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Sir John Gielgud
Cenotaph

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Sir John Gielgud Famous memorial

Original Name
Arthur John Gielgud
Birth
South Kensington, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Greater London, England
Death
21 May 2000 (aged 96)
Wotton Underwood, Aylesbury Vale District, Buckinghamshire, England
Cenotaph
Westminster, City of Westminster, Greater London, England Add to Map
Plot
Poets' Corner
Memorial ID
View Source

Actor. Born Arthur John Gielgud in South Kensington, London, he attended Hillside Preparatory School, where he first appeared onstage in a production of Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. At 17, he made his professional debut at the Old Vic in 1921 in a minor role in Henry V. He studied his craft at Lady Benson's Dramatic Academy and attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. He debuted in film in 1923 in the silent picture Who Is the Man? In 1929, he joined the Old Vic Company and established a solid reputation for himself. He became the first actor under 40 to play Hamlet in the West End, and his performance was considered groundbreaking, the best interpretation of his generation. Playwright Elizabeth Mackintosh, under her Gordon Daviot pen name, wrote Richard of Bordeaux specifically for Gielgud. The play was a huge financial and critical success. He wrote a 1939 autobiography entitled Early Stages. He was awarded a knighthood in the Coronation Honors list of June 1953. For the 1957 Edinburgh Festival, he created a solo recital of Shakespearean excerpts called The Ages of Man, which was such a success that he toured with the show for a decade and won a special Tony Award in 1958 for its Broadway run. He won again in 1961, taking the Tony Award as Best Director for Big Fish, Little Fish. He was nominated twice for a Best Actor Tony Award for Tiny Alice and again in 1971 for Home. His book, Distinguished Company, was published in 1972. He won an appointment as a Companion of Honor in 1977. A new autobiography, An Actor in His Time, was published in 1979. Although he had appeared in almost eighty films, he was regarded as a stage actor by most and was not generally noted for his film roles until his immensely popular portrayal of Hobson in the 1981 comedy Arthur, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Special Award in 1986 for lifetime achievement. He made his final appearance in the theatre at 83 in The Best of Friends in 1988. He wrote a primer for Shakespearean actors, Shakespeare - Hit or Miss? in 1991. For his exceptional contributions to the arts, he was made a member of the Order of Merit by Elizabeth II in December 1996. His final film role was as Pope Pius in Elizabeth, which was released in 2000. That year, after a career of over 75 years, Gielgud passed away at 96. Appropriately, the former Globe Theatre in London's West End, renamed the Gielgud Theatre in 1995, survives as his monument. He was cremated, and his ashes were scattered in the garden of his home in Wotton Underwood, Buckinghamshire. He also has a cenotaph in the Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey, which was added in 2022.

Actor. Born Arthur John Gielgud in South Kensington, London, he attended Hillside Preparatory School, where he first appeared onstage in a production of Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. At 17, he made his professional debut at the Old Vic in 1921 in a minor role in Henry V. He studied his craft at Lady Benson's Dramatic Academy and attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. He debuted in film in 1923 in the silent picture Who Is the Man? In 1929, he joined the Old Vic Company and established a solid reputation for himself. He became the first actor under 40 to play Hamlet in the West End, and his performance was considered groundbreaking, the best interpretation of his generation. Playwright Elizabeth Mackintosh, under her Gordon Daviot pen name, wrote Richard of Bordeaux specifically for Gielgud. The play was a huge financial and critical success. He wrote a 1939 autobiography entitled Early Stages. He was awarded a knighthood in the Coronation Honors list of June 1953. For the 1957 Edinburgh Festival, he created a solo recital of Shakespearean excerpts called The Ages of Man, which was such a success that he toured with the show for a decade and won a special Tony Award in 1958 for its Broadway run. He won again in 1961, taking the Tony Award as Best Director for Big Fish, Little Fish. He was nominated twice for a Best Actor Tony Award for Tiny Alice and again in 1971 for Home. His book, Distinguished Company, was published in 1972. He won an appointment as a Companion of Honor in 1977. A new autobiography, An Actor in His Time, was published in 1979. Although he had appeared in almost eighty films, he was regarded as a stage actor by most and was not generally noted for his film roles until his immensely popular portrayal of Hobson in the 1981 comedy Arthur, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Special Award in 1986 for lifetime achievement. He made his final appearance in the theatre at 83 in The Best of Friends in 1988. He wrote a primer for Shakespearean actors, Shakespeare - Hit or Miss? in 1991. For his exceptional contributions to the arts, he was made a member of the Order of Merit by Elizabeth II in December 1996. His final film role was as Pope Pius in Elizabeth, which was released in 2000. That year, after a career of over 75 years, Gielgud passed away at 96. Appropriately, the former Globe Theatre in London's West End, renamed the Gielgud Theatre in 1995, survives as his monument. He was cremated, and his ashes were scattered in the garden of his home in Wotton Underwood, Buckinghamshire. He also has a cenotaph in the Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey, which was added in 2022.

Bio by: Iola


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Actor & Director

Gravesite Details

He is commemorated with a memorial stone in Westminster Abbey. He was cremated and his ashes scattered in the garden of his home in Buckinghamshire.


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: Jul 9, 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID:
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/10527/john-gielgud: accessed ), memorial page for Sir John Gielgud (c.14 Apr 1904–21 May 2000), Find a Grave Memorial ID 10527, citing Westminster Abbey, Westminster, City of Westminster, Greater London, England; Maintained by Find a Grave.