Holmes Herbert (born Horace Edward Jenner; July 30, 1882 – December 26, 1956) was an English character actor who appeared in Hollywood films from 1915 to 1952.
Life and career
Born Horace Edward Jenner, (some sources give Edward Sanger) Holmes Herbert emigrated to the United States in 1912. He was the first son of Ned Herbert (born Edward Jenner), who worked as an actor and comedian in the British theatre. He never made a film in his native country but managed to appear in 228 films during his career in the U.S., beginning with stalwart leading roles during the silent era and numerous supporting roles in many classic Hollywood films of the sound era, including Captain Blood (1935), The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936), The Life of Emile Zola (1937), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), and Foreign Correspondent (1940).
In silent films Herbert could play different nationalities, as did his contemporaries like Wyndham Standing, but when sound films came in, their pronounced British accents were revealed.
Herbert is perhaps best known for his role as Dr. Jekyll's friend Dr. Lanyon in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931), and made something of a career in horror films of the period, appearing in The Terror (1928),
The Thirteenth Chair (1929 and 1937), The Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933), The Invisible Man (1933), Mark of the Vampire (1935), Tower of London (1939), The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), The Undying Monster (1942),
The Mummy's Curse and The Son of Dr. Jekyll (1952). He also played in several of Universal's cycle of Sherlock Holmes films during the 1940s. He retired from acting in 1952.
Herbert was married three times. His first wife was actress Beryl Mercer, and his second was Elinor Kershaw Ince, widow of film mogul Thomas H. Ince. Both those marriages ended in divorce. Third wife Agnes Bartholomew died, leaving Herbert a widower, in 1955.
Holmes Herbert died in 1956 at age 74. He is interred at Forest Lawn Glendale Cemetery.
1. Thomas Ince; Hollywood's Independent Pioneer p.276 c.2012 by Brian Taves
2. David Quinlan (1 April 1986). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Movie Character Actors. Harmony Books. p. 139.
3. Joseph F. Clarke (1977). Pseudonyms. BCA. p. 85.
4. Taves, Brian; Thomas Ince...page. 276