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
Resting place Inglewood Park Cemetery
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.

Filmography[edit]

Herbert Mundin in Charlie Chan's Secret

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1931 East Lynne on the Western Front Bob Cox / Lady Isobel
1932 The Silent Witness Henry Hammer
Devil's Lottery Trowbridge
The Trial of Vivienne Ware William Boggs
Bachelor's Affairs Jepson
Almost Married Jenkins, the butler Uncredited
Chandu the Magician Albert Miggles
Love Me Tonight Groom Uncredited
The Painted Woman Georgie, Mess Boy Uncredited
Life Begins Mr. MacGilvairy Uncredited
One Way Passage S.S.Maloa Steward Uncredited
Sherlock Holmes George
1933 Cavalcade Alfred Bridges
Dangerously Yours Grove
Pleasure Cruise Henry
Adorable The Detective, Pipac
It's Great to Be Alive Brooks
The Devil's in Love Bimby
Arizona to Broadway Kingfish Miller
Shanghai Madness Larsen
Hoop-La Hap Spissel
1934 Orient Express Herbert Thomas Peters
Ever Since Eve Horace Saunders
Bottoms Up Limey Brook / Lord Brocklehurst
All Men Are Enemies Noggins
Orient Express Horatio Hollingsworth Wilson
Call It Luck Herbert Biggelwade
Springtime for Henry Trivers
Love Time Caesar
Hell in the Heavens Granny Biggs
1935 David Copperfield Barkis
Black Sheep Oscar
Spring Tonic Thompson - the Butler
Ladies Love Danger Giffins
Mutiny on the Bounty Smith
The Imperfect Lady Frederick Hitch
The Widow from Monte Carlo John Torrent
1936 King of Burlesque English Impresario
Charlie Chan's Secret Baxter the butler
A Message to Garcia Henry Piper
Under Two Flags Rake
Champagne Charlie Mr. Fipps
Tarzan Escapes Herbert Henry Rawlins
1937 Another Dawn Wilkins
You Can't Beat Love Jasper 'Meadows' Hives
Angel Mr Greenwood
That's My Story! Hiram
1938 Invisible Enemy Sergeant Alfred M. Higgs
The Adventures of Robin Hood Much
Lord Jeff Bosun 'Crusty' Jelks
Exposed Skippy
1939 Society Lawyer Layton (final film role)

Theatre[edit]

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

References[edit]

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

Bibliography[edit]

  • 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]