Fun Facts and Quick Stats
about Basil Rathbone

Basil's height: 6 ft. 1 in. (187 cm)
Eye color: blue
Birthday: June 13, 1892  (Zodiac sign: Gemini)
Place of birth: Johannesburg, South Africa
  Fun Fact: Ian Hunter, Basil's co-star in "Tower of London," was also born in South Africa on June 13th!
Citizenship: British (Although he lived in the USA for much of his adult life, Basil never became a U.S. citizen.)
Military service: Liverpool Scottish, Second Battalion, lieutenant, awarded the Military Cross September 1918
Favorite food: Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, a hearty, traditional English dinner. Click here to get Basil Rathbone's recipe for Yorkshire Pudding.
Favorite song: Annie Laurie
Favorite dog: Moritz (German Shepherd)
Favorite Shakespeare role: Romeo
Best friend: John Miltern (until his death in 1937) In the 1940s Rathbone was very close friends with Nigel Bruce.
Sports he enjoyed playing: golf, tennis
Sports he enjoyed watching: boxing, baseball
Passions: music, poetry, reading books
Sexuality: heterosexual
Marriages: Marion Foreman, 1914-1926 (divorce)
Ouida Bergere, 1926-1967 (his death)
Children: one son by first marriage (Rodion)
one adopted daughter (Cynthia) with second wife
Professional Awards: Tony Award, 1947, for his performance in The Heiress
Oscar nomination, 1935, for his performance in Romeo and Juliet
Oscar nomination, 1938, for his performance in If I Were King
Fun Fact: Basil lost the Oscar both times to Walter Brennan!
Death: July 21, 1967, heart attack, age 75, buried at Ferncliff cemetery

Fun Fact: Though an excellent swordsman, Rathbone won only one swordfight on the silver screen. (As Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet Rathbone defeated Mercutio, but he was later skewered by Romeo.)

Basil Rathbone met a violent death in film 22 times!  He was run through by a sword in five films:
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood
  • Captain Blood
  • The Mark of Zorro
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Tower of London


The Mark of Zorro

In five films he was fatally shot:
  • Above Suspicion
  • Confession
  • Fingers at the Window
  • Rio
  • This Mad World (executed by a firing squad)


The causes of death in the other films are varied:

The Adventures of Marco Polo: pushed into lion pit (presumably killed by lions)
The Black Sleep: fell down stairs while being chased by mutants
The Court Jester: catapulted into the sea
Frenchman's Creek: stabbed with knife and crushed by suit of armor
The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini: killed by explosion
Love from a Stranger: poisoned
The Mad Doctor: jumped off building
The Magic Sword: attacked by panther (Sybil the Sorceress)
A Tale of Two Cities: stabbed with knife
Tales of Terror: suffocated under the putrid, decaying corpse of Valdemar
We're No Angels: bit by poisonous snake

about to be stabbed in A Tale of Two Cities

More Fun Facts to come later!





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All original content is Marcia Jessen, 2011