John Gielgud

Actor, Director
John Gielgud


Also Known As
Arthur John Gielgud, Sir John Gielgud
Birth Place
London, England, GB
April 14, 1904
May 21, 2000


Widely considered one of the finest actors of the 20th-Century, the versatile and prolific Sir John Gielgud fashioned an astounding career that spanned nearly 80 years. Born into a renowned English theater family, Gielgud began performing on stage in 1921 and was soon touted as one of the leading Shakespearian actors of his day. His continued efforts producing other classic works at the ...

Family & Companions

John Perry
Irish; reportedly Gielgud's first long-standing relationship.
Paul Anstee
Involved in the 1950s.
Martin Hensler
Met in 1963 died of cancer in March 1999.


"John G: The Authorised Biography of John Gielgud"
Sheridan Morley, Hodder & Stoughton (2001)
"Gielgud: A Theatrical Life"
Jonathan Croall, Methuen (2000)
"Notes from the Gods"
John Gielgud, Consortium Books (1994)
"Shakespeare-Hit or Miss"
John Gielgud, Sidgwick & Jackson (1991)


Gielgud was one of only eight individuals (Rita Moreno, Richard Rodgers, Audrey Hepburn, Helen Hayes, Marvin Hamlisch, Mel Brooks and Mike Nichols are the others) to have won all four of the major entertainment awards (Oscar, Tony, Grammy and Emmy) in competition.

The Globe Theater was renamed the Gielgud in October 1994, in tribute to his 90th birthday.


Widely considered one of the finest actors of the 20th-Century, the versatile and prolific Sir John Gielgud fashioned an astounding career that spanned nearly 80 years. Born into a renowned English theater family, Gielgud began performing on stage in 1921 and was soon touted as one of the leading Shakespearian actors of his day. His continued efforts producing other classic works at the renowned Queen's Theatre throughout the 1930s and 1940s further solidified his growing reputation. Gielgud's film output began to increase mid-century with notable productions like "Julius Caesar" (1953) and "Richard III" (1955), in addition to a growing recognition on the stages of Broadway for such productions as "Ages of Man" and "Little Fish, Big Fish," both of which earned him a Tony Award. Modern-era works by the likes of David Storey and Harold Pinter occupied Gielgud's time throughout much of the 1970s, but it was near the dawn of the following decade when the heralded stage actor also became one of the most respected film actors ever to grace the screen. Following acclaimed performances in efforts like Alain Resnais' "Providence" (1977), the septuagenarian actor won an Oscar for his supporting role as the less-than-amused butler in the hit comedy "Arthur" (1981). Accolades continued to come for his work on such miniseries as "Brideshead Revisited" (PBS, 1982), as well as on radio plays alongside protégé Kenneth Branagh. One of the few performers to win an Oscar, Tony, Emmy and Grammy, Gielgud's placement in the pantheon of all-time greats was inarguably secure.

Born Arthur John Gielgud on April 14, 1904 in South Kensington, London, U.K., he was the son of Kate and Franciszek "Frank" Gielgud, the latter a descendent of Polish nobility. On his mother's side, he was the scion of an illustrious acting family, with his grandmother, Kate Terry, great-aunt, Ellen Terry, and great-uncle, Fred Terry, all being luminaries of the London stage. After completing studies at Westminster School, Gielgud trained on a scholarship at Lady Benson's Acting School and at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art before making his stage debut in 1921 at the Old Vic with a single line as a herald in Shakespeare's "Henry V." Less of a physical presence than Olivier and underwhelming as a romantic lead, his rich, deeply emotive voice allowed him to excel in virtually any other type of role, especially when it came to the works of the Bard. Gielgud soon came to be regarded as one of the foremost interpreters of Shakespeare, delivering definitive interpretations of Romeo, Richard II, Macbeth, Prospero and Antony, to name a few.

Gielgud made his Broadway debut in a 1928 production of the original drama "The Patriot" prior to playing Hamlet for the first time in 1930, a character he would later revive on Broadway and reprise more than 500 times during his career. Although he had made his film debut in a silent movie years earlier, few of Gielgud's early screen roles - the exception being a rare romantic lead in Alfred Hitchcock's "Secret Agent" (1936) - were particularly memorable. A lauded actor, Gielgud subsequently established himself as a respected stage director, launching his own company in 1937 at the West End's Queen's Theatre, where he mounted productions of Shakespeare and other classics works, such as Sheridan's "School for Scandal," Chekhov's "Three Sisters" and later, Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest." Over the course of two decades, Gielgud firmly established his position as one of the most respected English thespians ever to grace the stage.

