|Born||28 May 1897|
|Died||9 June 1962 (aged 65)|
Le Rayol, France
|Occupation(s)||Actor, director, revue artiste|
Henry Kendall AFC, (28 May 1897 – 9 June 1962) was an English stage and film actor, theatre director and revue artiste.
His early theatrical career was curtailed by the First World War, in which he served with distinction. Resuming his stage career in 1919 he appeared mostly in the West End, with one excursion to Broadway and occasional tours of the British provinces, particularly during the Second World War. He was dismissive of his career as a screen actor, but made more than 40 films for the cinema. As a theatre director he was responsible for more than 20 productions, in a minority of which he also starred.
In his later years he had heart problems, which forced his temporary withdrawal from the theatre in 1957. He died of a heart attack in the south of France in 1962, at the age of 65. He was unmarried.
Kendall was born in London in 1897, the son of William Kendall and his wife Rebecca, née Nathan. He was educated at the City of London School. He began his stage career "walking on" (as a non-speaking extra) in Tommy Atkins at the Lyceum Theatre in 1914. From then until he joined the armed forces during the First World War he was first a chorus member in Business as Usual at the Hippodrome Theatre (1914), then a supporting player in Watch Your Step (Empire Theatre, 1915); and for nine months a member of the Old Vic company, playing juvenile parts in Shakespeare repertory, including Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing, Florizel in The Winter's Tale, and Sebastian in Twelfth Night (1915–1916).
From 1916–1919 Kendall served as a captain in the Royal Flying Corps (latterly the Royal Air Force), winning the Air Force Cross.
In the post-war decade Kendall played more than 30 roles in the West End and on Broadway:
|Cyrano de Bergerac||Second Marquis||Garrick||1919|
|Cyrano de Bergerac||Christian||Drury Lane||1919|
|French Leave||Lt George Graham||Globe||1920|
|Where the Rainbow Ends||Saint George||Apollo||1920|
|Polly With a Past||Harry Richardson||St James's||1921|
|The Circle||Edward Luton[n 1]||Haymarket||1921|
|The Hotel Mouse||Barry Scarlett||Queen's||1921|
|Two Jacks and a Jill||Tom Godling||Royalty||1921|
|The Curate's Egg||Various roles||Ambassadors||1922|
|Arms and the Man||Bluntschli||Everyman||1922|
|East of Suez||Harold Knox||His Majesty's||1922|
|Marriage by Instalments||John Wiltshire||Ambassadors||1923|
|Stop Flirting||Geoffrey Dangerfield||Shaftesbury||1923|
|Bachelor Husbands||Billy Reynolds||Royalty||1924|
|As You Like It||Orlando||Regent||1924|
|Charlot's Revue||Various||Prince of Wales||1924|
|Tunnel Trench||Lt St Aubyn||Prince's||1925|
|The Czarina||Count Alexei Czerny||Q||1925|
|On 'Change||Dr Tom Pearson||Savoy||1925|
|Naughty Cinderella||Gerald Gray||Lyceum, New York||1925|
|This Woman Business||Honey||Ritz, New York||1926|
|The Silent House||Capt Philip Barty||Comedy||1927|
|The Road to Rome||Mago||Strand||1928|
|A Damsel in Distress||Reggie Higgins||New||1928|
|Wrongs and Rights||Hugh Rawson||Strand||1928|
|Baa, Baa, Black Sheep||Hugo Bonsor||New||1929|
|The Flying Fool||Vincent Floyd||Prince's||1929|
|He's Mine||Maxime de Bellencontre||Lyric||1929|
|The Ghost Train||Teddy Deakin||Comedy||1929|
In the 1930s and during the Second World War Kendall continued to appear mainly in the West End, but toured in three productions:
|Odd Numbers||John Strange||Comedy||1930|
|Charlot's Masquerade||revue – various||Cambridge||1930|
|A Murder Has Been Arranged||Maurice Mullins||Strand and St James's||1930|
|Cut for Partners||Hugo||tour||1934|
|Someone at the Door||Ronnie Martin||Aldwych and New||1935|
|The World Waits||Kenneth Brice||Aldwych||1935|
|Bats in the Belfry||Edward Morton||Ambassadors||1937|
|This Money Business||Gerald Esmond||Ambassadors||1938|
