Mudie as the priest in Rage in Heaven (1941)
11 April 1882|
Cheetham Hill, Manchester, Lancashire, England
14 April 1965 (aged 83)|
Hollywood, United States
|Resting place||Chapel of the Pines Crematory|
Leonard Mudie (11 April 1883 – 14 April 1965) was an English character actor whose career lasted for nearly fifty years. After a successful start as a stage actor in England, he appeared regularly in the US, and made his home there from 1932. He appeared in character roles on Broadway and in Hollywood films.
Mudie was born in Cheetham Hill, a suburb of Manchester, England. Many sources incorrectly give his birth name as "Leonard Mudie Cheetham". He made his stage debut with Annie Horniman's company at the Gaiety Theatre, Manchester in 1908. He remained with the company for several seasons, in a wide range of roles including Humphrey in The Knight of the Burning Pestle, Verges in Much Ado About Nothing, Alan Jeffcoate in the première of Hindle Wakes, Joseph Surface in The School for Scandal, Gordon Jayne in The Second Mrs. Tanqueray and Walter How in Justice.
In The Manchester Guardian, James Agate commented on Mudie's acting in 1909, "[He] has a definite and genuine feeling for the stage. His enunciation is very faulty, his accent not good … but the acting instinct is there." With the Horniman company Mudie made his London and American debuts.
In 1914 and 1915 Mudie appeared at the Opera House, Boston in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Julius Caesar, The Merchant of Venice, and Twelfth Night. In 1916 he appeared at the New Amsterdam Theatre, New York in The Merry Wives of Windsor, playing Justice Shallow to the Falstaff of Sir Herbert Tree. For the next five years he appeared on Broadway and on tour in the US in modern plays, including a run playing Abraham Lincoln in a play based on the politician's life (1921), and another playing Brian Strange in A.A. Milne's Mr Pim Passes By (1922).
Mudie made his film debut in a Boris Karloff film, The Mummy in 1932. He moved to Hollywood in that year, and lived there for the rest of his life. He played a range of screen parts, some substantial, and others short cameos. Among the bigger roles were Dr Pearson in The Mummy, Porthinos in Cleopatra (1934), Maitland in Mary of Scotland (1936), and De Bourenne in Anthony Adverse (1936). His small roles, according to The New York Times, were typically "a bewigged, gimlet-eyed British judge".
Mudie made the postwar transition into television, and appeared in several episodes of Adventures of Superman. For the postwar cinema he played the regular character Commander Barnes in the series of Bomba, the Jungle Boy films.
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