Ernest Thesiger Archive


Ernest Thesiger (1879-1961) was a star of stage and screen, most notorious for his portrayal of Dr Pretorius in the film The Bride of Frankenstein (1935). After an initial art training at the Slade, his first professional stage appearance was in Colonel Smith (1909) at St James's Theatre. He appeared regularly at the Malvern Festival under Sir Barry Jackson, made several stage appearances at the London Old Vic, and toured Russia in 1955 in Peter Brook's Hamlet. His stage career continued into his final years with The Last Joke at the Phoenix Theatre in 1960.

Ernest Thesiger's film career began in the era of silent movies, first starring in The Real Thing At Lastin 1916. As a character actor he played a host of roles in early horror movies, such as The Old Dark House (1932), as well as other prominent roles in Caesar and Cleopatra (1946) and The Man in the White Suit (1951).

What the collection holds

The Ernest Thesiger Archive is a personal collection of his journals, scrapbooks, letters and photographs that reflect his stage and film career, his service during the war, as well as his personal interests in painting, embroidery and Mercury-Glassware.

The online catalogue for this collection can be viewed here: 
EFT - Ernest Thesiger Archive

Further information

Further Reading
Practically True by Ernest Thesiger

Enthusiast Website

Other Useful Sites
Ernest Thesiger on the Internet Movie Database

Ernest Thesiger as in costume as Polonius, backstage working on a piece of embroidery
Ernest Thesiger as Polonius in Hamlet, working on his embroidery backstage, 1955 Image credit: University of Bristol Theatre Collection
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