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William Claude Rains born November 10, 1889 in the City of London area Kemberuell. Son of Frederick Raines theater actor, he soon began to stage career, following in the footsteps of older Raines, and first appeared on stage at age eleven in the play «Nell of Old Drury». After spending his youth in the world of theater, he saw not only the rise and triumph of the artists, but also the end of an artistic career, progressing from a boy to an assistant director at the time of maturity and produce theatrical experience. In the early years, Claude has replaced many jobs – from courier to the assistant director.
He grew up, according to his daughter, with “pronounced cockney accent, which prevented him right speech.” His talent was recognized artist founder of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, which paid diction lessons to Raines could succeed in the field of acting. In the future, Raines thanked taught at the Academy.
After his American stage debut in 1913, Claude decided to move to America in the New York theater, but with the outbreak of the First World War the following year Claude returned to Britain, where he soon was identified in a Scottish infantry regiment in which he served during the First World war. His colleagues were Basil Rathbone, Ronald Colman, Herbert Marshall. Raines was a gas attack, which left him almost blind in one eye for the rest of life. Nevertheless, the war contributed to its social progress, it is of the rank of the ordinary was promoted to captain.
After serving in the army, Claude went on to play in the theater, becoming one of the leading actors of the British scene, and in 1920 for the first time tried his hand on the silver screen, starring in the silent film “Build your house.” In the twenties Rains taught at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Among his students in those years were John Gielgud and Laurence Olivier young, later a famous actor and director of theater and cinema.
Rains again started his career in the theater in London, having success play John Drinkuotersa starring Ulysses S. Grant (18th US President), the continuation of the main hit of the playwright, “Abraham Lincoln.” In this role, he has toured and on Broadway in the late 1920s. On Broadway, he also plays leading roles in plays such as “Constant Nymph» (The Constant Nymph), «basket of apples» (The Apple Cart) and the Chinese peasant in the play “The Good Earth” (based on the novel Pearl S. Buck). He will play a total of 20 roles on the Broadway stage.
In 1932, while working at the New York Theatre Guild, Rains suggested to pass the audition for “Universal Pictures”. In the end, he got the lead role in the film directed by James Whale, “The Invisible Man” (1933), which brought him his first success in the cinema. Rains screens out relatively late, when he was already 44 years. His first test, not counting the film in 1920, was a failure. Only his voice won for his title role in “Invisible Man,” when someone overheard his on-screen text that sounded in the adjoining room. The actor had a unique hard and deep voice of the British, a bit austere – but richly dynamic. With a slight increase, as he had a deep voice, it was intriguing. Rains, however, later attributed the merit of the director Michael Curtiz, with its understated requirement for action actor in the film on the basis of “what not to do in front of the camera.” “Of Universal” in those years, decides to learn a new found niche film studio, releasing horror movies, and they were looking for something unique for their next release, the film “Invisible Man” (1933). Raines was such a man. He played the role, so being able to convey the voice of malice and evil intent mad doctor that horror pervaded the audience.
True to the chosen path, studio shoot it in similar roles for the rest of his contract. By 1936, Raines went to «Warner Bros.» studio, which was dominated by a completely different genre – a detailed list of ambitious literary epics. His performance was excellent, and his eyes could tell as much as his voice. the actor’s lips could curl into a sullen and gloomy smile and, in an instant, immediately grow into the warmest of smiles. His malicious, gouty Don Luis “Anthony Edwards» (Anthony Adverse, 1936) was inimitable. After receiving a fine opportunity to kill the lover of his young wife in the sword fight, he wins, and over it. In the scene with ironic bulging eyes, he passed his triumph triumphant mock and laugh – with a corresponding shadow light background – which is unforgettable.
Description was broken after his performance in the role of Prince John, “Robin Hood» (The Adventures of Robin Hood, 1938), and then put forward for an Oscar in the role of a corrupt senator, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington» (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, in 1939 ). In the same year, Claude became an American citizen. And then he followed it, probably the most well-known role of polite French police Captain Renault in “Casablanca” (1942).
In 1943, Raines played a symbolic role in the color version of «Universal» «Phantom of the Opera” studio (Phantom of the Opera). In 1945, Raines became the first actor to have received payment of one million dollars for his role in a large-scale Julius Caesar directed by Gabriel Pascal’s “Caesar and Cleopatra” (based on the play by Bernard Shaw). For many years, has a soft, insinuating voice and helpful, courteous manners, Rains was one of the most sought-after character actors studio “Warner Brothers» (Warner Brothers).
In the forties Rains four nominated for the Oscar in the category “Best Actor”. Being a talented, versatile actor, Rains created on the screen a lot of memorable images. Its about 40 movies shot in this period, have a wide range from horror to comedy and subtle psychological drama, from the historical to the adventure and adaptations. Many of them have entered the golden era of film classics.
Despite the fact that he is an American citizen, his acting career is as successful and evolved in his homeland in the UK – in 1946 he played the role of Julius Caesar, and three years later played a deceived husband “Passionate Friends” David Lean. Claude once starred as a singing and dancing in the television musical version of Robert Browning «The Pied Piper of Hamelin», in the “Piper” opposite Van Johnson executed. This color, shown in 1957 on NBC as a movie, not a live or filmed program had great success with the public. After the first screening of the film sold to television networks and it is still repeated annually.
In 1951, Raines triumphant return to Broadway, playing in the play “The darkness and the afternoon.” In subsequent years, Rains continued to perform on stage and in the movies, as well as several times appeared in the television movies, including 5 short episodes of the series “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.”
In 1950-60-ies Raines remains a popular character actor. Rains on the TV screen, played almost 20 roles. From the late actor’s work Rains best known diplomat Dryden famous adventure film epic David Lean’s “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962) and King Herod in the film adaptation of the Gospel events, “The Greatest Story Ever Told” (1965, dir. George Stevens and David Lin ). It was his last film role.
Rains also made several audio recordings of narration, reading Bible stories for children in the studio «Capitol Records». He also wrote a poem “Enoch Arden” the poet Alfred Lord Tennesona, to the music of Richard Strauss, written for narrator, to the accompaniment of a piano. Solo piano played by Glenn Glaud. This recording was made on «Columbia Masterworks Records» studio.
Claude Rains took US citizenship in 1939. He was married six times. In 1941, Claude Rains acquired 380 acres of land Farms «Stock Grange Farm» in West Bradford Township, Pennsylvania, near West Chester, and spent most of his time doing just reading farming practices. Eventually, he sold the farm when his marriage to Frances Propper collapsed. With Francis had a daughter, Jessica Rains in 1938.
Claude Rains died of internal bleeding at the age of 77 in Laconia, New Hampshire December 31, 1967. He was buried in the cemetery of the Red Hill in the town Moultonborough, New Hampshire. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.