Thursday, June 9, 2016

Born Today June 9 Leslie Banks


Leslie James Banks was born in West Derby, located in Lancashire UK (very near Liverpool).  He later attended college in Scotland, and went on to study at Keble College, Oxford; with a mind to become a parson.  Instead, he joined an acting company owned by Frank Benson and made his stage debut in 1911 in a production of Shakespeare's The Merchant Of Venice.  In 1912 through 1913 he toured the United States with Eva Moore and Henry V. Esmond, returning to his native England to finally debut in London's West Side in 1914.  During World War I, he served with the Essex Regiment. He was gravely injured during the war, which left him with half his face scared and half his body partially paralyzed.  Returning to his acting career after recuperation, he would use the un-scarred part of his face to play up comedy or romance, and the scarred portion of his face to emphasize tragedy or drama.  Before long he was working both in London and New York with great success in dramas.  It was around this time that he got a part in an experimental allegorical film in New York called Experience (1921), co-produced by Paramount and the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation.  He would not appear in film again until he was persuaded to make the move to Hollywood in 1932 for stage work.  He is most well known for his role in the first film production by Alfred Hitchcock of The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934).  Second only to this in terms of his most well known film roles, came two years earlier as the infamous Russian hunter of human prey in The Most Dangerous Game. He would go on to work with both Laurence Olivier and David Lean; in addition to other appearances in Hitchcock films.  From the early 1930's and all through the 1940's, he had steady and wide ranging film work.  His last appearance came in 1950, in Lean's Madeleine.  He passed away two years later on 21 April.  While out walking, he suffered a massive stroke; he was 61 years of age. He was cremated and his ashes were buried in the St. Nicholas Church Cemetery in Dorset, England. 

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