• Anthony Steel

A page from an autograph album signed by Anthony Steel (1920-2001), the English actor best known for his appearances in British war films of the 1950s such as The Wooden Horse (1950), and his marriage to Anita Ekberg. He was described as "a glorious throwback to the Golden Age of Empire... the perfect Imperial actor, born out of his time, blue-eyed, square-jawed, clean-cut." As another writer put it, "whenever a chunky dependable hero was required to portray grace under pressure in wartime or the concerns of a game warden in a remote corner of the empire, Steel was sure to be called upon. After serving with the Grenadier Guards in World War II he was dating a niece of J. Arthur Rank who introduced Steel to her uncle at a party. Rank subsequently signed the actor to a long-term contract with his company and Steel was trained at Rank's "charm school" then given a slow build up with small parts in several films, starting with Saraband for Dead Lovers (1948). He also appeared in Quartet (1948), The Blue Lamp (1949), Trottie True (1949), Christopher Columbus (1949), and The Chiltern Hundreds (1949). Steel's first big break was being cast as one of three British POWs who escape from a camp in The Wooden Horse (1950). This film, based on a true story, was a hit and established Steel as a star. Steel followed this performance playing the romantic male lead in The Mudlark (1950) and supported Bette Davis in Another Man's Poison (1951). He then starred as a game park warden in Where No Vultures Fly (1951), which was the most popular British movie of the year and the Royal Command Performance Film for 1951. In 1952 British exhibitors voted him the fourth most popular British star.

Anthony Steel

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