|Room for Two||Hubert Crone||Comedy||1938|
|Punch Without Judy||Micky Saunders||Q||1939|
|House Party||Michael Drumley||Q||1940|
|Nap Hand||Johnny Potter||tour||1940|
|High Temperature||Tony Hamilton||Q and Duke of York's||1940|
|High Temperature||Tony Hamilton||tour||1941|
|Rise Above It||revue – various||Comedy||1941|
|Scoop||revue – various||Vaudeville Theatre||1942|
|A Little Bit of Fluff||John Ayers||Ambassadors||1943|
|The Fur Coat||Dominic Mallory||Comedy||1943|
|Sweet and Low||revue – various[n 2]||Ambassadors||1944|
|Sweeter and Lower||revue – various||Ambassadors||1944|
|Sweetest and Lowest||revue||Ambassadors||1946|
|À la Carte||revue||Savoy Theatre||1948|
|On Monday Next...||Harry Blacker[n 3]||Embassy and Comedy||1949;|
|For Love or Money||Lovewell||Ambassadors||1950|
|The Dish Ran Away||Peter Perry||Vaudeville||1950|
|Caprice||revue – various||touring||1950|
|The Happy Family||Henry Lord||Duchess||1951|
|Angels in Love||Pomeroy-Jones||Savoy||1954|
|Portrait of a Woman||Montague Cloud[n 4]||Q||1954|
|Beat the Panel[n 5]||Oliver Charrington||Royal, Nottingham,
and Embassy, London
|The Call of the Dodo||Julian Lassiter||Royal, Nottingham||1955|
|Where the Rainbow Ends||Joseph Flint[n 4]||New Victoria||1958|
|Let Them Eat Cake||Lord Whitehall||Cambridge Theatre||1959|
|Aunt Edwina||title role||Fortune Theatre||1959|
|Pools Paradise||Bishop of Lax[n 4]||Phoenix and on tour||1961|
Kendall dismissed his own films, several of which were quota quickies, with the remark that he "commenced film career 1931, and has appeared in innumerable pictures". He played the leading role of Reggie Ogden in the film The Shadow in 1933, and also starred in Alfred Hitchcock's "bravest failure", Rich and Strange, originally released in the United States as East of Shanghai, (1931). Kendall's films included:
As a West End revue artiste Kendall appeared in Charlot's Revue at the Prince of Wales Theatre in 1924 and Charlot's Masquerade at the Cambridge Theatre in 1930. He co-starred with Hermione Gingold in the three long-running Sweet and Low revues, with scripts by Alan Melville, first taking over from Walter Crisham in 1944; this was followed in June 1948 by the À la Carte revue at the Savoy Theatre.
He appeared with Hermione Baddeley and Hermione Gingold ("The Two Hermiones"), Walter Crisham and Wilfred Hyde-White, in Leslie Julian Jones's revue Rise Above It, first at the Q Theatre in January 1941, when Hedley Briggs was nominally directing; then in two West End editions of the show which ran for a total of 380 performances at the Comedy Theatre opening in June 1941 and again in December 1941, when he was both starring in and directing the show.
He observed in his autobiography:
In addition to a busy career as an actor and entertainer Kendal was frequently engaged as a director, staging, among other plays, the first productions of See How They Run (Peterborough Rep, tour and Q Theatre 1944; Comedy Theatre 1945), and The Shop at Sly Corner (St Martin's Theatre 1945). He also directed numerous plays at the Embassy Theatre and Q Theatre.
In Chapter 23 of his autobiography, 'I Remember Romano's', 'An Alligator and Mr. Chaplin', (Macdonald, London, 1960), Kendal wrote that Peter Daubeny asked him in 1955 to " ...keep an eye on, (produce), his revival at the Palace", (Palace Theatre, London), of The Merry Widow, starring Jan Kiepura and Marta Eggerth, while he was on business in Paris.
Among his productions were:
Kendall's autobiography was published by MacDonald & Co in 1960; it was called I Remember Romanos.
In his later years Kendal suffered from heart trouble. He had to give up work for a while in 1957 after a heart attack. In February 1960 he was hospitalised after suffering another attack at his house in Hampstead. He had a final, fatal attack while staying at Le Rayol in the South of France, on 9 June 1962, at the age of 65. He was unmarried.