Sir Anthony Quayle
(1913 - 1989)

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Anthony Quayle was born on September 7, 1913, in Ainsdale, Sefton, England, where his father was a lawyer. After attending the Rugby Secondary School, he received further training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, then performed in minor roles in stage and film productions before his military service.

During the war he served initially with the Royal Artillery, protecting Britain from impending German invasion. Later, he served on Lt General Mason MacFarlanes staff and finally, in an espionage role in Albania. Anthony was a genuine spy, organising resistance behind enemy lines. He left the army with rank of Major. His army service was distinguished and in his memoirs ‘A time to speak’ he has many intriguing stories including a meeting with Winston Churchill. After the war, he appeared on stage in Dostoyevksy's Crime and Punishment with Sir John Gielgud and Edith Evans, then joined the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre company at Stratford-upon-Avon. In 1948, he played Marcellus in Laurence Olivier's Academy award-winning film production of Hamlet. Between 1948 and 1956, Quayle served as director of the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, laying the groundwork for the founding of the famed Royal Shakespeare Company.

His war experience primed him well for roles in such productions as The Battle of the River Plate (1956) where he played a naval officer , The Guns of Navarone (1961) as the conscientious British Major going in to blow up a set of guns . His diversity was then shown when he played a Gestapo agent in Operation Crossbow (1965). In time, he gained a reputation as one of the 20th century's best-trained character actors, performing in productions in virtually every genre and in every medium - stage, film, television, and recording a number of books on audio cassette. Being well prepared for acting roles was nothing new for Quayle. As a young man, he had trained long and hard to hone his thespian skills, attending the best schools and apprenticing with the best acting companies.

It was his diversity that allowed him to move through films with ease. He could so easily have become type cast during the 50s and 60s, yet he showed that his theatre training was indeed useful, taking on a wide range of roles. He played German Officers almost as often as the British Officers chasing after them! He carried a good accent for his role in 'Ice Cold at Alex' and of course saved that famous ambulance. A small role in 'The Eagle has Landed' (1979) as the non nazi Kriegsmarine Admiral Canaris was also memorable.








 




 

 

 

 

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