Outside the glow of the theater, however, life was not always filled with such accolades. Knighted earlier in the year, Gielgud ultimately survived the temporary scandal caused by homosexual solicitation charges - quite serious, considering the social morays of the time - filed against him in 1953. Although the actor had never sought to explicitly deny his sexuality, the incident continued to be a source of great embarrassment and sadness for him in the years that followed. Despite the potential damage to his career, Gielgud began making in-roads as a supporting actor in film, most notably with his appearance as Cassius opposite Marlon Brando in "Julius Caesar" (1953) and as the Duke of Clarence in the Olivier-directed "Richard III" (1955). Nonetheless, throughout the first half of his lengthy career, the theater remained his primary focus, both in his native London and on Broadway, where he won three Tony Awards. The first being a special award for his insights into Shakespeare with his one-man show, "Ages of Man" in 1959, followed by another for his direction of the 1961 play "Big Fish, Little Fish." Also on Broadway, Gielgud later directed fellow English classicist Richard Burton in a 1964 production of "Hamlet" and appeared opposite the star in a filmed adaptation of "Becket" (1964) that same year.

Despite appearances to the contrary, Gielgud did not limit himself solely to the classics; he remained current with the times, appearing in plays by such varied literary voices as Noel Coward, N.C. Hunter and Graham Greene during the '50s and gracing the angry-young-man projects of avant-garde figures as Edward Albee, Lindsay Anderson and Peter Hall throughout the 1960s. His starring turn opposite Sir Ralph Richardson on Broadway in David Storey's "Home" (1970) earned Gielgud a Drama Desk Award. To the delight of audiences and critics alike the pair reteamed to overwhelming success in Harold Pinter's "No Man's Land" (1975-76), earning Gielgud another Drama Desk Award. Hitting his stride as a screen actor at the spry age of 73, he won a New York Film Critics Circle Award as Best Actor for his impassioned portrayal of a dying writer in Alain Resnais' "Providence" (1977). He also impressed that year with a turn as a priest in the adaptation of James Joyce's "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" (1977), prior to making his American TV-movie debut in an adaptation of "Les Miserables" (CBS, 1978). The following year, Gielgud won a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Recording when he revisited his acclaimed one-man ode to the Bard with Ages of Man - Recordings from Shakespeare.

Approaching his 80th birthday, Gielgud picked up a Best Supporting Actor Oscar as Dudley Moore's ever-patient manservant, Hobson, in the smash romantic-comedy "Arthur" (1981). Stealing every scene he was in with his dry, caustic observations, Gielgud's complex portrayal of the loyal father figure to the alcoholic millionaire won him a new generation of fans unfamiliar with his Bard work. The following year, he gave a memorable performance as Jeremy Irons' eccentric father in the revered British miniseries "Brideshead Revisited" (PBS, 1982) and later portrayed an aging career diplomat in the film version of David Hare's "Plenty" (1985). No longer confident in his physical stamina or ability to remember lines, Gielgud retired from the stage after "The Best of Friends" (1988), but continued to work energetically in radio, television and film. He garnered a Golden Globe Award as Best Supporting Actor in the acclaimed miniseries "War and Remembrance" (ABC, 1988) and picked up an Emmy as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries for the "Masterpiece Theatre" presentation of "Summer's Lease" (PBS, 1991).

Gielgud returned to Shakespeare for a daring adaptation of "The Tempest" in Peter Greenaway's "Prospero's Books" (1991), thus achieving his lifelong goal of bringing the character - which he had essayed four times on stage - to life on the big screen. On radio, he collaborated with Kenneth Branagh in presenting "Hamlet," "Romeo and Juliet" and "King Lear," in addition to acting in Branagh's Oscar-nominated "Swan Song" (1992). Adapted from a play by Chekhov, the short film centered on Gielgud's poignant performance as an aging actor recalling his brilliant past and dim future on an empty stage. He remained surprisingly busy in film throughout the 1990s, at one point appearing in as many as three high-profile movies in a single year. There was a cameo as Priam in Branagh's "Hamlet" (1996), then a turn as Nicole Kidman's benefactor in Jane Campion's "The Portrait of a Lady" (1996) and finally, as David Helfgott's (Geoffrey Rush) teacher in Scott Hicks' "Shine" (1996). Having outlived many of his esteemed contemporaries - Burton, Olivier and Richardson among them - Gielgud continued to add to his legacy as one of the century's truly great actors up until his passing on May 21, 2000 from complications due to a respiratory infection. Sir John Gielgud was 96 years old.

