobby Card
Here is a lobby card from MGM's Romeo and Juliet (1936), starring Leslie Howard and Norma Shearer. 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.
Of Human Bondage (1934) - Movie Posters
Of Human Bondage (1934) - Movie Posters
Pygmalion - Movie Poster
Pygmalion - Movie Poster
Gone With the Wind - Wardrobe Stills
Here are several rare wardrobe stills taken for David O. Selznick's Gone With the Wind (1939). Such test stills were taken prior to principal photography to approve the look and design of costumes. (Images courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences)
The Petrified Forest - Movie Posters
Here is a group of American movie Posters from The Petrified Forest (1936).
Stand-In - Title Lobby Card
Here is the Title Lobby Card from Stand-In (1937), starring Leslie Howard and Joan Blondell. 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.
Gone With the Wind (1939) Japanese Roadshow Program
This a rare Japanese souvenier program provided to audiences for a 70mm exhibition roadshow of Gone With the Wind (1939). Although no date is given, this was likely from the early or late 70's, when large format roadshows of American classics were common in Asia.
Leslie Howard - State Express Cigarette Card
This is a small cigarette card of actor Leslie Howard. These trading cards were included in Cigarette packs in the 30's and 40's and were collectible items. Customers could even purchase books to organize and collect these cards. State Express was an active Cigarette Card producer, creating a wide range of cards featuring famous people of which film stars were an often popular draw.

Videos

Movie Clip

Animal Kingdom, The (1932) - You Haven't Any Clothes On Having just parted ways with his long-time butler, and about to attend a gallery opening for his best friend Daisy, new fianceè Cecelia (Myrna Loy) in a pre-code negligee persuades publisher Tom (Leslie Howard) to change his plans, in The Animal Kingdom, 1932.
In Which We Serve (1942) - The Story Of A Ship Heady titles, dedication and credits, from creator Noel Coward and his colleague, sharing his first directing credit, David Lean, the technical and naval opening from In Which We Serve, 1942.
Of Human Bondage (1934) - They All Laugh At You The end of one abortive date, Mildred (Bette Davis) dissing club-footed medical student Philip (Leslie Howard), who obsesses, then faces more cruelty, from John Cromwell's Of Human Bondage, 1934.
49th Parallel (1941) - Opening, This Film Is Dedicated To Canada Prologue and opening credits to the second collaboration between director Michael Powell and writer Emeric Pressburger, 49th Parallel, 1941, featuring Leslie Howard, Laurence Olivier and Raymond Massey.
Scarlet Pimpernel, The (1935) - Open, London 1792 Elegant opening credits then needless British martial display for the benefit of the Prince (Nigel Bruce) from Alexander Korda's The Scarlet Pimpernel, 1935, starring Leslie Howard.
Scarlet Pimpernel, The (1935) - Fops, Fools, Nitwits, Cowards The daring British infiltrator of revolutionary France Percy (Leslie Howard) shifts from steely hero with his crew to play full twit for Col. Winterbottom (Edmund Breon) in Alexander Korda's The Scarlet Pimpernel, 1935.
Scarlet Pimpernel, The (1934) - Our Most Dangerous Enemy Completing the rescue of the de Tournays (Joan Gardner, Mabel Terry-Lewis, Roy Meredith) by fake French officer Ffoulkes (Anthony Bushell), then the big reveal, that the old French hag wagon driver is Leslie Howard, the title character, Sir Percy, who loses the costume and splits with his brother-in-law (Walter Rilla), in The Scarlet Pimpernel, 1935.
Scarlet Pimpernel, The (1935) - A Humble Wayside Flower Anthony Bushell as Sir Andrew, a Britisher posing as a French revolutionary officer, with the de Tournays, whom he rescued (Joan Gardner, Mabel Terry-Lewis, Roy Meredith) from the guillotine, leading to the introduction of Merle Oberon as the unseen and uninformed hero’s wife, Melville Cooper her painter, in London Films’ The Scarlet Pimpernel, 1935.
Scarlet Pimpernel, The (1934) - Can You Never Rise Above Trivialities? Leslie Howard finds that he, the master-spy title character, is the topic, cranking up his bon-vivant act, as he comes upon his tormented wife (Merle Oberon), who doesn’t know his true identity, and whom he thinks is a willing conspirator for the French, and the French ambassador Chauvelin (Raymond Massey), who’s blackmailing her into another betrayal, in The Scarlet Pimpernel,1935.
Of Human Bondage (1934) - City Of Lost Illusions Opening scenes, Philip Carey (Leslie Howard) in Paris confers with art teacher Flourney (Adrian Rosley) setting events in motion in John Cromwell's still-definitive treatment of Of Human Bondage, 1934, from the W.S. Maugham novel.
Of Human Bondage (1934) - Don't Go Spoofing Me Dunsford (Reginald Sheffield) has brought returned-to-London pal Philip (Leslie Howard) along to help charm waitress Mildred (Bette Davis), their first meeting in Of Human Bondage, 1934, from the W.S. Maugham novel.
Berkeley Square (1933) - An American Jest Time traveling American Peter (Leslie Howard) is posing as his 18th century namesake, whose diary he has studied, meeting his puzzled London cousins Kate (Valerie Taylor), Tom (Colin Keith-Johnston), Lady Anne (Irene Browne) and Helen (Heather Angel), in Berkeley Square, 1933.

