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Guy Standing in Lloyd's of London 1936 (Henry King)
1 September 1873|
London, England, United Kingdom
|Died||24 February 1937
Hollywood Hills, California, U.S.
Standing served in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve throughout the First World War, reaching the rank of Commander. In 1918, he was part of the British War Mission to the United States. For this service, he was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 1918 and raised to Knight Commander (KBE) the following year.
After becoming a noted actor in British and American theatre, he moved to Hollywood in the early 1930s appearing in Paramount films. His best-known role is probably that of Colonel Stone, autocratic father of Lieutenant Stone (played by Richard Cromwell), in Henry Hathaway's Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935).
He was the son of Herbert Standing (1846–1923), a noted actor from the stage and in silent films. His brothers Jack Standing, Herbert Standing Jr., Percy Standing and Wyndham Standing were also actors, as was his second wife Dorothy Hammond, (née Plaskitt; died 1950), his son Guy Standing Jr. and his daughter, Kay Hammond (née Dorothy Katherine Standing), and grandson John Standing.
His son by Dorothy Hammond, and brother of Kay Hammond, Michael Standing (D.1 December 1984), was the first live BBC cricket commentator and live radio commentator, known particularly for his "Standing on the Corner" slot in "In Town Tonight". After a distinguished war record as Head of Outside Broadcasting, he went on to become Director of Variety. In this role he was responsible for commissioning such classics as The Goon Show, The Navy Lark, Hancock's Half Hour and "Round The Horne". His Later roles in Radio Management included the negotiation with The Musicians' Union to provide sufficient airtime for both recorded artists and live orchestras. The agreement he made enabled the start of Radio 1. Michael also wrote "The Green Book", a book of rules and principles put into practice by the BBC of Lord Reith.
Standing's first wife was American stage actress Isabelle Urquhart, several years his senior. They divorced and she died in 1907 aged 42.
Contrary to his name, Guy Standing often preferred to sit. Standing was difficult for him due to a ruptured vertebrae in his lower back, so he avoided it whenever it was possible.
Standing died of a heart attack on February 24, 1937 at the age of 63. A persistent myth had it that Standing's heart attack had been brought on by a Rattlesnake bite while hiking in the Hollywood Hills. In truth, Standing was as at the Hillcrest Motor Company at 7001 Hollywood Boulevard (across from the Roosevelt Hotel) to make a payment on his car. He was in conversation with a salesman and was asked how he felt. “Excellent,” he responded. “In fact, I never felt better.” A moment later, his legs gave out and he was on the floor clutching at his chest and writhing in pain. These would be Stadning's last words. Doctors arrived from the Hollywood Emergency Hospital and administered adrenaline and other restoratives, but he failed to respond. Standing died a few minutes later. His body was taken to the hospital and later removed to the Le Roy Bagley Mortuary (5440 Hollywwod Blvd. – demolished) in Hollywood pending funeral arrangements and word from his wife who was in London. Close friends at Paramount claimed his death was related indirectly to a black widow spider bite he received two years earlier on the set of The Lives of a Bengal Lancer. Standing apparently responded to treatment but took the poisoning lightly, according to friends. Shortly before his death he complained of having leg pains and he walked with a limp. For whatever reason, he neglected medical help, feeling he would recover. The New York Times consulted an expert at the Bronx Zoo who said it was difficult to believe that the cause of Standing’s death was indirectly connected to the insect bite he received two years earlier. He said that he had never heard of a person dying of either a black widows bite or even a snake bite so long after the infliction of the wound. Perhaps this is where the myth of Standing’s death from a snake bite first originated. Later reports noted that Standing died from a heart ailment. He was buried in the Grand View Memorial Park Cemetery, Glendale, California.
- Sir Guy Standing at the Internet Movie Database
- portrait of Guy Standing NY Public Library
- portrait gallery of Sir Guy Standing(Univ. of Washington/Sayre Collection)