ESMOND KNIGHT A typed letter from the actor giving a brief history of his life and acting career, signed in black ink Typed letter signed: "Esmond Knight", 1½p, 8¼x11¾. London, 4 August 1984. To Mr. [Todd M.

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A typed letter from the actor giving a brief history of his life and acting career, signed in black ink
Typed letter signed: "Esmond Knight", 1½p, 8¼x11¾. London, 4 August 1984. To Mr. [Todd M.] Axelrod, in full, as written: "Very many thanks for your letter, which I am sorry to have been so tardy in answering. We are amazed that you shoud be so interested in us but, nevertheless, most flattered. I am sorry that I cannot agree to your request for something written in long hand but since I was blinded, while serving in H.M.S. Prince of Wales in a Naval action with Bismarck in 1941 I have not been able to srite letters in my own hand so have to resort to this machine, I supposed to have learned touch typing St St Dunstan's, a retreat for Service woulded. You can see how mucy I have forgotten. I don't suppose it's what you want but I'm sending you a boring history of some of my so called time in the Theatre, with a recent, though not very important list of recent doings (not present). I also enclose two old stills of films I played in (not present). One in Waltzes from Vienna, directed by Hitchcock I think about the only flop he had, I am in this still with Fay Compton a very famous English actress now, unfurtunately dead. The other is myself as Bernardo in Olivier's film of Hamlet. I went first to the Old Vic in 1925, where I stayed for two seasons, going on to the Birmingham Rep, then the best in the Country. Was with Gielgud in his first Hamlet in 29, maybe '30 in the first big musical in London, Waltzes from Vienna in which I played the lead of Johann Strauss two leads at Drury Lane, Wild Violets and another flop called The Three Sisters by Hammerstein and Kern, nothing to do with Tch kov. Went to Germany to star with Lilian Harvey in Schwarze Rosen when Hitler was coming to power. Met Nora Swinburne, whom I finally married in Wise To Morrow. Joined the Local Defence Volunteers in the beginning of the War got a commission in the R.N.V.R. and served, as I said in the ill fated Prince of Wales, finally sunk on Dec 10. the exact anniversary of the abdication of the former Prince, then having a great time with Mrs Simpson...After two years of total blindness I met a doctor, at that time struck off the Medical Register and after an operation by him regained partial sight, allowing me to travel all over the World on my own. Was in all Olivier's films Henry V. Hamlet, Richard III the Prince and the Show girl. Went to Stratford for a Shakepspeare season, sorry went wrong there and did all sorts of other things I think my present agent's list can take on from there! I don't suppose it's of the least interest but I send also, with love, the first temple copy of Henry V I had at the Vic (not present), I think you will see it is dated 1926 and from which I compled a one man act called The Archer's Tale, though most of it was from contemporary accounts of priests who were at Agincourt. The markers simply show, I think, where the Chorous speeches come. In the back of it are some very juvenile pencil sketches of old actors in the cast and I think a sketch of an archer? Not very exciting I'm afraid, but something. I do hope your great enterprise will thrive! With all good wishes". British actor Esmond Knight (1906-1987) made his stage debut in 1925 and appeared in his first film three years later. In May 1941, while serving in the Royal Navy, Knight lost the sight of one eye and was temporarily totally blinded when his ship, The Prince of Wales, engaged the German battleship, Bismarck, in battle. Ironically, Knight would later play the Captain of his real-life ship in the 1960 film, Sink the Bismarck. Knight, whose other feature films include A Canterbury Tale (1944), Black Narcissus (1946), The Red Shoes (1947) and Richard III (1955), died in London the day after he returned from Egypt, where he was filming The Balkan Trilogy. Lightly creased. Lightly soiled, touching some text. Type and signature show through to first page. Otherwise, fine condition.

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