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Maurice Herbert Evans
(June 3, 1901 - March 12, 1989) U.K. - U.S.A.

Maurice Evans

Actor

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Born in Dorchester, Dorset, England, Maurice Evans was the son of a justice of the peace, who was also an amateur playwright. Evans began his career in London as a choir boy, singing with the St. Andrews's choir in London. Making his stage debut in 1926, he earned his first triumph three years later in the play "Journey's End." A few attempts as a film lead and/or second lead didn't work out.

Following a season with the Old Vic theatre company, he arrived in America and proceeded to conquer Broadway, becoming one of the world's more illustrious interpreters of Shakespeare with his florid portrayals of Romeo, Hamlet, Macbeth, Richard II, and others. After becoming a US citizen in 1941, Evans served in the Army, where he ran the Central Pacific Theater division of the Army Entertainment Section during WWII and left military service with the rank of major.

A special Tony award was given to him in 1950 for his achievements on the stage. His post-war career included a handful of character film roles, notably The Story of Gilbert and Sullivan (as composer Sir Arthur Sullivan), The War Lord (1965), Rosemary's Baby, and as Dr. Zaius in the Planet of the Apes series.

More importantly, he brought Shakespeare to TV, adapting (and directing) a number of his stage classics. He won an Emmy award in 1960 for his Macbeth (TV). Ironically, the elegant, ever-regal stage master is probably best known for his recurring, non-classical appearances on the Bewitched TV series.

Declining health, however, forced his dramatic and public appearances to become much more sporadic. Evans returned to England in his twilight years and died there in a nursing home of heart failure as a result of a bronchial infection, aged 88, in Rottingdean, East Sussex.

His friend and business manager David "Taffy" Barlow, a former lover himself until he got too old, made Maurice's last days all the more comfortable by hiring teenaged rent boys to strip down and lie in the bed with him. This quite shocked some of his deathbed visitors.

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His films include:

    Maurice Evans
  • Path of Glory (1934)
  • Androcles and the Lion (1952)
  • The Story of Gilbert and Sullivan (1953)
  • Macbeth (1959)
  • The War Lord (1965)
  • Planet of the Apes (1968)
  • Rosemary's Baby (1968)
  • Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)
TV:
  • Hallmark Hall of Fame" (1951)
  • Macbeth (1960)
  • Tarzan (1966)
  • Bewitched (1964-1972)
  • The Love Boat (1977)
  • Behind the Planet of the Apes (1998)
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