John Clements (actor)

Sir John Selby Clements, CBE (25 April 1910 – 6 April 1988) was an English actor and producer who worked in theatre, television and film.

John Clements
John Clements in 1954
Born(1910-04-25)25 April 1910
Died6 April 1988(1988-04-06) (aged 77)
Years active1935–1982
  • Inga Maria Lillemor Ahlgren
    (married 1936–1946)
  • Kay Hammond
    (married 1946–1980)


Theatre career

Clements attended St Paul's School and St John's College, Cambridge.[1] He made his first professional appearance on the stage in 1930, then worked with Nigel Playfair and afterwards spent a few years in Ben Greet's Shakespearean Company..

In 1935 Clements founded the Intimate Theatre, a combined repertory and try-out venue, at Palmers Green. He appeared in almost 200 plays and also presented a number of plays in the West End as actor-manager-producer. .

Clements married the actress Kay Hammond and together they had a critical success with their West End revival of Noël Coward's play Private Lives in 1945. In 1952 they both appeared in Clements's own play The Happy Marriage, an adaptation of Jean Bernard-Luc's Le Complexe de Philemon. Clements starred as Edward Moutlon Barrett in the musical Robert and Elizabeth, a successful adaptation of The Barretts of Wimpole Street.

In December 1951 Clements directed Man and Superman at the Wimbledon Theatre, Surrey, and played the role of John Tanner alongside Allan Cuthbertson.

Clements was the artistic director of the Chichester Festival Theatre from 1966 to 1973

His stepson is the actor John Standing.

Film career

As a film actor John Clements played bit parts of increasing size for Alexander Korda's London Films in the 1930s. He made quite an impression opposite Robert Donat and Marlene Dietrich in Knight Without Armour as Poushkoff, an over-sensitive commissar who saves their lives during the Russian Revolution. He came to further prominence when film director Victor Saville chose him to star opposite Ralph Richardson in South Riding (1938). The two actors were reunited in the very successful The Four Feathers (1939).

After that Clements's film career was somewhat intermittent, although he made a series of British war films for Ealing Studios and British Aviation Pictures, such as Convoy (1940), Ships with Wings (1942), Tomorrow We Live (1943) and as Yugoslav guerrilla leader Milosh Petrovitch in Undercover (1943). He had a cameo role (as Advocate General) in Gandhi (1982).

Honours and death

Clements was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1956 and was knighted in 1968. He died in Brighton, East Sussex, in 1988.


Selected theatre credits


  1. "Sir John Selby Clements". Person Page - 18344. 3 February 2006. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
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