John Longden

John Longden (11 November 1900 26 May 1971) was a West Indian-born English film actor. He appeared in 84 films between 1926 and 1964, including five films directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

John Longden
Longden in 1931
Born(1900-11-11)11 November 1900
Died26 May 1971(1971-05-26) (aged 70)
London, England, UK
Years active1926–1964
Spouse(s)Jean Jay


Longden was born in the West Indies, the son of a Methodist missionary, and was educated at Kingswood School, Bath, Somerset. Originally intending to be a mining engineer, he worked for two years in a coal mine in Yorkshire, where he started acting in amateur theatrical companies. An introduction to Seymour Hicks saw him start acting on the legitimate stage, beginning with a walk-on part in Old Bill, MP. He played in My Old Dutch with Albert Chevalier, then spent time with the Liverpool and Birmingham repertory theatres. He also appeared in The Farmer's Wife, produced by Barry Jackson at the Court Theatre in London for two years.[1]

About this time Longden began to appear in silent films. He signed a contract with Gaumont British Pictures to write and act, earning a notable success with Alfred Hitchcock's Blackmail (1929).[2]

Australian interlude

Longden went out to Australia in 1933 to perform in several plays.[3] While there he appeared in the film The Silence of Dean Maitland (1934) for Cinesound Productions.[4]

The performance was so well received Longden made two more films for the same company, Thoroughbred (1936) and It Isn't Done (1937).

In 1934 it was announced that he was going to play the lead in an adaptation of Robbery Under Arms, but this film was never made.[5] The same year Longden also announced he was going to act in and direct an Australian film called Highway Romance, about an English man and Australian girl travelling from Sydney to Brisbane. A company called Highway Productions was formed with a capital of £10,000 but no film resulted.[6]

Later career

Longden returned to Britain where he continued to work steadily in theatre and film (including An Honourable Murder (1960), an adaptation of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar", in which he played tycoon 'Julian Caesar'). He appeared on several episodes of season one of The Adventures of Robin Hood playing various characters, and returned for one episode in season three. He died in London, 26 May 1971, aged 70.

Selected filmography


  1. 'JOHN LONGDEN To Act for Australian Film', The Sydney Morning Herald, Monday 26 June 1933 p14
  2. 'JOHN LONGDEN'S CAREER' The Brisbane Courier (Qld) Wednesday 19 July 1933 p14
  3. John Longden's Australian theatre credits
  4. "WHO ARE OUR POTENTIAL STARS?". Table Talk. Melbourne. 31 August 1933. p. 17. Retrieved 16 March 2015 via National Library of Australia.
  5. '"The Silence of Dean Maitlan" Filmed in Record Time in Sydney.' The West Australian (Perth) 16 Mar 1934: 3
  6. "ENGLISH ACTOR". The Sydney Morning Herald. 16 November 1934. p. 5. Retrieved 9 August 2012 via National Library of Australia.
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