Claude Hulbert

Claude Noel Hulbert (25 December 1900 – 23 January 1964) was an English stage, radio and cinema comic actor during the first half of the 20th century.

Claude Hulbert
Claude Noel Hulbert

(1900-12-25)25 December 1900
Fulham, London, England, UK
Died23 January 1964(1964-01-23) (aged 63)
Sydney, Australia
OccupationActor and comic
Years active1920-1961
Spouse(s)Enid Trevor (actress)
FamilyJack Hulbert (brother)

Early life

Claude Hulbert was born in Fulham, West London, England, on Christmas Day 1900. He was the younger brother of Jack Hulbert. Like his brother he received his formal education at Westminster School and Caius College, University of Cambridge, where he was a member of the Footlights Comedy Club as an undergraduate.[1]


He began his professional career on the English stage. His first theatrical credit was in the revue His Little Trip in the Strand Theatre in 1920.[2] The next year he appeared in the London revue Fantasia. In 1924, he was quite successful in the George Grossmith-Guy Bolton musical comedy Primrose, which led to a string of musical comedy roles for him from 1925 to the 1930s, including Sunny, Oh Kay, Song of the Sea and Follow a Star. Hulbert also was a hit on radio, thanks to his spontaneous manner of delivery, along with his nervous excitability and hilarious stuttering. In 1939, he returned to the London stage in the farce, Worth a Million. Subsequently, he was seen in Cole Porter's Panama Hattie (1943). In the 1950s, he appeared in numerous farces and in repertory theatre. In 1959, he made quite a splash as Lord Plynne in Frederick Lonsdale's Let Them Eat Cake

Although popular, his motion picture career was less successful than his brother's. He began by supporting the Aldwych farceurs before being handed his first lead in a weak B-film with Renee Houston and Binnie Barnes, Their Night Out (1933). His most successful solo film of the mid-1930s was Hello Sweetheart (1935); like most of Hulbert's starring comedies, however, its ambition was strictly small-scale; it seemed that British studios simply didn't see him as a major star. His flagging career was helped with Wolf's Clothing (1936), which starred him as a dithering diplomat, and Honeymoon-Merry-Go-Round (1940), where he played a bumbling bridegroom who unintentionally becomes an ice-hockey star.

He became a very capable partner for Will Hay after the comedian decided he wanted to do without his famous "stooges", Moore Marriott and Graham Moffatt. Hay's two films with Hulbert, The Ghost of St Michael's (1941) and My Learned Friend (1943), were the most successful of his later vehicles. Hulbert's film appearances, though, became scarcer as the 1940s wore on.

In 1951 Hulbert starred in audio recording of the play The Ghost Train, which was commercially released by Decca Records (Release Catalogue No.LK4040).

Personal life

Hulbert was married to the actress Enid Trevor.[3][4]


Hulbert died in a hospital in Sydney on 23 January 1964 aged 63 after having been taken ill whilst ashore during a round-the-world health cruise with his family.[5]



  1. Obituary for Claude Hulbert, 'The Times', 24 January 1964.
  2. Obituary for Claude Hulbert, 'The Times' 24 January 1964.
  3. Recording of Hulbert and Trevor performing together in a 1930 audio recording entitled 'Airman', and 'Raspberries'.
  4. Obituary for Claude Hulbert, 'The Times', 24 January 1964.
  5. Jonathan Cecil, ‘Hulbert, Claude Noel (1900–1964)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.
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