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Emlyn Williams

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Occupation
  
Actor/Dramatist

Name
  
Emlyn Williams

Years active
  
1927–85

Role
  
Dramatist

Emlyn Williams NPG x44760 George Emlyn Williams Large Image
Full Name
  
George Emlyn Williams

Born
  
26 November 1905 (
1905-11-26
)
Mostyn, Flintshire, Wales, UK

Died
  
September 25, 1987, Chelsea, London, United Kingdom

Spouse
  
Molly O Shann' (m. 1935–1970)

Movies
  
Ivanhoe, The Last Days of Dolwyn, Jamaica Inn

Books
  
Beyond Belief: A Chronicle, A murder has been arranged, The Wind of Heaven, Accolade: A Play in Six Scenes, Get Real with God / Looking

Similar People
  
Brook Williams, Michael Redgrave, Richard Thorpe, Edwin Greenwood, A J Cronin

Emlyn Williams Tribute


Caligula (Emlyn Williams)


George Emlyn Williams, CBE (26 November 1905 – 25 September 1987), known as Emlyn Williams, was a Welsh dramatist and actor.

Contents

Emlyn Williams BBC Radio 4 Desert Island Discs Emlyn Williams

Biography

He was born into a Welsh-speaking, working class family in Glan-yr-afon, Mostyn, Flintshire.

Emlyn Williams wwwbbccoukstaticarchive8b5fa2396feb7a0277eade

Aged 11 he won a scholarship to Holywell Grammar School. At the end of his time at the grammar school he won a scholarship to Christ Church, Oxford where he read French and Italian and joined the Oxford University Dramatic Society (OUDS).

Emlyn Williams BBC Wales Arts Film Top 10 Welsh film performances

His first full-length play, Full Moon, was premiered at the original Oxford Playhouse in 1927, the year he joined a repertory company and began his stage career. By 1930, he had expanded his writing with works such as A Murder Has Been Arranged and The Late Christopher Bean. He became an overnight star, however, with his thriller Night Must Fall (1935), in which he also played the lead role of a psychopathic murderer. The play was noted for its exploration of the killer's complex psychological state, a step forward for its genre. It was made into a film in 1937 with Robert Montgomery, and again in 1964 with Albert Finney. It has been frequently revived, including on Broadway in 1999 with Matthew Broderick and most recently in the West End with Jason Donovan.

His other great play was very different: The Corn is Green (1938), partly based on his own childhood in Wales. He starred as a Welsh schoolboy in the play's London premiere. The play came to Broadway in 1940 with Ethel Barrymore as the schoolteacher Miss Moffat, a character modelled closely on Williams's real boyhood schoolteacher, Miss Sarah Grace Cooke. A 1950 Broadway revival starred Eva La Gallienne. The play was turned into a film starring Bette Davis, and again into a made-for-television film starring Katharine Hepburn, under the direction of Williams's close friend George Cukor. An attempt to turn the play into a musical in the 1970s, with Davis again in the role of the schoolteacher with lyrics by Williams, failed. So did a Broadway revival in 1983 starring Cicely Tyson and Peter Gallagher. But a 1985 London revival at the Old Vic with Deborah Kerr was successful, as was a 2007 production at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts. That production starred Kate Burton. Williams was a close friend of Kate's parents, Richard Burton and Burton's first wife, Sybil. In the Williamstown production, the schoolboy — the role created by and modeled on Williams himself — was played by Kate Burton's son, Morgan Ritchie.

Emlyn Williams Celebrities lists image Emlyn Williams Celebs Lists

His autobiographical light comedy, The Druid's Rest was first performed at the St Martin's Theatre, London, in 1944. It saw the stage debut of Richard Burton whom Williams had spotted at an audition in Cardiff. The play has been revived at Clwyd Theatr Cymru in both 1976 and 2005, and received its first London revival in sixty years at London's Finborough Theatre in 2009.