By Bryce Coleman



Director (Feature Film)

Hamlet (1964)
Staged by

Cast (Feature Film)

Edward the King (1998)
Quest for Camelot (1998)
Elizabeth (1998)
MERLIN (1998)
The Tichborne Claimant (1998)
Hamlet (1996)
Looking for Richard (1996)
Shine (1996)
The Leopard Son (1996)
Narration--Voice Of Hugo Van Lawick
Haunted (1996)
The Portrait of a Lady (1996)
Mr Touchett
First Knight (1995)
The Power of One (1992)
Headmaster St John
Swan Song (1992)
Shining Through (1992)
Prospero's Books (1991)
Vivien Leigh: Scarlett And Beyond (1990)
Strike It Rich (1990)
Herbert Dreuther
A TV Dante (1989)
Voice Of Virgil
Getting It Right (1989)
Arthur 2: On The Rocks (1988)
A Man For All Seasons (1988)
Appointment with Death (1988)
Barbablu Barbablu (1987)
Time After Time (1987)
Jasper Swift
The Whistle Blower (1987)
Sir Adrian Chapple
Romance on the Orient Express (1985)
Ingrid (1985)
Plenty (1985)
Leave All Fair (1985)
John Middleton Murry
The Master Of Ballantrae (1984)
Lord Durrisdeer
Camille (1984)
Scandalous (1984)
The Shooting Party (1984)
Cornelius Cardew
The Scarlet and the Black (1983)
Pope Pius Xii
The Wicked Lady (1983)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1982)
Gandhi (1982)
Lion of the Desert (1981)
Sphinx (1981)
Abu Hamdi
Priest of Love (1981)
Arthur (1981)
The Formula (1980)
The Human Factor (1980)
Brigadier Tomlinson
The Elephant Man (1980)
Dyrygent (1980)
The Conductor
Murder by Decree (1979)
Caligula (1979)
Les Miserables (1978)
Providence (1977)
Joseph Andrews (1977)
A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man (1977)
Aces High (1977)
Gold (1974)
Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
11 Harrowhouse (1974)
Galileo (1974)
Invitation to the Wedding (1973)
Eagle in a Cage (1972)
Lord Sissal
Lost Horizon (1972)
Search (1972)
Harold L Streeter
Julius Caesar (1970)
Julius Caesar
Oh! What a Lovely War (1969)
Count Berchtold
Assignment To Kill (1969)
Curt Valayan
The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968)
The Elder Pope
The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968)
Lord Raglan
Sebastian (1968)
Head of Intelligence
Ages of Man (1966)
The Loved One (1965)
Sir Francis Hinsley
To Die in Madrid (1965)
Chimes at Midnight (1965)
King Henry IV
Becket (1964)
King Louis VII of France
Hamlet (1964)
Voice of The Ghost
Saint Joan (1957)
Earl of Warwick
The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1957)
[Edward] Barrett
Richard III (1955)
Romeo and Juliet (1954)
Narration (Prologue)
Romeo and Juliet (1954)
Julius Caesar (1953)
The Prime Minister (1942)
[Benjamin] Disraeli [also known as Lord Beaconsfield]
Secret Agent (1936)
Edgar Brodie, also known as Richard Ashenden
The Good Companions (1933)
Inigo Jollifant
Insult (1932)
The Clue of the New Pin (1929)
Who Is the Man? (1924)

Music (Feature Film)

Knight of Cups (2016)
Song Performer

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Looking for Richard (1996)

Cast (Special)

Catastrophe (2002)
Vivien Leigh: A Delicate Balance (2000)
The Noel Coward Story (1999)
Twilight of the Gods (1996)
Ava Gardner (1992)
The Best of Friends (1992)
Sir John Gielgud Talking With David Frost (1992)
Summer's Lease (1991)
Richard Burton: In From the Cold (1989)
John Gielgud: An Actor's Life (1988)
The Theban Plays (1988)
Quartermaine's Terms (1987)
Funny, You Don't Look 200 (1987)
Winston Churchill (1986)
The Seven Dials Mystery (1981)
Why Didn't They Ask Evans? (1981)
Romeo and Juliet (1979)
Richard II (1979)
Peter Pan (1976)
William (1973)

