William Gillette

William Gillette

Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA
Death 29 Apr 1937 (aged 83)
Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA
Burial Farmington, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA
Memorial ID 391 · View Source
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American Actor, Playwright, Inventor. He was originally a stage manager who achieved world-wide fame portraying Arthur Conan Doyle’s eccentric detective Sherlock Holmes. Gillette performed the role some 1,300 times over 33 years, from 1899-1932. His portrayal of the fictional detective became the standard that has endured to the present day. His choice of costume and props included the now iconic deerstalker hat, curved-stem pipe, magnifying glass, and elegant dressing gown. He made famous the line “Elementary, my dear Watson." Gillette was born at Nook Farm in Hartford, Connecticut where his neighbors included literary luminaries such as Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe. In 1882, he married Helen Nichols who died six years later from peritonitis. The marriage produced no children and Gillette never remarried. Gillette wrote 13 plays and one novel: The Astounding Crime on Torrington Road. He held patents for four time-stamp machines as well as one for a method of producing stage effects. Gaining fame and fortune as an actor, William Gillette designed and built a 24-room stone castle in East Haddam Connecticut with views of the Connecticut River. The castle was made of Connecticut fieldstone and was completed in 1919. Gillette called his home “Seventh Sister” and he lived there until his death in 1937. “Gillette’s Castle” as it is known today, located in Gillette Castle State Park in East Haddam Connecticut, contains many unique and fascinating features designed by Gillette himself, who is considered by some to have been a creative genius. Encircling the property, Gillette built a narrow gauge railroad that was 3 miles long with trestles, bridges, turnouts, and a tunnel. The steam engine is now on display in the visitor center at the park. William Gillette last performed on stage in 1936. He is buried beside his beloved wife in the Hooker family plot at Riverside Cemetery, Farmington, Connecticut.

Bio by: Zeke

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 391
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William Gillette (24 Jul 1853–29 Apr 1937), Find a Grave Memorial no. 391, citing Riverside Cemetery, Farmington, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .