Colin Clive

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Colin Clive
Clive in the play Journey's End (1929)
Born Colin Glenn Clive-Greig
(1900-01-20)20 January 1900
Saint-Malo, Brittany, France
Died 25 June 1937(1937-06-25) (aged 37)
Hollywood, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Years active 1930-1937
Spouse(s) Jeanne de Casalis
(m.1929-1937; his death)
Parents Colin Philip Greig
Caroline Margaret Lugard Clive

Colin Clive (20 January 1900 – 25 June 1937) was an English stage and screen actor best remembered for his portrayal of Dr. Frankenstein in James Whale's two Universal Frankenstein films Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein.[1]

Early life[edit]

Clive was born in Saint-Malo, France, to an English colonel Colin Philip Greig and his wife, Caroline Margaret Lugard Clive. He attended Stonyhurst College and subsequently Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where an injured knee disqualified him from military service and contributed to his becoming a stage actor. On stage, one of his roles was Steve Baker, the white husband of racially mixed Julie LaVerne, in the first London production of Show Boat. This production also featured Cedric Hardwicke and Paul Robeson.

Clive first worked with James Whale in the Savoy Theatre production of Journey's End and subsequently joined the British community in Hollywood in the 1930s, repeating his stage role in the 1930 film version of Journey's End, which was directed by Whale.


Clive's first screen role, in Journey's End, was also directed by James Whale. Clive played the tormented alcoholic Captain Stanhope, a character that (much like Clive's other roles) mirrored his personal life.

Clive was also an in-demand leading man for a number of major film actresses of the era, including Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Corinne Griffith and Jean Arthur. He also starred as Edward Rochester in a 1934 adaptation of Jane Eyre opposite Virginia Bruce. He was related to Clive of India and appeared in a featured role in a film biography of his relative in 1935.[1]

From June 1929 until his death, Clive was married to actress Jeanne de Casalis. She did not accompany her husband to Hollywood. There has been speculation that de Casalis was a lesbian and Clive was either gay or bisexual, meaning that they were in a lavender marriage. David Lewis, the longtime companion of Clive's frequent director James Whale, flatly states that Clive was not gay.[2]


Colin Clive suffered from severe chronic alcoholism and died from complications of tuberculosis in 1937 at age 37.[1]

Clive's alcoholism was very much apparent to his co-stars, as he was often seen napping on set and sometimes was so intoxicated that he had to be held upright for over-the-shoulder shots. Clive was also tormented by the medical threat of amputating his long-damaged leg.[3]

Forrest J Ackerman recalls visiting Clive's body in the funeral parlour. "As I recall, he had a dressing gown on and he was calmly lying there. And he looked very much like that scene in Bride". Over 300 mourners turned out. One of the pallbearers was Peter Lorre.[3]

His cenotaph is located at Chapel of the Pines Crematory,[4] but his ashes were scattered at sea in 1978 after they spent over 40 years unclaimed in the basement of the funeral parlour where his body was brought after his death.[5]



  1. ^ a b c "Colin Clive, Actor Dies in Hollywood. Star of Screen and Stage, 37, Scored First Hit as Stanhope in 'Journey's End'. Made Debut Here in 1930. Appeared in 'Clive of India,' a Picture Based on Life of His Ancestor Descendant of Empire Builder Played Frankenstein Role.". New York Times. 26 June 1937. 
  2. ^ Curtis, p. 185
  3. ^ a b (Mank 150)
  4. ^ "Colin Clive". Find a Grave. Retrieved 28 August 2010. 
  5. ^

3. ^ Mank pg. 150


  • Curtis, James (1998). James Whale: A New World of Gods and Monsters. Boston, Faber and Faber. ISBN 0-571-19285-8.
  • Mank, Gregory. Hollywood cauldron: thirteen horror films from the genre's golden age. Jefferson, NC: 1994. pg. 150

External links[edit]