Emlyn Williams Emlyn Williams Celebrities lists

In addition to stage plays, Williams wrote a number of film screenplays, working with Alfred Hitchcock (on The Man Who Knew Too Much), Carol Reed and other directors. He acted in and contributed dialogue to various films based on the novels of A. J. Cronin, including The Citadel (1938), The Stars Look Down (1939), Hatter's Castle (1942) and Web of Evidence (1959). He played the mad Roman emperor Caligula in an uncompleted 1937 film version of Robert Graves's novel I, Claudius (with Charles Laughton); a kindly veterinarian who accidentally causes the death of a murderess (played by Bette Davis) in the 1952 suspense drama Another Man's Poison; and the fool Wamba in the 1952 Ivanhoe (with Robert Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor). Other screen credits include Hitchcock's adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's Jamaica Inn (with Charles Laughton), Gabriel Pascal's film version of George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara (with Wendy Hiller and Rex Harrison), Jose Ferrer's I Accuse! (playing Emile Zola), The Wreck of the Mary Deare (with Gary Cooper), The L-Shaped Room (with Leslie Caron), and a made-for-TV adaptation of Charles Dickens's David Copperfield (with an all-star cast including Laurence Olivier, Michael Redgrave, Ralph Richardson and Edith Evans).

In 1941 Williams starred in the film You Will Remember, directed by Jack Raymond and written by Sewell Stokes and Lydia Hayward. The film is based on the life of the popular late Victorian songwriter Leslie Stuart, played here by Robert Morley, with Williams as Stuart's best friend. Also in 1941, he had a principal supporting part (as Snobby Price) in Gabriel Pascal's filming of George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara.

His only film as a director, The Last Days of Dolwyn (1949), which he also wrote and starred in, marked the screen debut of his fellow Welshman, Richard Burton.

Williams often appeared in his own plays, and was famous for his one-man-shows, with which he toured the world, playing Charles Dickens in an evening of excerpts from Dickens' novels. This "one man show" was the start of a whole new theatrical genre. He followed up his Dickens performance with one man shows based on the works of Dylan Thomas, Dylan Thomas Growing Up, and H.H. Munro better known under his pseudonym Saki.

His post-war acting credits included The Winslow Boy by Terence Rattigan and The Deputy aka The Representative by Rolf Hochhuth on Broadway. He also was the "voice" of Lloyd-George in the seminal BBC documentary The Great War (1964).

Among Williams' other books was the best seller Beyond Belief: A Chronicle of Murder and its Detection (1968), a semi-fictionalised account of the Moors murderers, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. His 1980 novel Headlong, the fictional story of the unexpected death of the entire British royal family in a freak accident in 1930, and the ascension of a most unlikely heir to the British throne as a result, was the loose basis of the 1991 motion picture King Ralph which stars John Goodman, Peter O'Toole, John Hurt and Camille Coduri. It was a comedic treatment of Headlong and was set in the contemporary United Kingdom. Goodman's character is a failed lounge singer named Ralph Jones whose grandmother had an affair with the fictional Duke of Warren, in the line of succession of the "House of Windam", a not too subtle play on the House of Windsor, the current royal house of the sitting monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. King Ralph mentions the "House of Stuart" as the antagonist's royal House, which was in fact the actual royal house 200 years before the Windsors. John Hurt plays Lord Percival Graves, the antagonist plotting to regain the throne for the House of Stuart, and for himself as the first in the House of Stuart's line of succession. King Ralph did reasonably well at the box office in 1991.

Williams' autobiography, in the volumes George (1961) and Emlyn (1973), was also highly successful. In both books, he wrote frankly of his homosexual experiences; indeed, he was publicly "out" as a bisexual before other better-known gay literary celebrities, such as his close friend and contemporary Christopher Isherwood.

Williams was married in 1935 to actress Mary Marjorie O'Shann (Molly Shan), who died in 1970. They had two sons, Alan, a writer, and Brook, an actor. Brook Williams became a close friend of Richard Burton's, working as Burton's personal assistant and appearing in many of Burton's films, sometimes even dubbing Burton's voice.

But both during his marriage and following his wife's death, Williams was actively bisexual throughout his adult life. He maintained a relationship from 1981 to 1986 with American theatre journalist Albert N. Williams (no relation), whom Emlyn Williams met while appearing at the Northlight Theatre in the Chicago area with his one-man Charles Dickens show. (Albert Williams served as Emlyn Williams' personal assistant during a 1982 tour of England, Wales and Ireland with the Charles Dickens and Dylan Thomas solo shows.)

