A page from an autograph album signed on 16th August 1935, aboard the liner 'Ile de France', by Charles Laughton and his wife Elsa Lanchester. Laughton was trained in London at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and first appeared professionally on the stage in 1926. In 1927, he was cast in a play with his future wife Elsa Lanchester, with whom he lived and worked until his death. (They had no children.) He played a wide range of classical and modern parts, making a big impact in Shakespeare at the Old Vic. His film career took him to Hollywood, but he also collaborated with Alexander Korda on some of the most notable British films of the era, including The Private Life of Henry VIII. Among Laughton's other film-hits were The Barretts of Wimpole Street, Mutiny on the Bounty, Ruggles of Red Gap, Jamaica Inn, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Big Clock. Lanchester studied dance as a child and after World War I began performing in theatre and cabaret, where she established her career over the following decade. She met the actor Charles Laughton in 1927, and they were married two years later. She began playing small roles in British films, including the role of Anne of Cleves with Laughton in The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933). His success in American films resulted in the couple moving to Hollywood, where Lanchester played small film roles. Her role as the title character in Bride of Frankenstein (1935) brought her recognition and she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Come to the Stable (1949) and Witness for the Prosecution (1957), the last of twelve films in which she appeared with Laughton. Following Laughton's death in 1962, Lanchester resumed her career with appearances in such Disney films as Mary Poppins (1964), That Darn Cat! (1965) and Blackbeard's Ghost (1968). The horror film Willard (1971) was highly successful, and one of her last roles was in Murder By Death (1976).
Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester
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