Misc. Crew (Special)

1991 Emmy Awards (1991)
Film Clips

Cast (Short)

An Airman's Letter to His Mother (1941)

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Gulliver's Travels (1996)
Scarlett (1994)
Hand in Glove (1994)
Lovejoy: The Lost Colony (1994)
The Emperor's New Clothes (1990)
War and Remembrance (1988)
The Canterville Ghost (1986)
The Far Pavilions (1984)
Major Sir Louis Cavagnari
Inside the Third Reich (1982)
Albert Speer Sr
Marco Polo (1982)
QB VII (1974)
Frankenstein: The True Story (1973)
Chief Constable

Life Events


Stage acting debut at Old Vic with one-line role in "Henry V"


Feature debut in a silent film, "Who Is The Man?"


Made New York acting debut, "The Patriot"


Joined Old Vic Theatre Company


Feature debut in a sound film, "Insult"


Took over Queen's Theatre and launched his own company


Published "Early Stages"


Won first Tony for "The Importance of Being Earnest"


Knighted by Queen Elizabeth


Arrested in October for "importuning"


First appearance in a feature after 12-year absence, "Julius Caesar"


Had featured role in Laurence Olivier's "Richard III"; first time Gielgud, Olivier and Ralph Richardson appeared in the same film


Broadway directing debut, "Big Fish, Little Fish"


Published "Stage Directions"


Directed modern dress version of "Hamlet" on Broadway starring Richard Burton; filmed for theatrical release; Burton's contract stipulated that the film would be desstroyed after its initial release, but at least two copies are extant


Co-starred in the Broadway production of Edward Albee's "Tiny Alice"


Played Henry IV in Orson Welles' "Chimes at Midnight", adapted from Shakespeare's "Henry IV, Parts I and II"


Had title role in feature version of "Julius Caesar"


Returned to American TV after 15 year absence as the Ghost of Hamlet's father in "Hamlet"


Co-starred with Ralph Richardson in David Storey's "Home" on the London stage and on Broadway


Published "Distinguished Company"


Debut in a US TV miniseries, "Frankenstein: The True Story"


Was featured in the all-star cast of Sidney Lumet's "Murder on the Orient Express"


Co-starred in the ABC miniseries "QB VII"


Host of short-lived TV series, "The Pallisers"


With Richardson, appeared in the stage production "No Man's Land"


American TV-movie debut, "Les Miserables"


Earned Grammy Award, Best Spoken Word, Documentary or Drama Recording for "Ages of Man (Readings from Shakespeare)"


Won Best Supporting Actor Oscar for "Arthur"


Played Edward Ryder, father of Jeremy Irons' Charles Ryder, in the British miniseries "Brideshead Revisited" (shown on PBS in the USA)


Had title role in the syndicated TV-movie "The Canterville Ghost"


Last appearance on stage in "The Best of Friends"; filmed in 1992


Assumed the role of Aaron Jastrow (originated by John Houseman) in the ABC miniseries "War and Remembrance"


Made first honorary fellow of RADA on November 17


Played Prospero in "Prospero's Books", Peter Greenaway's experimental adaptation of Shakespeare's "The Tempest"


Received an Emmy as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Special for "Summer's Lease" (PBS' "Masterpiece Theatre")


Starred in Kenneth Branagh's Oscar-nominated short "Swan Song"


Co-starred in the CBS miniseries "Scarlett"


Honored with the renaming of the Globe Theatre to the Gielgud Theatre


Appeared briefly as Priam in Branagh's full-length filming of "Hamlet"


Had featured roles in Jane Campion's "The Portrait of a Lady" and Scott Hicks' "Shine"


Narrated the documentary "The Leopard's Son"


Received the Order of Merit from Queen Elizabeth II


Made brief cameo as the Pope in the historical drama "Elizabeth"


Voice character of Merlin in the animated "The Quest for Camelot"

Photo Collections

The Loved One - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from The Loved One (1965). Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.