Emlyn Williams was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1962.

Emlyn Williams died at his flat in Dovehouse Street, Chelsea, London — aged 81, from complications from cancer on 25 September 1987.

Filmography

Writer
1991
King Ralph (novel "Headlong")
1980
Estudio 1 (TV Series) (play "El difunto Christopher Bean" - 1 episode)
- El difunto Christopher Bean (1980) - (play "El difunto Christopher Bean")
1979
The Corn Is Green (TV Movie) (play)
1978
Teatro estudio (TV Series) (play - 1 episode)
- Adiós, señorita Ruth (1978) - (play)
1976
Au théâtre ce soir (TV Series) (play - 1 episode)
- Le monsieur qui attend (1976) - (play)
1976
The Power of Dawn (TV Movie)
1968
A Touch of Venus (TV Series) (writer - 1 episode)
- A Blue Movie of My Own True Love (1968) - (writer)
1968
BBC Play of the Month (TV Series) (play - 1 episode)
- The Corn Is Green (1968) - (play)
1967
The Magic of Charles Dickens (TV Movie) (adaptation)
1966
Met voorbedachten rade (TV Movie) (play "Someone's waiting")
1964
Groen koren (TV Movie) (play "The Corn Is Green")
1964
Night Must Fall (play "Night Must Fall")
1961
Festival (TV Series) (play - 1 episode)
- Night Must Fall (1961) - (play)
1960
Al caer la noche (TV Mini Series) (story - 14 episodes)
1960
Masterworks of Terror (TV Series) (1 episode)
- Al caer la noche (1960)
-
Play of the Week (TV Series) (teleplay - 1 episode, 1959) (translation - 1 episode, 1959)
- A Month in the Country (1959) - (teleplay) / (translation)
-
Saturday Playhouse (TV Series) (play - 2 episodes, 1958) (adapted for television by - 1 episode, 1958)
- Trespass (1958) - (adapted for television by) / (play)
- The Corn Is Green (1958) - (play)
1958
Når mørket sænker sig (TV Movie) (play)
-
Hour of Mystery (TV Series) (original story - 1 episode, 1957) (adaptation - 1 episode, 1957)
- A Murder Has Been Arranged (1957) - (original story)
- Night Must Fall (1957) - (adaptation)
-
ITV Play of the Week (TV Series) (1 episode, 1957) (play - 1 episode, 1957)
- The Druid's Rest (1957)
- Accolade (1957) - (play)
1957
Time Without Pity (play "Someone Waiting" - uncredited)
1957
Die Berufung wird abgewiesen (TV Movie) (novel)
1956
The Light of Heart (TV Movie) (play)
1956
Matinee Theatre (TV Series) (written by - 1 episode)
- Night Must Fall (1956) - (written by)
1956
The Wind of Heaven (TV Movie) (play)
1950
BBC Sunday-Night Theatre (TV Series) (play - 3 episodes)
- The Corn Is Green (1956) - (play)
- The Morning Star (1952) - (play)
- Trespass (1950) - (play)
1956
The Corn Is Green (TV Movie) (based upon a play by)
-
Ponds Theater (TV Series) (play - 1 episode, 1954) (playwright - 1 episode, 1954)
- Spring 1600 (1954) - (play)
- Night Must Fall (1954) - (playwright)
1954
TV de Vanguarda (TV Series) (play - 1 episode)
- A Noite Tudo Encobre (1954) - (play)
1953
Encounter (TV Series) (play - 1 episode)
- Winds of Heaven (1953) - (play)
1952
Broadway Television Theatre (TV Series) (play - 1 episode)
- Night Must Fall (1952) - (play)
1951
Emlyn Williams as Charles Dickens (TV Movie) (adaptation)
1949
The Philco Television Playhouse (TV Series) (play - 1 episode)
- A Murder Has Been Arranged (1949) - (play)
1949
Spring, 1600 (TV Movie) (play)
1949
Woman of Dolwyn (written by)
1948
The Light of Heart (TV Movie) (play)
1948
The Ford Theatre Hour (TV Series) (play - 1 episode)
