Charles Greville, 7th Earl of Warwick

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Charles Guy Fulke Greville, 7th Earl of Warwick, 7th Earl Brooke (4 March 1911 – 20 January 1984), was a British peer and the last Earl of Warwick to live at the family seat Warwick Castle before its sale in 1978. He became the first British aristocrat to star in a Hollywood movie, and was later nicknamed the Duke of Hollywood by the local press.

Born in London, the eldest son of Leopold Greville, 6th Earl of Warwick and his wife Elfrida Eden, 'Fulkie' was educated at Eton and in Switzerland. He succeeded to the earldom at the age of 16 in January 1928, on the death of his father. He joined the Grenadier Guards after completing his education.

Acting career[edit]

In the 1920s and 1930s, many British actors found work in the American film industry; Sheridan Morley called this the "Hollywood Raj".[1] In 1936, Charles Greville became the first British aristocrat to be offered a Hollywood contract by MGM. He was to receive £200 a year, and the services of a valet and secretary.

Newspaper reports at the time suggested his reasoning for taking a film contract was sex motivated. He referred to his wages as his own "pocket money" and that he was 'simply seeking a job like everyone else'. He used the stage name Michael Brooke to distance himself from his aristocratic background. After six months he was dropped by MGM resulting in a long court battle thereafter.

As the highest-profile Englishman in Hollywood, Charles became a celebrity figure with nicknames like 'The Duke of Hollywood' and 'Warwick the Filmmaker' (a pun on Warwick the Kingmaker). Listed with a string of high-profile affairs including Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich and Paulette Goddard, he was famed for socialising within celebrity circles.

In 1938, he was offered another chance at acting through Paramount. He finally got his chance to star in a movie and was given a lead role in The Dawn Patrol alongside David Niven and Errol Flynn. This would be his only mainstream movie however, and he was subsequently dropped thereafter.

The Earl of Warwick[edit]

Following his failure in America, and with the start of World War II, Warwick returned to the United Kingdom. Coventry, near his family seat, suffered tremendous aerial bombing, and he opened his home to evacuees from the city, as well as to the Ministry of Supplies. It was rumoured that Nazi war criminal Rudolf Hess was held at Warwick Castle for one night while being transported from Scotland to London.

He was Mayor of Warwick between 1950 and 1951, organising great celebrations for the success of the boxer Randolph Turpin, and hosted King George VI and Queen Elizabeth for a visit in 1951.

Warwick was a Conservative member of the House of Lords; his political actions included blocking proposed agricultural legislation. He supported his uncle Anthony Eden in his campaign to become Prime Minister on the resignation of Winston Churchill in the 1950s.

Later life[edit]

In 1955, Charles Greville would buy homes in Switzerland, Italy and France and begin travelling between all three. In 1957, he funded and established the illustrious Eagle Ski Club in Gstaad, Switzerland becoming its first honorary President.

Throughout the next decade, Charles began to sell many of the family possessions including estates in Warwick, heirlooms and much of the armour collection at Warwick Castle.

In 1967, he handed over control of his family estate to his son David Greville, Lord Brooke. His son sold Warwick Castle to Madame Tussauds in 1978 causing a public confrontation between father and son. Charles died in Rome in 1984 and was buried at St. Mary's Church, Warwick.


Lord Warwick was married three times, firstly in 1933 (div.1938) to Rose Bingham (d.1972), daughter of David Cecil Bingham (descendant of the 4th Earl of Lucan) and granddaughter of the 5th Earl of Rosslyn and secondly in 1942 (div.1949) to Mary Kathleen Hopkinson. Lord Warwick married thirdly in 1963 Janine Josephine Detry de Mares. He was also engaged to Margaret Whigham, later Duchess of Argyll, but the engagement was broken off in March 1932.

David Greville, 8th Earl of Warwick, his son by his first wife, Rose Bingham, inherited his titles.


  1. ^ Sheridan Morley: The Brits in Hollywood: Tales from the Hollywood Raj (UK: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1983) ISBN 0-297-78289-4, also published as Tales From The Hollywood Raj: The British, the Movies, and Tinseltown (New York: Viking, 1983), ISBN 0-670-69162-3.

External links[edit]

Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
Leopold Guy Francis Maynard Greville
Earl of Warwick
Succeeded by
David Robin Francis Guy Greville