Trailer

Captured! - (Original Trailer) Leslie Howard discovers that his fellow POW, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., had an affair with his wife in Captured! (1933).
British Agent - (Original Trailer) Leslie Howard is the British Agent (1934) falling in love with Russian agent Kay Francis during the Bolshevik Revolution.
Petrified Forest, The - (Original Trailer) An escaped convict holds the customers at a remote desert cantina hostage in The Petrified Forest (1936) starring Leslie Howard, Bette Davis & Humphrey Bogart.
Gone With the Wind (1939) -- (1961 Re-Issue Trailer) Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) fights to save her beloved plantation and find love during the Civil War in Gone With the Wind (1939).
It's Love I'm After - (Original Trailer) Leslie Howard and Bette Davis are a squabbling Broadway couple in the screwball comedy It's Love I'm After (1937) co-starring Olivia de Havilland.
49th Parallel - (Original Trailer) Director Michael Powell and a host of British and Canadian all-stars tell the story of shipwrecked Nazis who invade Canada in 49th Parallel (1941).
Romeo and Juliet (1936) - (Wide release Trailer) Leslie Howard and Norma Shearer play star-crossed lovers in Romeo and Juliet (1936), based on William Shakespeare's tragedy.
Scarlet Pimpernel, The - (Original Trailer) A British aristocrat (Leslie Howard) seems effete but is actually a swashbuckling hero rescuing victims of the French revolution.
Outward Bound - (Original Trailer) Passengers on a cruise ship find they are on their way to the afterlife in Outward Bound (1930).

Family

Ferdinand Steiner
Father
Stockbroker. Hungarian immigrant to the United Kingdom; married Howard's mother in 1892.
Lilian Steiner
Mother
English.
Arthur Steiner
Brother
Actor. Born in 1910; died in 1995.
Jimmy Steiner
Brother
Younger.
Irene Steiner
Sister
Younger.
Dorice Steiner
Sister
Born in Vienna; younger.
Ronald Howard
Son
Actor. Born on April 7, 1918; died on December 19, 1996; married with three children; acted with father in "Pimpernel Smith" (1941).
Leslie Ruth Howard
Daughter
Born on October 18, 1924.
Alan Howard
Nephew
Actor.

Companions

Ruth Evelyn Martin
Wife
Married in March 1916.
Helen Deutsch
Companion
Screenwriter, author. Had relationship in the 1920s.
Marion Davies
Companion
Actress. Fred Guiles claimed Davies and Howard had a "small affair" c. 1931 in his book, "Intimate Biography of Marion Davies".
Merle Oberon
Companion
Actress. Reportedly had a torrid affair c. 1934.
Violette Cunnington
Companion
Secretary. Four-year relationship ended with her death in 1942; Howard's son Ronald discusses this affair in his memoirs.

Bibliography

"In Search of My Father"
Ronald Howard, St. Martin's Press (1981)
"A Quite Remarkable Father"
Leslie Ruth Howard, Harcourt, Brace & Co (1959)

Notes

"I haven't the slightest intentions of playing another weak, watery character. I've played enough ineffectual characters already." --Leslie Howard to "Gone With the Wind" producer David O Sleznick before accepting the part of Ashley Wilkes, the role that immortalized him.

"Leslie Howard was a darling flirt. He'd be caressing your eyes and have his hand on someone else's leg at the same time. He was adorable." --actress Joan Blondell.

"The stage is the actor's medium. The actor controls there. But films, why they're the director's and the cutter's . . . the actor is merely incidental". --Leslie Howard, quoted in Films of the Golden Age, Winter 1999/2000.

"The movie studios are sweat shops killing the best in actors." --quote attributed to Leslie Howard.