Claude Rains

William Claude RainsWilliam Claude Rains (10 November 1889–30 May 1967) was an English stage and film actor whose career spanned 47 years; he later held American citizenship. He was known for many roles in Hollywood films, among them The Invisible Man, the corrupt senator in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and perhaps his most-famous performance, the amoral Captain Renault in Casablanca.
Rains began his career in the London theatre, having a success in the title role of John Drinkwater’s play Ulysses S. Grant, the follow-up to the playwright’s major hit Abraham Lincoln, and traveled to Broadway in the late 1920s to act in leading roles in such plays as Shaw’s The Apple Cart and in the dramatizations of The Constant Nymph, as a Claude RainsChinese farmer, and Pearl S. Buck’s novel The Good Earth.
Rains came relatively late to film acting and his first screen test was a failure, but his distinctive voice won him the title role in James Whale’s The Invisible Man (1933) when someone accidentally overheard his screen test being played in the next room. Rains later credited director Michael Curtiz with teaching him the more understated requirements of film acting, or “what not to do in front of a camera”.
Rains became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1939. He married six times, the first five of which ended in divorce: Isabel Jeans (1913-1915); Marie Hemingway (1920, for less than a year); Beatriz Thomas (1924 –April 8, 1935); Frances Propper (April 9, 1935–1956); and to classic pianist Agi Jambor (November 4, 1959–1960). He married Rosemary Clark Schrode in 1960, and stayed with her until her death on December 31, 1964. His only child, Jessica Rains, was born to him and Propper on January 24, 1938.
Claude RainsHe acquired the 380-acre (1.5 km2) Stock Grange Farm in West Bradford Township, Pennsylvania just outside West Chester in 1941, and spent much of his time between takes reading up on agricultural techniques. He eventually sold the farm when his marriage to Propper ended in 1956.
Rains died from an abdominal hemorrhage in Laconia, New Hampshire on May 30, 1967 at the age of 77. He is interred in the Red Hill Cemetery, Moultonborough, New Hampshire.
Claude Rains: An Actor’s Voice, a biography by David J. Skal and Rains’ daughter Jessica Rains, was published in 2008.