Henry Kendall (actor)

Henry Kendall, (28 May 1897 9 June 1962) was an English stage and film actor, theatre director and an immaculately stylish revue artiste.

Henry Kendall
Born(1897-05-28)28 May 1897
Died9 June 1962(1962-06-09) (aged 65)

Early life

Kendall was born in London in 1897 and educated at the City of London School. He made his first appearance on the stage in September 1914 at the Lyceum Theatre, playing a 'super' in Tommy Atkins. He had a distinguished war career, serving as a Captain in the Royal Air Force from 1916 to 1919, and on demobilisation was awarded the Royal Air Force Cross.

Film career

He played the leading role of Reggie Ogden in the film The Shadow in 1933, and also starred in Alfred Hitchcock's 'bravest failure', Rich and Strange, US title East of Shanghai (1931).[1]

Kendall dismisses his own cinematic work, perhaps because several of his films were quota quickies, with the remark that he "commenced film career 1931, and has appeared in innumerable pictures". But Halliwell notes that his films included:[2]

Theatre career

  • Tommy Atkins (‘super’), Lyceum Theatre, 1914
  • Business as Usual (Chorus member) Hippodrome Theatre, 1914
  • Watch Your Step, Empire Theatre, 1915.
  • Spent 9 months at the Old Vic, playing juvenile parts in Shakespeare repertory, including: Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing, Florizel in The Winter's Tale, Sebastian in Twelfth Night etc., 1915–1916
  • Cyrano de Bergerac (Second Marquise), Garrick Theatre, 1919
  • Cyrano de Bergerac (Christian), Drury Lane, 1919
  • Mumsie (Guy), Little Theatre, 1920
  • French Leave (scored a success as Lt George Graham), Globe Theatre, 1920
  • Where the Rainbow Ends (St George), Apollo Theatre, Christmas 1920
  • Polly With a Past (Harry Richardson), St James's Theatre, 1921
  • The Circle (succeeding Leon Quartermaine as Edward Luton) Theatre Royal Haymarket 1921
  • Threads (James), St James's Theatre, (1921)
  • The Hotel Mouse (leading role, Barry Scarlett) Queen's Theatre, 1921
  • Two Jacks and a Jill (Tom Godling), Royalty Theatre, 1921
  • The Curate's Egg, Ambassadors Theatre, 1922
  • Arms and the Man (Bluntschli), Everyman Theatre, 1922
  • East of Suez (Harold Knox), His Majesty's Theatre, 1922
  • Marriage by Instalments (John Wiltshire), Ambassadors Theatre, 1923
  • Stop Flirting (Geoffrey Dangerfield), Shaftesbury Theatre 1923
  • Havoc (Dick Chappell), for the Repertory Players at the Regent Theatre, 1923, and Theatre Royal Haymarket, 1924
  • Bachelor Husbands (Billy Reynolds), Royalty Theatre, 1924
  • As You Like It (Orlando), for the Fellowship of Players at Regent Theatre, 1924
  • Charlot's Revue, Prince of Wales Theatre, 1924
  • Tunnel Trench (Lt St Aubyn), for the Repertory Players at the Prince's Theatre, 1925
  • The Czarina (Count Alexei Czerny), Q Theatre, 1925
  • On ‘Change (Dr Tom Pearson), Savoy Theatre, 1925
  • Naughty Cinderella (Gerald Gray), Lyceum, New York 1925
  • This Woman Business (Honey) The Ritz, New York, 1926
  • The Silent House (Capt Philip Barty), Comedy Theatre, 1927
  • The Road to Rome (Mago), Strand Theatre, 1928
  • A Damsel in Distress (Reggie Higgins), New Theatre, 1928
  • Wrongs and Rights (Hugh Rawson), for the Repertory Players at the Strand Theatre, 1928
  • Baa, Baa, Black Sheep (Hugo Bonsor), New Theatre, 1929
  • The Flying Fool (Vincent Floyd), Prince's Theatre, 1929
  • He's Mine (Maxime de Bellencontre), Lyric Theatre, 1929
  • The Ghost Train (Teddy Deakin), Comedy Theatre, 1929
  • Odd Numbers (John Strange), Mar. (?), 1930
  • Charlot's Masquerade, Cambridge Theatre, 1930
  • A Murder Has Been Arranged (Maurice Mullins) for Repertory Players at the Strand Theatre and St James's Theatre, 1930
  • Cut for Partners (Hugo), touring,Autumn 1934
  • Someone at the Door (Ronnie Martin), for Repertory Players at the Aldwych Theatre, March 1935; and New Theatre, May 1935
  • The World Waits (Kenneth Brice), for Repertory Players, Aldwych Theatre September, 1935
  • Bats in the Belfry (Edward Morton), Ambassadors Theatre, 1937
  • This Money Business (Gerald Esmond) Ambassadors Theatre, 1938
  • Room for Two (Hubert Crone) Comedy Theatre 1938
  • Punch Without Judy (Micky Saunders), Q Theatre, June 1939; and New Theatre, December 1939
  • House Party (Michael Drumley), Q Theatre. June 1940
  • Nap Hand, toured July 1940
  • High Temperature, toured January 1941
  • Rise Above It (revue), Comedy Theatre, June 1941
  • Scoop, Vaudeville Theatre, April 1942
  • A Little Bit of Fluff (John Ayers), Ambassadors, February 1943
  • The Fur Coat (Dominic Mallory), Comedy Theatre, June 1943
  • Sweet and Low (revue, succeeded Walter Crisham) Ambassadors Theatre, January 1944
  • Sweeter and Lower (revue), Ambassadors, February 1944
  • Sweetest and Lowest (revue), Ambassadors May 1946
  • A la Carte (revue), Savoy Theatre, June 1948
  • On Monday Next... (Harry Blacker, also directed in association with Shaun Sutton) Embassy Theatre, April 1949; Comedy Theatre, June 1949
  • For Love or Money (Lovewell), Ambassadors Theatre August 1950
  • The Dish Ran Away (Peter Perry) Vaudeville Theatre, September 1950
  • Caprice, touring, October 1950
  • The Happy Family (Henry Lord) Duchess Theatre, May 1951
  • Angels in Love (Sir Pomeroy Pomeroy-Jones) Savoy Theatre, February 1954
  • Portrait of a Woman (Montage Cloud RA, also directed) Q Theatre, December 1954
  • Beat the Panel (Oliver Charrington) Royal Theatre, Nottingham, May 1955; retitled The Linon in the Lighthouse, (directed in association with David Smith-Dorrien), Embassy Theatre, June 1955
  • The Call of the Dodo (Julian Lassiter) Royal, Nottingham, October 1955
  • Where the Rainbow Ends (Joseph Flint, also directed) New Victoria, December 1958
  • Let Them Eat Cake (Lord Whitehall) Cambridge Theatre, May 1959
  • Aunt Edwina (title role) Fortune Theatre, November 1959


