John Merivale

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

John Merivale
Actor John Merivale.png
John Herman Merivale

(1917-12-01)1 December 1917
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died6 February 1990(1990-02-06) (aged 72)
London, England
(m. 1941; div. 1948)

(m. 1986)
Partner(s)Vivien Leigh (1959–1967) Dinah Sheridan (1968-1986)
Parent(s)Philip Merivale
Viva Birkett

John Herman Merivale (1 December 1917 – 6 February 1990) was a Canadian-born British theatre actor, and occasional supporting player in British films.[1][2]

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, John Merivale was the son of English actors Philip Merivale and Viva Birkett.[3] His stepmother was the English actress Gladys Cooper.[4] Merivale was educated in England, at Rugby and New College, Oxford.[5]

Merivale made his acting debut at age 15, playing the small role of a newsboy in James Whale's The Invisible Man (1933).[2] His stage career started when he was 21, as an understudy in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, where he first met Vivien Leigh.[5] He later worked in the production of Romeo and Juliet by Leigh and her husband, Laurence Olivier.[6]

Merivale's career was put on hold while he served as a pilot with both the British and Canadian air forces during World War II.[5] He resumed his career in 1946, with a starring role in a successful U.S. production of Oscar Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan.[7]

In 1956 Merivale made his second film appearance, in The Battle of the River Plate. He went on to have supporting roles in films such as A Night to Remember (1958), Circus of Horrors (1960), House of Mystery (1961), The List of Adrian Messenger (1963), (where he played the title character, who is killed thirteen minutes into the film), King Rat (1965), and Arabesque (1966).[2]

Although Merivale had the leading role in the Italian horror film Caltiki - il mostro immortale (1959), he tended to concentrate on theatre work, in such productions as Venus Observed, Anne of the Thousand Days, The Reluctant Debutante and The Last of Mrs. Cheyney.[8][1][9]

He was married to the US actress Jan Sterling from 1941 until 1948, and lived with Vivien Leigh from 1958 until her death in 1967, becoming her dedicated caretaker[10] in her final years. In 1986 he married his long-time friend and actress Dinah Sheridan.[11]

Merivale died in 1990 from kidney failure.[12]


Year Title Role Notes
1933 The Invisible Man Newsboy Uncredited
1956 The Battle of the River Plate Cowburn - HMS Achilles Uncredited
1958 A Night to Remember Robbie Lucas
1958 Caltiki – The Immortal Monster Prof. John Fielding
1960 Circus of Horrors Edward Finsbury
1961 House of Mystery Clive
1963 The List of Adrian Messenger Adrian Messenger
1963 80,000 Suspects Mr. Bradley Uncredited
1965 King Rat Foster
1966 Arabesque Maj. Sylvester Pennington Sloane (final film role)


  1. ^ a b "John Merivale – Broadway Cast & Staff | IBDB".
  2. ^ a b c "John Merivale". BFI.
  3. ^ "Philip Merivale – Broadway Cast & Staff | IBDB".
  4. ^ "Gladys Cooper – Broadway Cast & Staff | IBDB".
  5. ^ a b c "John Merivale | Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos". AllMovie.
  6. ^ "Romeo and Juliet – Broadway Play – 1940 Revival | IBDB".
  7. ^ "Lady Windermere's Fan – Broadway Play – 1946 Revival | IBDB".
  8. ^ "Caltiki, the Immortal Monster (1959) - Mario Bava, Riccardo Freda | Cast and Crew". AllMovie.
  9. ^ "John Merivale | Theatricalia".
  10. ^ Capua, Michelangelo (2003). Vivien Leigh: a biography. Jefferson, NC, USA: McFarland. p 157. ISBN 0-7864-1497-9, ISBN 978-0-7864-1497-0
  11. ^ Barker, Dennis (25 November 2012). "Dinah Sheridan obituary" – via
  12. ^ "Actress Dinah Sheridan dies at 92". 25 November 2012 – via

External links[edit]