Hubert Willis

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Hubert Willis, Eille Norwood and Douglas Payne in The Blue Carbuncle (1923)

Hubert Willis (1862 – 13 December 1933) was a British actor[1] best known for his recurring role as Doctor Watson in a series of silent Sherlock Holmes films co-starring with Eille Norwood.

Stage career[edit]

Programme for Peter Pan at the Duke of York's Theatre (1904) in which Willis played the pirate Mullins

Willis appeared in the copyright performance of William Gillette's play Sherlock Holmes (1899) in an unknown role. He played Planchette and Lavrille in Never Again at the Vaudeville Theatre (1897) opposite Allan Aynesworth;[2] Captain Welsh opposite Robert Taber in Bonnie Dundee at the Adelphi Theatre (1900);[3] Brother Jerome in The Sacrament of Judas at the Comedy Theatre (1901);[4] Rushey Platt, MP in Love in Idleness at Terry's Theatre (1902);[5] Dick Snaresby in Brown at Brighton at the Avenue Theatre (1903);[6] Mullins in the original stage production of Peter Pan at the Duke of York's Theatre (1904) opposite Gerald du Maurier as Captain Hook/Mr. Darling and Nina Boucicault as Peter Pan;[7] Jenkins in Castles in Spain at the Royalty Theatre (1906);[8] Dubois in The Hon'ble Phil opposite G. P. Huntley at Hicks Theatre (1908);[9] Mr. Curry in The Test at the Court Theatre (1906).[10] and Village Handyman in The Man with his Back to the East at the Court Theatre (1912).[11]

Sherlock Holmes films[edit]

Willis made his first film appearance as Shelton in the silent film The House of Temperley (1913), an adaptation of Rodney Stone by Arthur Conan Doyle. Between 1921 and 1923 he played Dr. Watson in 44 short films and one full length film opposite Eille Norwood as Sherlock Holmes including The Hound of the Baskervilles (1921) and in three series of 15 episodes each in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1921); in The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1922), and in The Last Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1923). In the episode The Sign of Four (1923) Willis was replaced by Arthur Cullin as Dr. Watson.[12]

Personal life[edit]

In 1892 Willis married (Harriet) Annie Godfrey (1861-), an actress, and with her had a daughter Winifred, who also became an actress.[13][14][15] Willis lived at 39, Marlborough Crescent in Bedford Park in Chiswick, West London. He died in December 1933 and left £4,105 1s 4d in his will.[16]

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ "BFI Database entry". Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  2. ^ J. P. Wearing, The London Stage 1890-1899: A Calendar of Productions, Performers, and Personnel, Rowman & Littlefield (2014) - Google Books pg. 358
  3. ^ J. P. Wearing, The London Stage 1900-1909: A Calendar of Productions, Performers, and Personnel, Rowman & Littlefield (2014) - Google Books pg. 8
  4. ^ Wearing, pg. 58
  5. ^ Wearing, pg. 103
  6. ^ Wearing, pg. 124
  7. ^ Bruce K. Hanson, Peter Pan on Stage and Screen, 1904-2010, 2d ed.. McFarland and Company, Inc., Publishers (2011) - Google Books pg. 336
  8. ^ Wearing, pg. 289
  9. ^ Wearing, pg. 429
  10. ^ Wearing, pg. 445
  11. ^ 'Dramatic Gossip' - The Athenaeum, No. 4442, 14 December 1912, pg. 740
  12. ^ Hubert Willis in The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
  13. ^ Silent fiction films, 1895-1930, National Film Archive (Great Britain), British Film Institute, 1966, p. 115
  14. ^ The Cambridge Review, vol. 24, Cambridge Review Committee, St. John's College, 1903, p. 106
  15. ^ Sherlock Holmes on the Screen: The Motion Picture Adventures of the World's Most Popular Detective, Robert W. Pohle and Douglas C. Hart, A. S. Barnes, 1977, p. 85
  16. ^ Find a Will service, Surname: Willis, Year of Death: 1934, URL=

External links[edit]