Born William Claude Rains, Claude was born on November 10 th 1889 in London, England. He developed an interest in performing at an early age, and gave his first theatre performance on ‘Nell of Old Drury’ at the age of eleven. He managed to work his way up to the post of a stage manager from the bottom, but then went to serve in the Scottish Regiment during the First World War.
In the 1920s Rains took on a job teaching at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, and this is where he met the woman that would become the first of his six wives, Isabel Jeans. He also taught a young, aspiring actor called Laurence Olivier. In 1932 Rains went to New York with the Theatre Guild. Whilst there, Rains attended a screen test for Universal, and was taken on for a role in the 1933 movie ‘The Invisible Man’.
From hereon, Rains became a popular and versatile actor, starring in a number of movies and a variety of roles. He enjoyed roles in movies such as ‘Mr Smith goes to Washington’, ‘Notorious’, ‘Casablanca’, ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, and ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’. He also took on a number of television roles.Rains enjoyed an exciting and successful career, and a love life that saw him marry six times. He died on 30 th May 1967 in New Hampshire following an intestinal haemorrhage.
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