- Night Must Fall (1948) - (play)
1948
The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre (TV Series) (play - 1 episode)
- Thinking Aloud (1948) - (play)
1947
The Wind of Heaven (TV Movie) (play)
1947
A Month in the Country (TV Movie) (teleplay)
1946
The Corn Is Green (TV Movie) (play)
1945
The Corn Is Green (stage play)
1942
Life Begins at Eight-Thirty (play)
1941
This England (dialogue)
1938
The Citadel (additional dialogue)
1938
Dead Men Tell No Tales (uncredited)
1937
Night Must Fall (TV Movie) (play)
1937
Night Must Fall (from the stage success of)
1936
Broken Blossoms (adapted from D.W. Griffith's Masterpiece)
1935
The Divine Spark (adaptation)
1934
The Man Who Knew Too Much (additional dialogue)
1934
Evergreen (adaptation and dialogue)
1933
Friday the Thirteenth (dialogue)
Actor
1985
Past Caring (TV Movie) as
Edward
1983
Emlyn Williams as Charles Dickens (TV Movie) as
Charles Dickens
1983
Rumpole of the Bailey (TV Series) as
Harold Brittling
- Rumpole and the Genuine Article (1983) - Harold Brittling
1982
The Deadly Game (TV Movie) as
Bernard Laroque
1970
The Walking Stick as
Jack Foil
1970
David Copperfield (TV Movie) as
Mr. Dick
1965
Theatre 625 (TV Series) as
Eotvoes, Counsel for the Defence / The Yob
- The Burning Bush (1967) - Eotvoes, Counsel for the Defence
- Yob and Nabob (1965) - The Yob
1967
The Magic of Charles Dickens (TV Movie) as
Charles Dickens
1966
Eye of the Devil as
Alain de Montfaucon
1964
The Great War (TV Mini Series documentary) as
Lloyd George
- And We Were Young (1964) - Lloyd George (voice)
- The Iron Thrones Are Falling (1964) - Lloyd George (voice)
- Allah Made Mesopotamia- and Added Flies (1964) - Lloyd George (voice)
- When Must the End Be? (1964) - Lloyd George (voice)
- Damn Them, Are They Never Coming In? (1964) - Lloyd George (voice)
- It Was Like the End of the World (1964) - Lloyd George (voice)
- Only War, Nothing But War (1964) - Lloyd George (voice)
- The Hell Where Youth and Laughter Go (1964) - Lloyd George (voice)
- Fat Rodzyanko Has Sent Me Some Nonsense (1964) - Lloyd George (voice)
- Surely We Have Perished (1964) - Lloyd George (voice)
- Right Is More Precious Than Peace (1964) - Lloyd George (voice)
- We Are Betrayed, Sold, Lost (1964) - Lloyd George (voice)
- All This It Is Our Duty to Bear (1964) - Lloyd George (voice)
- The Devil Is Coming (1964) - Lloyd George (voice)
- For Gawd's Sake Don't Send Me (1964) - Lloyd George (voice)
- Hell Cannot Be So Terrible (1964) - Lloyd George (voice)
- What Are Our Allies Doing? (1964) - Lloyd George (voice)
- Please God Send Us Victory (1964) - Lloyd George (voice)
- Why Don't You Come and Help? (1964) - Lloyd George (voice)
- We Await the Heavenly Manna (1964) - Lloyd George (voice)
- So Sleep Easy in Your Beds (1964) - Lloyd George (voice)
- This Business May Last a Long Time (1964) - Lloyd George (voice)
- Our Hats We Doff to General Joffre (1964) - Lloyd George (voice)
- We Must Hack Our Way Through (1964) - Lloyd George (voice)
- For Such a Stupid Reason Too (1964) - Lloyd George (voice)
- On the Idle Hill of Summer- (1964) - Lloyd George (voice)
1964
The Defenders (TV Series) as
Gerald Lowen
- Mind Over Murder (1964) - Gerald Lowen
1962
The L-Shaped Room as
Dr. Weaver
1961
BBC Sunday-Night Play (TV Series) as
Sir Robert Morton
