Mander in The Little Princess (1939)
Lionel Henry Mander
14 May 1888
|Died||8 February 1946 (aged 57)|
|Resting place||Ocean View Burial Park, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada|
|Other names||Luther Miles|
Miles Mander (born Lionel Henry Mander; 14 May 1888 – 8 February 1946), was an English character actor of the early Hollywood cinema, also a film director and producer, and a playwright and novelist. He was sometimes credited as Luther Miles.
Miles Mander was the second son of Theodore Mander, builder of Wightwick Manor, of the prominent Mander family, industrialists and public servants of Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England. He was the younger brother of Geoffrey Mander, the Liberal Member of Parliament. He was educated at Harrow School, Middlesex (The Grove House 1901- Easter 1903), Loretto School (in Canada) and McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. But he soon broke away from the predictable mould of business and philanthropy. He was an early aviator, a captain in the Royal Army Service Corps in the First World War. He spent his twenties in New Zealand farming sheep, with his uncle, Martin Mander.
Miles Mander entered the British film industry as a writer, producer, and actor, often working with Adrian Brunel. In 1925 he appeared in two Gainsborough productions: The Prude's Fall (1925) and The Pleasure Garden (1926). The former was Alfred Hitchcock's last film as an assistant director to Graham Cutts. The latter was Hitchcock's directorial debut. In 1926-7 he made a series of pioneering sound films. Later he collaborated with Alma Reville, Hitchcock's wife, on the script of The First Born (1928), his feature debut as director, in which he co-starred with Madeleine Carroll. Carroll reappeared in his third film, Fascination (1931).
Mander is better remembered for his character portrayals of oily villains, many of them English gentlemen or upper crust cads - such as Cardinal Richelieu in the musical film The Three Musketeers (1939), a spoof in which the Ritz Brothers played lackeys who substituted for the real Musketeers. In his Hollywood debut, he had portrayed King Louis XIII in the much more serious 1935 version of that same Alexandre Dumas, père classic. One of his meatiest performances came as a dual role in the 1939 serial Daredevils of the Red Circle, in which he played both a kindly industrialist and the ruthless villain who impersonates him (played "out of makeup" by Charles Middleton). Other famous film credits included Wuthering Heights (1939) with Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon, in which he played Mr. Lockwood, the new tenant at the Grange, who is told the story of Cathy and Heathcliff. In the English version of G.W. Pabst's Don Quixote (1933), he played the Duke who invites Don Quixote and Sancho Panza to his castle, and in the original To Be or Not to Be (1942), he was one of the two British officers to whom Robert Stack first reveals his suspicions about the treacherous Professor Siletsky (Stanley Ridges).
His first wife was Pratibha Devi, a princess of Cooch Behar. She was the daughter of Maharaja Nripendra Narayan and Maharani Suniti Devi of Cooch Behar and paternal aunt of Gayatri Devi, Maharani of Jaipur.
His second wife was Kathleen ('Bunty') French, of Sydney, Australia, with whom he had a son, Theodore. He wrote a book of memoirs and advice to him, To My Son--in Confidence (1934). He died suddenly of a heart attack at the Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles, aged 57.