Brian Aherne

Biography

Brian Aherne (2 May 1902 – 10 February 1986) was a British actor of both stage and screen, who found success in Hollywood.[1][2] Early life and stage career He was born William Brian de Lacy Aherne in King's Norton, Worcestershire, the son of the Birmingham architect William de Lacy Aherne by his wife Louise née Thomas. Educated at Edgbaston, Birmingham, he also carried out some early stage training at Italia Conti Academy in London and had some child roles before completing his education at Malvern College.[3] He first appeared on the stage in Birmingham with the Pilgrim Players (which subsequently developed into the Birmingham Repertory Theatre), on 5 April 1910, in Fifinella; and made his first appearance on the London stage at the Garrick Theatre, 26 December 1913, in Where the Rainbow Ends, a fairy play by Clifford Mills and John Ramsey, with music by Roger Quilter, which ran at various theatres for over 25 years. He then studied with a view to becoming an architect, but, having had considerable amateur experience in Birmingham, and with Liverpool's Green Room Club, he obtained an engagement under Robert Courtneidge, and appeared at London's Savoy Theatre, opening on 26 December 1923, as Jack O'Hara in a revival of Paddy the Next Best Thing, the play by W. Gayer-Mackay and Robert Ord (from the novel). He then toured with Violet Vanbrugh as Hugo in The Flame, and appeared at the London Playhouse in May 1924 as Langford in Leon Gordon's White Cargo, in which he played all through 1924-25. In 1926 he accompanied Dion Boucicault, Jr. to Australia, where he appeared in several plays by J.M. Barrie: as Valentine Brown in the comedy Quality Street, John Shand in the comedy What Every Woman Knows, Crichton in The Admirable Crichton, Simon and Harry in Mary Rose; and Willocks in Aren't We All? another comedy by Frederick Lonsdale. Aherne reappeared in London at the Strand in March 1927 again as Langford in White Cargo and continued on the London stage in a succession of plays until late 1930 when he went to America, making his first appearance on the New York stage at the Empire Theatre in New York on 9 February 1931, playing Robert Browning in Rudolph Besier's play The Barretts of Wimpole Street opposite Katharine Cornell. Miss Cornell and Aherne remained lifelong friends and he played in many of her subsequent productions. He was back in London in 1934 but returned that year to New York, where he appeared in December at the Martin Beck Theatre as Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, with Katharine Cornell. He continued his stage appearances during his film career, which he commenced in 1924 in silent film. Film and television career Aherne made his talkie debut in Madame Guillotine (1931). After a few more British talkies he moved on to lead roles in Hollywood, where he made over thirty films, including I Live My Life (1935), the multi-Oscar nominated brilliant ditzy comedy Merrily We Live (1938), Oscar-nominated for his role as Emperor Maxmilian in Juarez (1939), Vigil in the Night (1940), his best film, the 1948 psychological film noir, The Locket, Titanic (1953), and The Best of Everything (1959). In 1945, he played sleuth Simon Templar in the radio mystery series, The Saint. Aherne also appeared in many TV theatrical series, including General Electric Theater, The Twilight Zone, in the episode "The Trouble with Templeton", and Rawhide. He also appeared as guest host on the TV panel show The Name's the Same. Aherne published his autobiography A Proper Job in 1969, as well as A Dreadful Man (1979), a biography of his friend George Sanders. Personal life and death Between 1939 and 1945, Aherne was married to actress Joan Fontaine, which ended in divorce. He then married Eleanor de Liagre Labrot. He was the brother of actor Patrick Aherne. Aherne died of heart failure in Venice, Florida, USA at the age of 83. Brian Aherne was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1772 Vine Street.[4] Partial filmography Film Year Title Role Notes 1924 The Eleventh Commandment Norman Barchester 1925 King of the Castle Colin O'Farrell 1926 Safety First Hippocrates Rayne 1927 A Woman Redeemed Geoffrey Maynefleet 1928 Shooting Stars Julian Gordon 1928 Underground Bill 1930 The W Plan Colonel Duncan Grant 1931 Madame Guillotine Louis Dubois 1933 The Song of Songs Richard Waldow 1934 What Every Woman Knows John Shand 1935 Sylvia Scarlett Michael Fane 1935 I Live My Life Terence "Terry" O'Neill 1936 Beloved Enemy Dennis Riordan 1937 The Great Garrick David Garrick 1938 Merrily We Live E. Wade Rawlins 1939 Juarez Maximilian I of Mexico {nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role} 1939 Captain Fury Captain Michael Fury 1940 Vigil in the Night Dr. Robert S. Prescott 1940 My Son, My Son! William Essex 1940 The Lady in Question Andre Morestan 1940 Hired Wife Stephen Dexter 1941 Smilin' Through Sir John Carteret 1942 My Sister Eileen Robert Baker 1942 A Night To Remember Jeff Troy 1943 What a Woman! Henry Pepper 1943 First Comes Courage Captain Allan Lowell 1946 The Locket Dr. Harry Blair 1948 Smart Woman Robert Larrimore 1948 Angel on the Amazon Anthony Ridgeway Alternative titles: Drums Along the Amazon The Jungle Wilderness 1953 Titanic Captain Edward John Smith 1954 Prince Valiant King Arthur 1956 The Swan Father Carl Hyacinth 1959 The Best of Everything Fred Shalimar 1961 Susan Slade Stanton Corbett 1963 Lancelot and Guinevere King Arthur Alternative title: Sword of Lancelot 1964 Sette contro la morte Gen. Braithwaite Alternative title: The Cavern 1967 Rosie! Oliver Stevenson Television Year Title Role Notes 1950 Armstrong Circle Theatre 1 episode 1950–1953 Robert Montgomery Presents Phillip Armstrong 3 episodes 1951 Pulitzer Prize Playhouse 1 episode 1951–1953 Lux Video Theatre Mr. Don/Reggie 2 episodes 1955 General Electric Theater Colonel Tafferty 1 episode Producers' Showcase Rudolf Maximilian 1 episode 1955–1956 Crossroads Father Cataldo 3 episodes 1956 Climax! David 1 episode Cavalcade of America John Kirk 1 episode 1959 Goodyear Theatre James Rupert/James Spencer 1 episode 1960 The Twilight Zone Booth Templeton 1 episode 1961 Wagon Train Lord Bruce Saybrook 1 episode 1963 The Wonderful World of Disney Johann Strauss Sr. 2 episodes Award nominations Year Award Result Category Film 1940 Academy Award Nominated Best Actor in a Supporting Role Juarez