As a gifted West End revue artiste he appeared in Charlot's Revue at the Prince of Wales Theatre in 1924 and Charlot's Masquerade at the Cambridge Theatre in 1930. He also enjoyed great success co-starring with Hermione Gingold in the three long-running Sweet and Low revues, with scripts by Alan Melville, first taking over from Walter Crisham in 1944; this was followed in June 1948 by the A la Carte revue at the Savoy Theatre.[3]

But a greater contribution in this field was his appearance with Hermione Baddeley and Hermione Gingold ('The Two Hermiones'), Walter Crisham and Wilfred Hyde-White, in Leslie Julian Jones's revue Rise Above It, first at the Q Theatre in January 1941, when Hedley Briggs was nominally directing; then in two West End editions of the show which ran for a total of 380 performances at the Comedy Theatre opening in June 1941 and again in December 1941, when he was both starring and directing the show.

As he reports in his autobiography: "Of all forms of theatrical entertainment, revue is the most bitchy. The material is bitchy, the artists are bitchy and, strangely enough, the average revue audience is bitchy. And here I was starring with two acknowledged 'Queens of Revue' [Baddeley and Gingold], faced also with the task of director... call[ing] for every possible ounce of tact and diplomacy. Then came the vexed question of 'billing' — who should take precedence, Baddeley or Gingold (or should I say Gingold or Baddeley)? It was the responsibility of the management to make the decision....Jack de Leon's solution was quite simple: we had two sets of bills and placards, used on alternate weeks throughout the run, which satisfied both the ladies." [4]


In addition to a busy career as an actor and entertainer, he was frequently engaged as a director, notably staging the first productions of See How They Run (Peterborough Rep, tour and Q Theatre 1944; Comedy Theatre 1945), and The Shop at Sly Corner (St Martin's Theatre 1945).

He also directed numerous plays at the Embassy Theatre and Q Theatre.[5]

Kendall died in June 1962 at the age of 65.

Directing work included:

  • A Lass and a Lackey, Q Theatre, December 1940
  • Rise Above It (revue), Comedy Theatre, June 1941
  • Other People's Houses, Ambassadors Theatre, October 1941
  • Scoop (revue), Vaudevile Theatre, April 1942
  • Man from Heaven, Q Theatre, September 1943
  • This Was a Woman, Comedy Theatre, March 1944 – previously staged at the Q Theatre as The Dark Potential, January 1944
  • Fly Away Peter, Q Theatre, September 1944
  • See How They Run, Q Theatre, December 1944; Comedy Theatre, January 1945
  • Great Day, Playhouse Theatre, March 1945
  • The Shop at Sly Corner, St Martin's Theatre, April 1945
  • Green Laughter, Q Theatre, August 1945; Comedy Theatre, June 1946
  • Fit for Heroes, Embassy Theatre, September 1945; Whitehall, December 1945
  • Macadam and Eve, Aldwych Theatre, March 1951
  • The Nest Egg, Wimbledon Theatre, November 1952
  • Where the Rainbow Ends, Stoll Theatre, December 1953
  • Meet a Body, Duke of York's Theatre, July 1954
  • Tropical Fever, Theatre Royal, Brighton, March 1955
  • Ring for Catty, Lyric Theatre, February 1956
  • You, Too, Can Have a Body, Victoria Palace, June 1958
  • Watch It, Sailor! (in association with André Van Gyseghem, Aldwych Theatre, February 1960
  • Bachelor Flat, Piccadilly Theatre, May 1960


  1. Halliwell's Film Guide
  2. Halliwell's Who's Who in the Movies, Fourth Edition, ed John Walker, HarperCollins (2006) ISBN 0-00-716957-4
  3. Who's Who in the Theatre, Thirteenth Edition (1961)
  4. Quoted in On Q: Jack and Beatie de Leon and the Q Theatre, by Kenneth Barrow (1992)
  5. On Q: Jack and Beatie de Leon and the Q Theatre by Kenneth Barrow, Heritage Publications (1992) ISBN 978-0-9519089-0-7
  • I Remember Romano's (autobiography) by Henry Kendall, Macdonald (1960)
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