Hume Cronyn

Hume Cronyn

Infobox actor
name = Hume Cronyn

caption = Jessica Tandy and Cronyn at the 1988 Emmy Awards
birthname = Hume Blake Cronyn
birthdate = birth date|1911|7|18
birthplace = London, Ontario, Canada
deathdate = death date and age|2003|6|15|1911|7|18
deathplace = Fairfield, Connecticut, USA
yearsactive = 1943 - 2003
spouse = Emily Woodruff (1935-1941)
Jessica Tandy (1942-1994)
Susan Cooper (1996-2003)
emmyawards = Lead Actor - Miniseries/Movie
1990 "Age-Old Friends"
1994 "To Dance With the White Dog"
Supporting Actor - Miniseries/Movie
1992 "Broadway Bound"
tonyawards = Best Featured Actor in a Play
1964 "Hamlet"

Hume Blake Cronyn, OC (July 18, 1911June 15, 2003) was a Canadian-American actor of stage, film and screen who enjoyed a long career, often appearing professionally with his second wife, Jessica Tandy.


Early life

Cronyn, one of five children, was born in London, Ontario, Canada, the son of Frances Amelia (née Labatt), an heiress of the brewing company of the same name, and her husband, Hume Blake Cronyn, Sr,, a businessman and a Member of Parliament for London (and for whom the "Hume Cronyn Memorial Observatory" and asteroid (12050) "Humecronyn" are named). His paternal grandfather Verschoyle Cronyn was the son of the Right Reverend Benjamin Cronyn, an Anglican cleric of Anglo-Irish Protestant Ascendancy stock who served as first bishop of the Anglican diocese of Huron, and founder of Huron College from which grew the University of Western Ontario. His great-uncle Benjamin Jr was both a prominent citizen and early mayor of London, Ontario. Benjamin Jr was later indicted for fraud and fled to Vermont. During his tenure in London he built a mansion called Oakwood, which currently serves as the head office of the "Info-Tech Research Group". Cronyn was also a cousin of Canadian-born theater producer, Robert Whitehead.

Early in life, Cronyn was an amateur featherweight boxer, having the skills to even be nominated for the 1932 Canadian Olympic Boxing Team.


His family had hoped he would pursue a law career, but subsequent to graduating from Ridley College, Cronyn switched majors, from pre-law to drama, while attending McGill University, and continued his acting studies thereafter, under Max Reinhardt and at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. In 1934, he made his Broadway debut as a janitor in "Hipper's Holiday" and became known for his versatility, playing a number of different roles on stage.

His first Hollywood film was Alfred Hitchcock's "Shadow of a Doubt" (1943). He later appeared in Hitchcock's "Lifeboat" (1944) and was a writer for the screenplays of "Rope" (1948) and "Under Capricorn" (1949). He was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actor for his performance in "The Seventh Cross" (1944) and won a Tony Award for his performance as Polonius opposite Richard Burton's Hamlet (1964). Cronyn bought the screenplay "What Nancy Wanted" from Norma Barzman — later blacklisted with her husband Ben Barzman — with the idea of producing the film and starring Tandy. However, he sold the screenplay to RKO which later filmed it as "The Locket" (1946). Cronyn also made two memorable appearances in television, Alfred Hitchcock Presents "Kill with Kindness" (1956) and "Hawaii Five-O", "Over Fifty, Steal" (1970). [Cronyn-Tandy Collection at the Library of Congress]

Cronyn & Tandy

Cronyn was married to actress Jessica Tandy from 1942 until her death in 1994, and appeared with her in many of their more memorable dramatic stage, film and TV outings, including "The Green Years", "The Gin Game", "Foxfire", "*batteries not included", "Cocoon" and "".

The couple even starred in a short-lived (1953–1954) radio series, "The Marriage" (based on their earlier Broadway play, "The Fourposter"), playing New York attorney Ben Marriott and his wife, former fashion buyer Liz, struggling with her switch to domestic life and their raising an awkward teenage daughter (future soap opera star Denise Alexander). The show was scheduled to move from radio to television, with Cronyn producing as well as acting in the show. However, Tandy - according to the Internet Accuracy Project - suffered a miscarriage and the project had to be shelved.

Personal life

Cronyn turned up on the infamous Hollywood blacklist for a spell - not because of his own political activity (Cronyn was long believed to shy away from political activism) - but because he had hired, often without caring about their politics, staff members who had already been blacklisted.