Movie Clip

Julius Caesar (1953) -- (Movie Clip) Open, Senseless Things Stately opening and comments from tribunes Flavius (Michael Pate) and Marullus (George MacReady), from Joseph L. Mankiewiecz's 1953 MGM production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, starring Marlon Brando, John GIelgud, Louis Calhern and James Mason.
Julius Caesar (1953) -- (Movie Clip) Beware The Ides Of March Caesar (Louis Calhern) returns to Rome, checks in with wife Calpurnia (Greer Garson) and under-dressed Antony (Marlon Brando), then a blind soothsayer (Richard Hale) with famous words of warning, also getting a reading off Brutus (James Mason) in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, 1953.
Julius Caesar (1953) -- (Movie Clip) Not In Our Stars... On a balcony with a statue of Caesar, Cassius (John Gielgud) tempts Brutus (James Mason) with murderous ideas, in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's 1953 production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.
Chimes At Midnight (1965) -- (Movie Clip) The Days That We've Seen Writer-director Orson Welles as Falstaff and Alan Webb as Shallow open, Ralph Richardson narrates and John Gielgud as Henry IV assumes control, in Welles’ under-financed project, shot over two years in Spain, sampling Falstaff’s story from five Shakespeare plays, Chimes At Midnight, 1965.
Chimes At Midnight (1965) -- (Movie Clip) I Will Redeem All This This from Henry IV, Part 1, with the king (John Gielgud) ruminating about plots against him when his wayward son Prince Hal (Keith Baxter) arrives to argue for his cause as a worthy heir, in writer-director Orson Welles’ mashup of Shakespeare’s character Falstaff, Chimes At Midnight, 1965.
Loved One, The (1965) -- (Movie Clip) What's My Disease? English Francis (John Gielgud) working with Dusty (Robert Easton) on his accent, studio under-boss D.J. Jr. (Roddy McDowall) then taking a call, bad news for producer Harry (Jonathan Winters), in The Loved One, 1965.
Loved One, The (1965) -- (Movie Clip) I'll Do The Baby First scene for chief embalmer Mr. Joyboy (Rod Steiger), at work on deceased Francis (John Gielgud) and determined to impress colleague Aimee (Anjanette Comer), in Tony Richardson's The Loved One, 1965.
Chariots Of Fire (1981) -- (Movie Clip) The College Dash Ben Cross as Harold Abrahams and Nigel Havers as the fictional Lindsay attempt the famous Great Court Run, shooting at Eton College, Cambridge, though the true location is Trinity College, and the real Abrahams never tried it, in Chariots Of Fire, 1981, John Gielgud, observing.
Arthur (1981) -- (Movie Clip) I'll Alert The Media Wise-cracking drunken zillionaire Dudley Moore (title character), who brought hooker Gloria (Anne DeSalvo) to dinner at the Plaza in the opening scene, is awakened by servant Hobson (John Gielgud, in his Academy Award-winning role), in writer-director Steve Gordon’s Arthur, 1981.
Arthur (1981) -- (Movie Clip) Don't Die Anymore Childish Manhattan millionaire Dudley Moore (title character) calls to tell Queens waitress Linda (Liza Minnelli) he’s getting married, her father (Barney Martin) not taking it well, then conferring with driver Bitterman (Ted Ross) and ailing servant Hobson (John Gielgud), in Arthur, 1981.
Oh! What A Lovely War (1969) -- (Movie Clip) Ready For The Shot The historical fantasy opening from the first movie directed by Richard Attenborough, Ralph Richardson as the British foreign secretary, Meriel Forbes his wife, Ian Holm the French president, John Gielgud the Austrian foreign minister, Kenneth More the Kaiser, Paul Daneman the Czar, many others, in the sprawling WWI farce Oh! What A Lovely War, 1969.
Elephant Man, The (1980) -- (Movie Clip) Would You Like To Meet Him? Doctor Treves (Anthony Hopkins) has just secreted his patient Merrick (John Hurt, title character) away in his London hospital, delivering his food when he's waylaid by his boss Gomm (John Gielgud), leaving the nurse (Lesley Dunlop) at risk, in David Lynch's The Elephant Man, 1980.


