George Sanders

Actor

1906-1972

Sanders was an England-reared half-Slavic leading man who almost always played suave, snobbish, world-weary cynics. Long thought to have been raised by British parents living in Russia, he was, according to his sister, the son of an illegitimate Russian posing as an Englishman. During the Russian Revolution his family returned to England. After college he went into the textile business and then the tobacco business. Then he decided to pursue an acting career. In the early '30s he debuted onstage and was in British films by mid-decade. In 1936, shortly after beginning his screen career, Sanders moved to Hollywood and began making films there; he soon became a star, playing both sympathetic leading men and suave cads, though he tended more often to portray villains. While often appearing as Nazis during World War II, he was also the lead in two film series, "The Saint" (five movies, 1939-41) and "The Falcon" (four movies, 1941-42). For his performance as a nasty drama critic in All About Eve (1950) he received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. In the '60s he appeared primarily in European films. His last film was The Kremlin Letter (1970). While staying in a Barcelona hotel in 1972 he committed suicide with an overdose of sleeping pills; the suicide note cited boredom with his life as a motivating impulse. His wives included actresses Zsa Zsa Gabor and Benita Hume. He authored an autobiography, Memoirs of a Professional Cad (1960). His brother was actor Tom Conway, who took over the "Falcon" series after Sanders quit.

Filmography Awards