Photo of Basil Rathbone Basil Rathbone

Born to British parents in Johannesburg, South Africa, June 13, 1892, Basil Rathbone fled with his family to England after his father was accused of being a spy during the early years of the Second Boer War.

Rathbone carved out a career as a leading man in theater before transplanting his talents to film and ultimately becoming one of Hollywood's most notorious screen villains in such classics as David Copperfield (1935), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) and The Mark of Zorro (1940). But the actor is also fondly remembered for bringing to life one of literature's most beloved sleuths, Sherlock Holmes, in a string of 14 movies that began with The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (both 1939).

By the time of Rathbone's death on July 21, 1967, he had collected two Oscar nominations for his supporting work in Romeo and Juliet (1936) and If I Were King (1938).

Basil Rathbone in The Adventures of Robin Hood

The Adventures of Robin Hood

1938 PG

Errol Flynn stars as swashbuckling hero Robin Hood in this Oscar-nominated classic. When the greedy Prince John (Claude Rains) seizes the throne and raises taxes on the peasants, Robin assembles his band of Merry Men to steal from the rich and give to the poor. Along the way, he woos the lovely Maid Marian (Olivia de Havilland) and faces off against the dastardly Sir Guy of Gisbourne (Basil Rathbone). Patric Knowles and Alan Hale co-star.

  • Basil Rathbone in Captain Blood Captain Blood
  • Basil Rathbone in We're No Angels We're No Angels
  • Basil Rathbone in The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
  • Basil Rathbone in The Hound of the Baskervilles The Hound of the Baskervilles
  • Basil Rathbone in Sherlock Holmes Faces Death Sherlock Holmes Faces Death
  • Basil Rathbone in A Tale of Two Cities A Tale of Two Cities
  • Basil Rathbone in Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror
  • Basil Rathbone in Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon
  • Basil Rathbone in Sherlock Holmes and the Spider Woman Sherlock Holmes and the Spider Woman
  • Basil Rathbone in Sherlock Holmes: The Pearl of Death Sherlock Holmes: The Pearl of Death
  • Basil Rathbone in Sherlock Holmes: The House of Fear Sherlock Holmes: The House of Fear
  • Basil Rathbone in Sherlock Holmes: Dressed to Kill Sherlock Holmes: Dressed to Kill
  • Basil Rathbone in Son of Frankenstein /Ghost of Frankenstein Son of Frankenstein /Ghost of Frankenstein
  • Basil Rathbone in David Copperfield David Copperfield
  • Basil Rathbone in Night Key / Tower of London Night Key / Tower of London
  • Basil Rathbone in The Dawn Patrol The Dawn Patrol
  • Basil Rathbone in Sherlock Holmes in Washington Sherlock Holmes in Washington
  • Basil Rathbone in Sherlock Holmes: The Scarlet Claw Sherlock Holmes: The Scarlet Claw
  • Basil Rathbone in Sherlock Holmes: The Woman in Green Sherlock Holmes: The Woman in Green
  • Basil Rathbone in Romeo and Juliet Romeo and Juliet
  • Basil Rathbone in The Garden of Allah The Garden of Allah
  • Basil Rathbone in Make a Wish / Let's Sing Again Make a Wish / Let's Sing Again
  • Basil Rathbone in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
  • Basil Rathbone in Sherlock Holmes: Terror by Night Sherlock Holmes: Terror by Night
  • Basil Rathbone in Sherlock Holmes: Prelude to Murder Sherlock Holmes: Prelude to Murder
  • Basil Rathbone in Tales of Terror / Twice Told Tales Tales of Terror / Twice Told Tales
  • Basil Rathbone in The Last Days of Pompeii The Last Days of Pompeii
  • Basil Rathbone in Bathing Beauty Bathing Beauty
  • Basil Rathbone in Lights Out! and Other Supernatural Tales Lights Out! and Other Supernatural Tales
  • Basil Rathbone in The Magic Sword The Magic Sword