11 April 1883, Cheetham, Manchester, Lancashire, England, UK
Leonard Mudie Cheetham
Leonard Mudie was a stalwart acting veteran who made nearly 150 appearances before the camera. He was from the Midlands of England and began on stage in 1908 at the Gaiety Theater (1884-1959) in Manchester. This was the first regional repertory theater in England and well noted for the spectrum of plays produced and the patronage of new plays by lo...
Leonard Mudie was a stalwart acting veteran who made nearly 150 appearances before the camera. He was from the Midlands of England and began on stage in 1908 at the Gaiety Theater (1884-1959) in Manchester. This was the first regional repertory theater in England and well noted for the spectrum of plays produced and the patronage of new plays by local writers. Mudie was well accomplished when he came to America and Broadway in 1914, where he first appeared in the original play "Consequences". He was active there off and on through 1948 in some twenty-five roles. Later in 1921 Mudie was lured to Hollywood and silent films, sampled two for a year and then returned to Broadway. But after late 1931 Mudie returned to Hollywood, not to return to the Great White Way until his last appearance in 1948. Hollywood sound era could use his efficient, somewhat nasal British intonation and did - profusely. He managed to appear as at least a featured extra - not always with lines - in many of the great and historic films of the mid 1930s. About half his roles to 1946 were uncredited, but his was a steady voice of realism in whatever the part: stiff British official, doctor, lawyer - lots of judges - but also many an everyman role. In 1935 alone he was in thirteen films. And in one of these he was a particularly noteworthy judge. Warner Bros. was gambling on a dashing but relatively untried and unknown Australian (well Tasmanian) actor named Errol Flynn for a hoped hit remake version of the Rafael Sabatini novel Captain Blood (1935). Production was combing Hollywood for character actors for the huge cast, and Mudie was picked for one of the most villainous yet historical characters of the film, Chief Judge George Jeffreys, Baron of Wem, the "Hanging Judge", who presided over the "Bloody Assizes", the wholesale trials of the followers of the Duke of Monmouth's Rebellion at the beginning of the film. Flynn's first big dramatic scene is his confrontation with Jeffreys, bewigged and looking ashen with the kidney disease killing him. It is a great scene with great lines for both actors. Mudie was busy with over ten roles per year from 1937 thru 1941 before he began to slow down, age bringing about fewer character roles -- four or so per annum in the ensuing years. He had a somewhat prophetic line playing an old traditional actor Horace Karlos in a Charlie Chan whodunit The Scarlet Clue (1945) when he makes a reference to appearing in the still infant television as "Well, it's a living!" Indeed by 1953 Mudie got his feet wet in TV, and by later 1955 he was more a fixture of that medium than film and visiting all the varied series with a full sprinkling of character roles-including judges. In fact in the super cast of Hollywood who's who in the film The Story of Mankind (1957), he was the Chief Inquisitor for the cosmic aliens putting humanity on trial. That bit of fantasy was director by future sci-fi and underwater adventure showman Irwin Allen. He finished off his long, busy life with a few more TV roles at 82 - it certainly was a living.
Leonard Mudie's FILMOGRAPHY
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