Ian Hunter (actor)

Ian Hunter (13 June 1900 – 22 September 1975) was an English actor.[1]

Ian Hunter
in Gallant Sons (1940)
Born(1900-06-13)13 June 1900
Died22 September 1975(1975-09-22) (aged 75)
London, England
Years active1924–1963
Spouse(s)Catherine Casha Pringle
(m.1917–1975; his death; 2 children; including Robin Hunter)


Hunter was born in the Kenilworth area of Cape Town, South Africa where he spent his childhood. In his teen years, he and his parents returned to the family in England to live. Sometime between that arrival and the early years of World War I, Hunter began exploring acting. But in 1917, and being only 17, he joined the army to serve in France for the remainder of the First World War.

On his return Hunter studied under Elsie Fogerty at the Central School of Speech and Drama, then based in the Royal Albert Hall, London.[2] Within two years he did indeed make his stage debut. He decided to work in British silent films taking a part in Not for Sale (1924) for British director W.P. Kellino.

Hunter made his first trip to the U.S. because Basil Dean, the British actor and director, was producing Richard Brinsley Sheridan's The School for Scandal[3] at the Knickerbocker Theater. However, the production folded after one performance. It was a more concerted effort with film the next year back in Britain, again with Kellino. He then met the film director Alfred Hitchcock in 1927 and was featured in Hitchcock's The Ring (1927) and stayed for the director's Downhill (US: When Boys Leave Home, 1927) and Easy Virtue (1928), based on the Noël Coward play. By late 1928, he returned to Broadway for only a months run in the original comedy Olympia and stayed in America to work in Hollywood on Syncopation (1929) for RKO, his first sound film.

He returned to London for Dean's thriller Escape (1930). In The Girl from 10th Avenue (1935) with Bette Davis, Hunter made his connection with Warner Bros. But before settling in with them through much of the 1930s, he did three pictures in succession with British director Michael Powell. He then appeared as the Duke in A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935) for Warner's. It marked the start of a string of nearly 30 films for the studio. Among the best remembered was his jovial King Richard the Lionheart in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). Hunter was also paired in seven movies with Kay Francis between 1935 and 1938.

Hunter appeared in The Little Princess (1939) as Captain Reginald Crewe. And he was the benign guardian angel-like Cambreau in Loew's Strange Cargo (1940) with Clark Gable. He was staying regularly busy in Hollywood until into 1942 when he returned to Britain to serve in the war effort. He appeared once more on Broadway in 1948 and made Edward, My Son (1949) for MGM-British with George Cukor directing and Spencer Tracy and Deborah Kerr in the lead roles. Hunter worked once more for Michael Powell (The Queen's Guards, 1961) and then retired in the middle of that decade after nearly 100 films.

Among dozens of film roles, his best-remembered appearances include That Certain Woman (1937) with Bette Davis, Tower of London (1939, as King Edward IV), and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941, as Dr. Lanyon). Hunter returned to the Robin Hood legend in the TV series The Adventures of Robin Hood from 1955 in the recurring role of Sir Richard of the Lea.



  1. "Ian Hunter". BFI.
  2. V&A, Theatre and Performance Special Collections, Elsie Fogerty Archive, THM/324
  3. "Ian Hunter". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on 18 September 2019. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
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