Harry Andrews

Harry Andrews Allan Warren.jpg
Andrews in 1970
Harry Fleetwood Andrews

(1911-11-10)10 November 1911
Tonbridge, Kent, England
Died6 March 1989(1989-03-06) (aged 77)
Salehurst, Sussex, England
  • Actor
Years active1933–39, 1945–1989
Awards NBR Best Supporting Actor
1966 The Agony and the Ecstasy
1966 The Hill

Harry Stewart Fleetwood Andrews, CBE (10 November 1911 – 6 March 1989) was an English actor known for his film portrayals of tough military officers. His performance as Regimental Sergeant Major Wilson in The Hill (1965) alongside Sean Connery earned Andrews the National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actor and a nomination for the 1966 BAFTA Award for Best British Actor. The first of his more than 80 film appearances was in The Red Beret in 1953.

Prior to his film career, Andrews was a theatre actor, appearing at such venues as the Queen's Theatre, the Lyceum Theatre, and the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in the UK as well as theatres in New York City, Paris, Antwerp and Brussels. Andrews made his London theatre debut in 1935 at the St James's Theatre and his New York debut in 1936 at the Empire Theatre.

Early life

Harry Andrews was born on 10 November 1911, in Tonbridge, Kent.[1] He was the son of Henry Arthur Andrews, a General Practitioner, and Amy Diana Frances (née Horner). Andrews attended Yardley Court school in Tonbridge, and Wrekin College in Wellington, Shropshire.



Andrews made his first stage appearance in September 1933 at the Liverpool Playhouse playing John in The Long Christmas Dinner. He made his London debut in March 1935 at the St James's Theatre playing the role of John in Worse Things Happen at Sea. In March 1936, he featured in a cast including Paul Robeson, Orlando Martins and Robert Adams in a staging of Toussaint Louverture - The story of the only successful slave revolt in history, a play by C.L.R. James, at the Westminster Theatre in London. In October 1936, Andrews made his first appearance in New York playing the role of Horatio in Hamlet at the Empire Theatre. From September 1937 to April 1938, Andrews worked with John Gielgud's company at the Queen's Theatre, appearing in such shows as Richard II, The School for Scandal and The Merchant of Venice. In 1939, Andrews assumed the role of Laertes in a production of Hamlet at the Lyceum Theatre. This was the final production at the Lyceum before it closed, though it was restored in 1996.[2] He joined up in October 1939 and was commissioned into the Royal West Kent Regiment from 162 OCTU (The Honourable Artillery Company) on 21 September 1940 with the number 149267. In August 1942 he transferred to the Royal Artillery serving in Europe during the D Day Landings and on the advance into Germany. On 4 April 1946, Andrews was Mentioned in Despatches “for gallant and distinguished service in North West Europe.” He was demobilised with the rank of Major [2][3]

In December 1945, Andrews appeared with the Old Vic company at what was then referred to as the New Theatre, succeeding George Curzon in the parts of Sir Walter Blunt in Henry IV, Part 1, Scroop in Henry IV, Part 2, Creon in Oedipus and Sneer in The Critic. The company toured to New York City in the summer of 1946, appearing at such venues as the Century Theatre. Upon returning to Britain in September 1946, Andrews continued performing with the Old Vic company through the end of the 1948–1949 season.[2]

In 1949, Andrews joined the company at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, in which he performed in such Shakespearean roles as Macduff, Don Pedro and Cardinal Wolsey. Andrews toured with the company through Australia in 1949. He continued to perform with the company in Stratford-upon-Avon through the 1951 season, playing Henry IV through three consecutive Shakespeare plays. He then travelled to New York with the company of Laurence Olivier, performing in such plays as Caesar and Cleopatra and Antony and Cleopatra at the Ziegfeld Theatre. Andrews went on tour with the Old Vic company performing Henry VIII in Paris, Antwerp and Brussels.[2]

In 1971 Harry Andrews played the title role in Lear by Edward Bond at The Royal Court Theatre London continuing his association with contemporary British theatre with his role in the film adaptation of Entertaining Mr Sloane by Joe Orton of the previous year in 1970 to great critical praise.