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Known For
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Sylvia Scarlet

Michael Fane

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The Song of Songs

Richard Waldow

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Sword of Lancelot

King Arthur

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The Locket

Dr. Blair

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Merrily We Live

Wade Rawlins

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A Night to Remember

Jeff Troy aka Jeff Yort

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Shooting Stars

Julian Gordon

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My Sister Eileen

Robert Baker

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Underground

Bill

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A Bullet Is Waiting

David Canham

Starring In
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My Name Is Alfred Hitchcock

Self (archive footage)

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Rosie!

Oliver Stevenson

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Sword of Lancelot

King Arthur

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Susan Slade

Stanton Corbett

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The Best of Everything

Fred Shalimar

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The Swan

Father Carl Hyacinth

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Prince Valiant

King Arthur

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A Bullet Is Waiting

David Canham

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Titanic (53)

Capt. Edward John Smith

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I Confess

Willy Robertson

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Angel on the Amazon

Anthony Ridgeway

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Smart Woman

Robert Larrimore

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The Locket

Dr. Blair

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First Comes Courage

Capt. Allan Lowell

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Forever and a Day

Jim Trimble

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A Night to Remember

Jeff Troy aka Jeff Yort

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My Sister Eileen

Robert Baker

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Im Banne der Vergangenheit

Sir John Carteret

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Eheposse

Jim Blake

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Vigil in the Night

Dr. Robert Prescott

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Hired Wife

Stephen Dexter

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The Lady in Question

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Captain Fury

Captain Michael Fury

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Juarez

Maximilian I of Mexico

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Merrily We Live

Wade Rawlins

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The Great Garrick

David Garrick

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Sylvia Scarlet

Michael Fane

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I Live My Life

Terence 'Terry' O'Neill

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What Every Woman Knows

John Shand

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The Fountain

Lewis Allison

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The Song of Songs

Richard Waldow

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Underground

Bill

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Shooting Stars

Julian Gordon

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