- The Winslow Boy (1961) - Sir Robert Morton
1959
The Wreck of the Mary Deare as
Sir Wilfred Falcett
1959
Web of Evidence as
Enoch Oswald
1958
I Accuse! as
Emile Zola
1957
ITV Play of the Week (TV Series) as
Hjalmar Ekdal
- The Wild Duck (1957) - Hjalmar Ekdal
1955
The Deep Blue Sea as
Sir William Collyer
1953
Eye Witness (TV Series)
- The Baby Sitter (1953)
1952
Ivanhoe as
Wamba
1951
Emlyn Williams as Charles Dickens (TV Movie) as
Charles Dickens
1951
Another Man's Poison as
Dr. Henderson
1951
The Magic Box as
Bank Manager
1951
The Scarf as
Dr. David Dunbar
1950
Three Husbands as
Maxwell Bard
1949
Woman of Dolwyn as
Rob Davis
1942
A.J. Cronin's Hatter's Castle as
Dennis
1941
This England as
Appleyard
1941
Major Barbara as
Snobby Price
1941
You Will Remember as
Bob Slater
1940
The Girl in the News as
Tracy
1940
The Stars Look Down as
Joe Gowlan
1939
Jamaica Inn as
Harry the Peddler - Sir Humphrey's Gang
1938
They Drive by Night as
Shorty Matthews
1938
The Citadel as
Owen
1938
Night Alone as
Charles Seaton
1938
Dead Men Tell No Tales as
Dr. Headlam
1937
I, Claudius as
Caligula
1937
Theatre Parade (TV Series)
- Measure for Measure (1937)
1936
Broken Blossoms as
Chen
1935
City of Beautiful Nonsense as
Jack Grey
1935
Loves of a Dictator as
King Christian VII of Denmark
1934
The Iron Duke as
Bates
1934
Road House as
Chester
1934
Evensong as
George Leary
1934
A Song for You as
Theodore Bruckner
1933
Friday the Thirteenth as
William Blake
1932
Sally Bishop as
Arthur Montague
1932
Men of Tomorrow as
Horners
1932
Criminal at Large as
Lord Lebanon
Director
1949
Woman of Dolwyn
Self
1985
The New Born King (TV Movie) as
Self - Reader
1985
Wogan (TV Series) as
Self
- Episode #5.119 (1985) - Self
1984
Looks Familiar (TV Series) as
Self - Guest
- Episode #13.9 (1984) - Self - Guest
1984
Saturday Night Affairs (TV Series) as
Self - Guest
- Episode #1.3 (1984) - Self - Guest
1976
Bicentennial Minutes (TV Series short) as
Self - Narrator
- Episode #1.908 (1976) - Self - Narrator
1976
Edgar Wallace: The Man Who Made His Name (TV Movie documentary) as
Self
1973
Parkinson (TV Series) as
Self
- Episode #3.4 (1973) - Self
1970
The David Frost Show (TV Series) as
Self
- Episode #3.43 (1970) - Self
1969
Review (TV Series documentary) as
Self - Reader
- Graham Greene/Marianne Moore (1969) - Self - Reader
1969
Investiture of His Royal Highness Prince Charles as Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester (TV Movie documentary) as
Self - Narrator (voice)
1967
The World of One-Man Shows (TV Movie documentary)
1967
The Heart of Show Business (TV Special) as
Self - Performer
1965
The Epic That Never Was (TV Movie documentary) as
Self / Caligula
1962
The Merv Griffin Show (TV Series) as
Self
- Emlyn Williams, Guy Lombardo (1962) - Self
1960
This Is Your Life (TV Series documentary) as
Self
- Dora Bryan (1962) - Self
- Dame Sybil Thorndike (1960) - Self
1958
Riverside One (TV Series) as
Self
- Episode #1.3 (1958) - Self
1958
Monitor (TV Series documentary)
- PG Wodehouse in NY/Shadow of Heroes (1958)
1953
Omnibus (TV Series) as
Self - Reader (segment "A Tale of Two Cities")
- A Tale of Two Cities (1953) - Self - Reader (segment "A Tale of Two Cities")
Archive Footage
2009
Welsh Greats (TV Series documentary) as
Self
- Emlyn Williams (2009) - Self

References

Emlyn Williams Wikipedia