Harry Andrews, by Allan Warren
Harry Andrews, by Allan Warren

Andrews made his first two screen appearances with Alan Ladd in the films The Red Beret[2] (1953) and The Black Knight (1954). He performed in several historical and adventure films, including Alexander the Great and Moby Dick (both 1956), Ice Cold in Alex (1958), Solomon and Sheba (1959) and 633 Squadron (1964). In the 1960s and 1970s, Andrews began performing more frequently in dramas and comedy films.[4] He received the award for Best Supporting Actor from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures for his performances in The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965) as Donato Bramante. The film starred Charlton Heston with whom Andrews shared several scenes in 55 Days at Peking (1963) and The Hill (1965) alongside Sean Connery.[5] His performance in The Hill also resulted in Andrews being nominated for the 1966 BAFTA award for Best British Actor, though the award was won by Dirk Bogarde for his performance in Darling. Andrews later appeared in such films as the comedy The Jokers (1967), the musical comedy The Night They Raided Minsky's (1968), the 1970 film adaptation of Emily Brontë's novel Wuthering Heights, 1970 film adaptation of 1964 Joe Orton play, the comedy The Ruling Class (1972), Man of La Mancha (1972) as the Innkeeper, the horror film Theatre of Blood (1973), and the 1976 film adaptation of Maurice Maeterlinck's play The Blue Bird, which was the first film collaboration between the United States and Soviet Russia.[4] In 1978 he portrayed Norris the butler in Michael Winner's version of Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep starring Robert Mitchum as Philip Marlowe.

Andrews was known for his portrayal of tough military officers.[4] These performances included Sergeant Payne in A Hill in Korea (1956), Major Henry in I Accuse! (1958), Major Swindon in the 1959 film adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's play The Devil's Disciple, Captain Graham in A Touch of Larceny (also 1959), the 3rd Earl of Lucan in The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968) and Colonel Thompson in Too Late the Hero in 1970, and Grand Duke Nicholas, commander of the Russian army, in Nicholas and Alexandra in 1971.

In addition to film work, Harry Andrews also appeared in several television series. In the early 1960s, Andrews appeared in two episodes of Armchair Theatre. He portrayed Colonel Bruce in Edward the Seventh (1975) and Darius Clayhanger in a 1976 television series based on The Clayhanger Family novels. He played one of the Kryptonian elders during the sentencing of the three villains in the film Superman (1978). He played the Prime-Minister, Lord Bellinger, in the 1986 adaptation of Sherlock Holmes' The Second Stain. In 1985, Andrews was interviewed on an episode of This Is Your Life.


Personal life

Little Thatch, Belgrave Road, Seaford in 2017
Little Thatch, Belgrave Road, Seaford in 2017

Andrews’ partner for over 30 years, until his death, was fellow actor Basil Hoskins, next to whom he is buried at St Mary the Virgin, Salehurst, East Sussex.[6] The two men had worked together on the film Ice Cold in Alex.[7] Andrews died at the age of 77 on 6 March 1989, at his home in Salehurst.[8][4]

Between 1956 and 1961, Andrews lived at Little Thatch, Belgrave Road, Seaford, East Sussex.[9]


  1. ^ "Famous actors born in South East England". Archived from the original on 1 October 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e Ian Herbert, ed. (1981). "ANDREWS, Harry". Who's Who in the Theatre. Vol. 1. Gale Research Company. p. 18. ISSN 0083-9833.
  3. ^ https://www.facebook.com/162346600460340/posts/5260381037323512/[user-generated source]
  4. ^ a b c d Yarrow, Andrew L. (8 March 1989). "Harry Andrews, Actor, Dies at 77; In 'The Hill' and 50 Other Movies". New York Times. p. B10. Retrieved 5 June 2009.
  5. ^ "Best Supporting Actor". National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. 2003. Archived from the original on 7 December 2008. Retrieved 6 June 2009.
  6. ^ Walker, Tim (23 April 2020). "Harry Andews". The New European. Archived from the original on 15 January 2021.
  7. ^ Walker, Tim (8 September 2021). "What 40 years of celebrity interviews taught me about attitudes towards gay men". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 September 2021.
  8. ^ "Basil Hoskins". The Telegraph. 11 February 2005. Retrieved 5 June 2009.
  9. ^ "Stars came down for the weekend". Sussex Express. Archived from the original on 6 July 2018. Retrieved 3 June 2021.