|Height:||183 cm (6' 1'')|
|Birth Day:||January 15, 1879|
|Height:||183 cm (6' 1'')|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
Thesiger attended Marlborough College and the Slade School of Art with aspirations of becoming a painter, but quickly switched to drama, making his professional debut in a production of Colonel Smith in 1909. He also processed with the Men's League for Women's Suffrage at the mass rally in 1909.
After the outbreak of World War I, on 31 August 1914, he volunteered with the British Army's Territorial Force, enlisting into the 2nd Battalion of the 9th London Regiment (Queen Victoria's Rifles), as Rifleman No.2546 at its Regimental Headquarters in London's West End. After training in England for three months, he was sent to the Western Front in late 1914 with the Q.V.R.'s 1st Battalion.
On 1 January 1915, he was wounded in the trenches, and medically evacuated back to England. His interest in needlework had begun with buying and repairing pieces of historical embroidery with his brother in law William Ranken whilst in France. After the incident in a barn explosion, his hands had been damaged and on return home, despite the Ministry of Pensions declaring it “too effeminate an occupation for men”, Thesiger developed small sewing kits for soldiers similarly injured to provide activity and pain relief. This became The Disabled Soldiers' Embroidery Industry, 42 Ebury Street, London. As Honorary Secretary Cross-Stitch, Thesiger was convinced that needlework could improve injured men's morale and earn some money, as he also obtained commissions, including an altar frontal for private use in Buckingham Palace.
Thesiger made his film debut in 1916 in The Real Thing at Last, a spoof presenting Macbeth as it might be done by an American company, in which he did a drag turn as one of the Witches. Thesiger also played the First Witch in a 1941 production of Macbeth directed by John Gielgud. He performed more small roles in films during the silent era, but worked mainly on the stage. He had a larger role in an early film for director Alfred Hitchcock, the silent Number 13 (1922), but this was never completed due to lack of funds.
In 1917, he married Janette Mary Fernie Ranken (1877–1970), sister of his close friend and fellow Slade graduate William Bruce Ellis Ranken. In her biography of Thesiger's friend, Ivy Compton-Burnett, Hilary Spurling suggests that Thesiger and Janette wed largely out of their mutual adoration of William, who shaved his head when he learned of the engagement. Another source states more explicitly that Thesiger made no secret of his bisexuality.
Thesiger first came to public notice in the farce A Little Bit of Fluff by Walter W. Ellis at the Criterion Theatre in 1915-18. He played the comic hero Bertrand Tully over 1,200 times, and received very favourable reviews. The London Standard wrote, “The character of Bertram Tully...is one of the happiest seen on the stage for a decade past...Mr. Ernest Thesiger achieved a real triumph.” He reprised the role in the 1919 film version, and in a 1923 revival at the Ambassadors Theatre.
When he appeared in a Christmas production of The Merry Wives of Windsor in 1919, Thesiger met and befriended James Whale. After Whale moved to Hollywood and had found success with the films Journey's End (1930) and Frankenstein (1931), the director was commissioned to direct the screen adaptation of J. B. Priestley's Benighted as The Old Dark House (1932), starring Charles Laughton in his first American film, together with Boris Karloff and Raymond Massey. Whale immediately cast Thesiger in the film as Horace Femm, launching his Hollywood career. The following year Thesiger appeared (as a Scottish butler) with Karloff in a British film The Ghoul.
In 1925, Thesiger appeared in drag in Noël Coward's On with the Dance, and later played the Dauphin in Shaw's Saint Joan. He wrote an autobiography Practically True, published in 1927, which covers his stage career. An unpublished memoir written near the end of his life is housed in the Ernest Thesiger Collection at the University of Bristol Theatre Collection.
When Whale agreed to direct Bride of Frankenstein in 1935, he insisted on casting Thesiger as Dr. Septimus Pretorius, instead of the studio's choice of Claude Rains. Partly inspired by Mary Shelley's friend John Polidori and largely based on the Renaissance physician and botanist Paracelsus, it became Thesiger's most famous role.
In 1960, Thesiger was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). He was Vice Patron of the Embroiderers Guild. His last film appearance was a small role in The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1962). Shortly after completing it, Thesiger died in his sleep from natural causes on the eve of his 82nd birthday. His body was buried in Brompton Cemetery in London.
Currently, Ernest Thesiger is 143 years, 5 months and 11 days old. Ernest Thesiger will celebrate 144th birthday on a Sunday 15th of January 2023. Below we countdown to Ernest Thesiger upcoming birthday.