Herbert Mundin

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Herbert Mundin
Herbert Mundin in Tarzan Escapes trailer.jpg
Born Herbert Thomas Mundin
(1898-08-21)21 August 1898
St Helens, England, UK
Died 5 March 1939(1939-03-05) (aged 40)
Van Nuys, California, U.S.
Cause of death car crash
Years active 1930-1939
Spouse(s) Hilda Frances Hoyes (1921-?)
Kathleen Ann Reed (1925-1934)[1]

Herbert Mundin (21 August 1898 – 5 March 1939) was an English character actor. He was frequently typecast in 1930s Hollywood films like The Adventures of Robin Hood as an older cheeky eccentric, a type helped by his jowled features and cheerful disposition.

Life and career[edit]

Herbert Mundin was born as Herbert Thomas Mundin in St Helens, then in Lancashire (now part of Merseyside). His father was a nomadic, Primitive Methodist home missionary. His family moved within a short time of his birth to St Albans in Hertfordshire (the 1901 census data reveal that the family lived at St Helens Villa, Paxton Road, St Albans; his parents William and Jane apparently naming their house after the town where they first met and where Herbert was born). Mundin was educated at St Albans School, and joined the Royal Navy during World War I. He began his acting career on the London stage during the 1920s. Mundin first travelled to America on 18 December 1923 for a series of theatrical engagements in New York. He sailed from Southampton on the RMS Aquitania and described himself in ship’s passenger manifest as 5'7" tall with a fair complexion, brown hair, blue eyes and a scar over his left eye. His big break as an actor was arguably with Gertrude Lawrence and Beatrice Lillie in Charlot's Revue when it appeared on Broadway in 1925.[2]

In 1931, after working in Australia and London, he permanently moved to the US, where he received a contract with Twentieth Century Fox Studios and enjoyed a successful career as a character actor in over 50 films. Perhaps his most celebrated role was as Much, the miller's son, in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), alongside Errol Flynn. Other film appearances included Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) with Charles Laughton and Clark Gable, and MGM's David Copperfield (1935) as Barkis.

According to his nephew in 2012, "he was the only man who could drink Errol Flynn under the table".

Herbert Mundin died in Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California following a car crash. He was killed instantly when the car in which he was riding collided with another car at a street intersection. The force of the impact threw open the door and hurled Mundin to the street. Mundin received a fractured skull and crushed chest. He was 40 years old. The other occupants of the car were not injured.


Herbert Mundin in Charlie Chan's Secret


Year Title Role
1931 East Lynne on the Western Front Bob Cox/ Lady Isobel
1932 Chandu the Magician Albert Miggles
Sherlock Holmes George
Devil's Lottery Trowbridge
1933 Cavalcade Alfred Bridges
Adorable The Detective, Pipac
It's Great to Be Alive Brooks
Shanghai Madness Larsen
Hoop-La Hap Spissel
Pleasure Cruise Henry
The Devil's in Love Bimby
1934 Bottoms Up Limey Brook/ Lord Brocklehurst
Orient Express Herbert Thomas Peters
Springtime for Henry Trivers
1935 David Copperfield Barkis
The Imperfect Lady Frederick Hitch
Mutiny on the Bounty Smith
Black Sheep Oscar
The Widow from Monte Carlo John Torrent
1936 Charlie Chan's Secret Baxter the butler
A Message to Garcia Henry Piper
Under Two Flags Rake
Tarzan Escapes Rawlins
King of Burlesque English Impresario
1937 Another Dawn Wilkins
Angel Mr Greenwood
1938 The Adventures of Robin Hood Much
Lord Jeff Bosun 'Crusty' Jelks
1939 Society Lawyer Layton


Herbert Mundin, Freddie Bartholomew and Jessie Ralph in MGM's David Copperfield (1935)
Year Title Theatre Notes
1921-22 A to Z Prince of Wales's Theatre His London debut
1921-22 Pot Luck Vaudeville Theatre, London
1922-23 Snap Vaudeville Theatre, London
1923 Rats Vaudeville Theatre, London
Yes! Vaudeville Theatre, London
1925 Charlot's Revue Prince of Wales Theatre


  1. ^ http://www.herbertmundin.org.uk/stageyears.html
  2. ^ Wearing, The London Stage 1920-1929, p. 355


  • Wearing, J. P. (2014). The London Stage 1920-1929: A Calendar of Productions, Performers and Personnel. Rowman and Littlefield
  • Hischak, Thomas S. (2009). Broadway Plays and Musicals: Descriptions and Essential Facts of More Than 14,000 Shows through 2007. McFarland

External links[edit]