Jack Hulbert

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Jack Hulbert
Jack Hulbert Allan Warren.jpg
Portrait by Allan Warren
Born John Norman Hulbert
(1892-04-24)24 April 1892
Ely, Cambridgeshire, England
Died 25 March 1978(1978-03-25) (aged 85)
London, England
Occupation Actor, director and writer
Years active 1930–1973
Spouse(s) Cicely Courtneidge (m. 1916-1978; his death)

John Norman "Jack" Hulbert (24 April 1892 – 25 March 1978) was a British actor, specialising primarily in comedy productions.

Biography[edit]

Born in Ely, Cambridgeshire, he was the elder and more successful brother of actor Claude Hulbert. He was educated at Cambridge and appeared in many shows and revues, mainly with the Cambridge Footlights. He was one of the earliest famous alumni of the comedy club. After Cambridge, he earned recognition and fame performing in musicals and light comedies.[1] However the First World War delayed his rise to fame; he joined the army for the remainder of the conflict. After the war he resumed his career in the theatre[2][3]

He made his film debut in Elstree Calling (1930); appearing opposite his wife and frequent stage and screen co-star Cicely Courtneidge, whom he had married in 1916. His career went through a successful period during the 1930s when he appeared in several films, including The Ghost Train (1931), Love on Wheels (1932) and Bulldog Jack (1935), a tongue-in-cheek homage to the popular Bulldog Drummond films in which Jack was supported by his brother Claude.[1] He had a hit record in 1932 The Flies Crawled Up the Window, which originally sung in the film Jack's the Boy.

In 1934 he was voted the most popular male British star at the box office.[4]

In 1936 exhibitors voted him the third most popular British film star.[5]

Hulbert's popularity waned as the 1930s came to an end, and after the war he and his wife continued to entertain chiefly on stage. In 1962 he appeared in the BBC radio sitcom Discord in Three Flats, along with Courtneidge and Vic Oliver.

photo of card in Wills's cigarette album circa 1934

In 1975, Hulbert published his autobiography, The Little Woman's Always Right. His marriage to Cicely Courtneidge lasted for 62 years until his death. Their relationship is mentioned in the British television series Dad's Army in the episode Ring Dem Bells when Hulbert pulls out of shooting a Home Guard training film to spend time with his wife.

Hulbert died, at the age of 85, at his home in Westminster, London on 25 March 1978.

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1930 Elstree Calling His film debut
1931 The Ghost Train Teddy Deakin
1931 Sunshine Susie Herr Hasel Released as The Office Girl in USA
1932 Jack's the Boy Jack Brown Released as Night and Day in USA
1932 Happy Ever After Willie Released as A Blonde Dream in USA
1932 Love on Wheels Fred Hopkins
1933 Falling for You Jack Hazeldon
1934 Jack Ahoy Jack Ponsonby
1934 The Camels Are Coming Jack Campbell
1935 Bulldog Jack Jack Pennington Released as Alias Bulldog Drummond in USA
1936 Jack of All Trades Jack Warrender Alternative title: The Two of Us
1937 Take My Tip Lord George Pilkington
1937 Paradise for Two Rene Martin Released as Gaiety Girls in USA
1938 Kate Plus Ten Inspector Mike Pemberton Released as Queen of Crime in USA
1940 Under Your Hat Jack Millett
1950 Into the Blue John Fergusson Released as Man in the Dinghy in USA
1951 The Magic Box 1st Holborn Policeman
1955 Miss Tulip Stays the Night Constable Feathers Released as Dead by Midnight in USA
1960 The Spider's Web Sir Rowland Delahaye
1973 Not Now Darling Commander Frencham
1974 The Cherry Picker Sir Hugh Fawcett

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1961 Kraft Mystery Theater – "The Spider's Web" TV Episode
1962 Compact Smith TV Series
1970 Party Games (TV) - Waiter

Theatre[edit]

Year Title Theatre Notes
1913 The Pearl Girl Shaftesbury Theatre with Cicely Courtneidge
1921 Pot Luck![6][7][8] Vaudeville Theatre, London
1921 Ring Up Vaudeville Theatre, London
1924 Second Little Revue Starts at Nine Little Theatre
1925 By The Way Apollo Theatre and Shaftesbury Theatre Revue
1926 By The Way Gaiety Theatre, London with Cicely Courtneidge
1926-27 Lido Lady Gaiety Theatre
1927-29 Clowns in Clover[9] Adelphi Theatre and Strand Theatre with Cicely Courtneidge
1938 Under Your Hat with Cicely Courtneidge
1960 The Bride Comes Back Vaudeville Theatre, London Cicely Courtneidge, Jack Hulbert
1973 The Hollow Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham with Cicely Courtneidge
1974 Breath of Spring Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham with Cicely Courtneidge
1976 Once More With Music Theatre Royal Brighton with Cicely Courtneidge

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b D. Pepys-Whiteley, ‘Hulbert, John Norman (Jack) (1892–1978)’, rev., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.
  2. ^ "Hulbert, Jack (1892-1978)". screenonline.org.uk. BFI Screenonline. Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  3. ^ Hartley, 2013, A Historical Dictionary of British Women. p. 120
  4. ^ "FILM WORLD.". The West Australian (Perth: National Library of Australia). 1 February 1935. p. 2. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  5. ^ "PICTURES and PERSONALITIES.". The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia). 10 April 1937. p. 5. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  6. ^ "Performance Details for Pot Luck! (revue)". bris.ac.uk. University of Bristol, Theatre Collection. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  7. ^ Wearing (2014). London Stage 1920-1929. p. 137. The show's success depended upon the exceptional talents of Beatrice Lillie and Jack Hulbert (Times) 
  8. ^ Green, 2009, Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre, p. 201
  9. ^ "Clowns in Clover". Cadbury Research Library Special Collections. University of Birmingham. Retrieved 27 August 2015. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Green, Stanley. (2009). Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre. Da Capo Press
  • Wearing, J. P.. (2014). The London Stage 1920-1929: A Calendar of Productions, Performances and Personnel. Rowman & Littlefield Education (2nd edition)
  • Landy, Marcia. (2014). British Genres: Cinema and Society, 1930-1960. Princeton University Press
  • Hartley, Cathy. (2013). A Historical Dictionary of British Women. Routledge

External links[edit]