In the 1940s, actor Basil Rathbone was Sherlock Holmes, with 15 movies for both 20th Century Fox and Universal, and 242 radio broadcasts as the detective between 1939 and 1946. But before he got there, audiences already knew him as one of cinema’s most brilliant swordsman, (back in the days when actors knew swordplay, and didn't need editing to make them look good) in roles such as Sir Guy of Gisbourne in The Adventures of Robin Hood, Captain Levasseur in Captain Blood, and Captain Esteban Pasquale in The Mark of Zorro .

Born Philip St. John Basil Rathbone in 1892 in Johannesburg, South Africa, His theatre career began in 1911, and made his debut with the New Shakespeare Company at Stratford upon Avon in 1912. During World War I he served with the London Scottish & Liverpool Scottish regiments. He moved to Hollywood in the 1930s. As a film actor, Rathbone was nominated twice for Best Supporting Actor, for his performance as Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet (1936) and for the role of Louis XI in If I Were King (1938). Though he appeared in 86 films during his career, it was difficult for him to get screen parts after the Sherlock Holmes films-- he was too closely associated with the role. But he could still wield a sword (Check out the duel with Danny Kaye in The Court Jester (1956)). He died July 21, 1967, in New York.

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