Cronyn re-married in July 1996, to author Susan Cooper. He became an American citizen in 1966. His 1991 autobiography was called "A Terrible Liar" (ISBN 0-688-12844-0).

In 1988, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. Cronyn was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame in 1999. [ [ Canada's Walk of Fame: Hume Cronyn, actor ] ] He died at age 91 of prostate cancer at his home in Fairfield, Connecticut, after having lived for many years in nearby Pound Ridge, New York.



* "Hipper's Holiday" - 1934
* "High Tor" - 1937
* "There's Always a Breeze" - 1938
* "Escape This Night" - 1938
* "Off to Buffalo" - 1939
* "Three Sisters" - 1939
* "The Weak Link" - 1940
* "Retreat to Pleasure" - 1940
* "Mr. Big" - 1941
* "Portrait of a Madonna" - 1946 (Director)
* "The Survivors" - 1948
* "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" - 1950
* "Hilda Crane" - 1950
* "The Little Blue Light" - 1951
* "The Fourposter" - 1951
* "The Honeys" - 1955
* "A Day By The Sea" - 1955
* "The Egghead" - 1957
* "The Man in the Dog Suit" - 1958
* "Triple Play" - 1959
* "Big Fish, Little Fish" - 1961
* "Hamlet" - 1964 (Tony Award for role of Polonius)
* "The Physicists" - 1964
* "Slow Dance on the Killing Ground" - 1964
* "A Delicate Balance" - 1966
* "Promenade, All!" - 1972
* "Noël Coward in Two Keys" - 1974
* "The Gin Game" - 1977 (performed, produced)
* "Foxfire" - 1982 (performed, wrote play and lyrics)
* "The Petition" - 1986


* "Shadow of a Doubt" (1943)
* "Phantom of the Opera" (1943)
* "The Cross of Lorraine" (1943)
* "Lifeboat" (1944)
* "The Seventh Cross" (1944)
* "Main Street After Dark" (1945)
* "The Sailor Takes a Wife" (1945)
* "A Letter for Evie" (1945)
* "Ziegfeld Follies" (1946)
* "The Postman Always Rings Twice" (1946)
* "The Green Years" (1946)
* "The Beginning or the End" (1947)
* "Brute Force" (1947)
* "The Bride Goes Wild" (1948)
* "Top o' the Morning" (1949)
* "People Will Talk" (1951)
* "Crowded Paradise" (1956)
* "The Moon and Sixpence" (1959) (television)
* "A Doll's House" (1959) (television)
* "Juno and the Paycock" (1960) (television)
* "Sunrise at Campobello" (1960)
* "Cleopatra" (1963)
* "Hamlet" (1964)
* "The Arrangement" (1969)
* "Gaily, Gaily" (1969)
* "There Was a Crooked Man..." (1970)
* "The Parallax View" (1974)
* "Conrack" (1974)
* "Rollover" (1981)
* "Honky Tonk Freeway" (1981)
* "The Gin Game" (1981) (television)
* "The World According to Garp" (1982)
* "Impulse" (1984)
* "Brewster's Millions" (1985)
* "Cocoon" (1985)
* "*batteries not included" (1987)
* "Foxfire" (1987) (television)
* "" (1988)
* "Day One" (1989) (television)
* "Age-Old Friends" (1989) (television)
* "Christmas on Division Street" (1991) (television)
* "Broadway Bound" (1992) (television)
* "To Dance with the White Dog" (1993) (television)
* "The Pelican Brief" (1993)
* "Camilla" (1994)
* "Marvin's Room" (1996)
* "12 Angry Men" (1997) (television)
* "Alone" (1997) (television)
* "Seasons of Love" (1998) (television)
* "Sea People" (1999) (television)
* "Santa and Pete" (1999) (television)
* "Yesterday's Children" (2000) (television)
* "Off Season" (2001) (television)


External links

* [ Order of Canada Citation]
* [,Hume.html Hume Cronyn - Internet Accuracy Project]

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  • Cronyn — noun Canadian actor who frequently played character parts with his wife Jessica Tandy (1911 2003) • Syn: ↑Hume Cronyn, ↑Hume Blake Cronyn • Instance Hypernyms: ↑actor, ↑histrion, ↑player, ↑thespian, ↑role player …   Useful english dictionary

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