Gandhi (1982) -- (Original Trailer) Eight Academy Awards® including Best Picture went to Gandhi (1982), the true story of the man who freed India from colonial rule through non-violent protest.
Chariots Of Fire - (Original Trailer) Committed British runners strive for the 1924 Olympics in the Academy Award-winning Best Picture Chariots Of Fire (1981).
Julius Caesar - (Re-issue Trailer) Marlon Brando heads an all-star cast in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's film of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (1953).
Charge of the Light Brigade, The (1968) - (Original Trailer) An all-star British cast recreates the ride into the "valley of Death" in Tony Richardson's epic The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968).
Becket - (Re-issue Trailer) England's King Henry II (Peter O'Toole) appoints his best friend (Richard Burton) Archbishop of Canterbury then turns on him in Becket (1964).
Arthur - (Original Trailer) A childlike millionaire (Dudley Moore) must choose between keeping his fortune and marrying a girl from the wrong side of the tracks in Arthur (1981).
Lion of the Desert - (Original Trailer) Omar Mukhtar (Anthony Quinn) is the Lion of the Desert (1981), preventing a takeover of Libya by Italian Fascist troops.
Loved One, The - (Original Trailer) Robert Morse heads an all-star cast in the bizarre comedy The Loved One (1965) based on a novel by Evelyn Waugh.
Prime Minister, The - (Original Trailer) John Gielgud stars as the British parliamentarian Benjamin Disraeli who bests all Europe as The Prime Minister (1941).
Barretts of Wimpole Street, The (1957) - (Original Trailer) Poet Elizabeth Barrett defies her tyrannical father for the love of Robert Browning in The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1957).
Murder on the Orient Express - (Original Trailer) Belgian detective Hercule Poirot investigates the murder of a mysterious businessman on a train ride in Murder on the Orient Express (1974)starring Albert Finney.
Shoes of the Fisherman, The - (Original Trailer) International intrigue follows the election of the first Russian pope in The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968), starring Anthony Quinn.


Ellen Terry
Aniela Aszpergerowa
Actor. Famed Lithuanian performer.
Kate Gielgud
Frank Gielgud
Stockbroker. Married 1893.
Lewis Gielgud
Val Gielgud
Executive. Older; Head of Sound and Drama at BBC for over thirty years.
Eleanor Gielgud
Born in 1907; died in 1999.


John Perry
Irish; reportedly Gielgud's first long-standing relationship.
Paul Anstee
Involved in the 1950s.
Martin Hensler
Met in 1963 died of cancer in March 1999.


"John G: The Authorised Biography of John Gielgud"
Sheridan Morley, Hodder & Stoughton (2001)
"Gielgud: A Theatrical Life"
Jonathan Croall, Methuen (2000)
"Notes from the Gods"
John Gielgud, Consortium Books (1994)
"Shakespeare-Hit or Miss"
John Gielgud, Sidgwick & Jackson (1991)
"Backward Glances"
John Gielgud, Hodder & Stoughton (1989)
"An Actor and His Time"
John Gielgud with John Miller and John Powell, Sidgwick & Jackson (1980)
"Distinguished Company"
John Gielgud, William Heinemann (1972)
"John Gielgud"
Ronald Hayman, William Heinemann (1971)
"Stage Directions"
John Gielgud, Hodder & Stoughton (1963)
"Early Stages 1921-1936"
John Gielgud, Macmillan (1939)


Gielgud was one of only eight individuals (Rita Moreno, Richard Rodgers, Audrey Hepburn, Helen Hayes, Marvin Hamlisch, Mel Brooks and Mike Nichols are the others) to have won all four of the major entertainment awards (Oscar, Tony, Grammy and Emmy) in competition.

The Globe Theater was renamed the Gielgud in October 1994, in tribute to his 90th birthday.

Holds honorary Doctorates of Law at St. Andrew's University and Brandeis University (also a Brandeis University Companion), a Doctor of Literature at Oxford, and is a Chevalier of France's Legion d'Honneur

In 1996, Gielgud received the Order of Merit from Queen Elizabeth II. He is only the second actor ever to be so honored.

"I had terrible trouble with my movement when I was young because I never did any sports. I can't swim, I can't ride. I should have forced myself. And I got much too fond of my voice. I sang all my parts." --Sir John Gielgud to The New York Times, October 28, 1993

Despite the urgings of gay activist Ian McKellen to be more public about his decades-old relationship, Gielgud preferred to keep his romantic life private. "I always thought of it [my homosexuality] as being something lacking in my nature." --quoted in USA Today, March 6, 1997

Alec Guinness described Gielgud's voice as "a silver trumpet muffled in silk."

"When John Gielgud says 'Ohhhhhhh for a muse of fire ...' That's not an affectation. That's him. He and Judi Dench do have access to the poetic spirit, which nowadays has become a kind of embarrassment. Gielgud has a poetic soul. Unadulterated." --actor Ralph Fiennes to Gielgud's biographer Julie Kavanagh reprinted in the London Times, May 23, 2000.