Patric Knowles

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Patric Knowles
Knowles in 1950
Reginald Lawrence Knowles

(1911-11-11)11 November 1911
Died23 December 1995(1995-12-23) (aged 84)
Years active1932–1973
Enid Percival
(m. 1935)

Reginald Lawrence Knowles (11 November 1911 – 23 December 1995), better known as Patric Knowles, was an English film actor. Born in Horsforth, West Riding of Yorkshire, he made his film debut in 1932, and played either first or second film leads throughout his career. He appeared in films from the 1930s to the 1970s.

Life and career[edit]

Early life[edit]

Reginald Lawrence Knowles was born on 11 November 1911 in Horsforth.[1]

British acting career[edit]

Knowles began his acting career with the British sound films early in 1932, calling himself Patric Knowles. He made his film debut in Men of Tomorrow (1932), produced by Alexander Korda.

He later joined the repertory group of the Oxford Playhouse theater and began touring with various companies and was involved in some seasons in regional theater, being featured in 14 British films, including The Poisoned Diamond (1933), directed by W. P. Kellino; Norah O'Neale (1934), directed by Brian Desmond Hurst; Regal Cavalcade (1935); and The Girl in the Crowd (1935), directed by Michael Powell.

He had the male lead in The Student's Romance (1935) with Grete Natzler and Honours Easy (1935) with Greta Nissen and was in Abdul the Damned (1935), Mister Hobo (1935) with George Arliss, Wrath of Jealousy (1936), and Two's Company (1936).[2]

During the same time, Knowles met Gladys Enid Percival, an actress and homemaker, and married the 23-year-old on 3 October 1935.[3]

After a few tours Knowles went to London and appeared in By Appointment in 1936, where he was spotted by Irving Asher of Warner Bros. and got a Hollywood contract for more than 2 years.[4] He had the lead in his final British films, The Brown Wallet (1936), directed by Powell; Fair Exchange (1936), directed by Ralph Ince; and Crown v. Stevens (1936), directed by Powell.[5]

Warner Bros[edit]

In 1936 he arrived in New York alongside his wife and appeared in his first American film, Give Me Your Heart (1936) with Kay Francis, released in Great Britain as Sweet Aloes, Knowles was cast as a titled Englishman of means.

In 1939 and at the age of 27, Knowles moved to his new residence with his wife in Tarzana, Los Angeles, California, USA. During his free time Knowles became a licensed private pilot in the late 1930s.[citation needed]

His second film for Warners was The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936), where he played the younger brother of Errol Flynn, who was loved by Olivia de Havilland.[6] Knowles returned to England to make Irish for Luck (1936), and then supported Bette Davis in It's Love I'm After (1937).

Knowles was top billed in some B pictures at Warners, Expensive Husbands (1937) and The Patient in Room 18 (1938). He was re-teamed with Flynn and De Havilland in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), playing Will Scarlett, and again with the pair in Four's a Crowd (1938). He supported Flynn and Bette Davis in The Sisters (1938).[7]

Republic borrowed Knowles to play the lead in Storm Over Bengal (1938).[8]

At Warners he had support roles in two B pictures, Heart of the North (1938) and Torchy Blane in Chinatown (1939), then he left the studio.


Knowles in Five Came Back (1939)

Knowles signed a contract at RKO, for whom he made Beauty for the Asking (1939) with Lucille Ball; Five Came Back (1939) also with Ball, directed by John Farrow; and The Spellbinder (1939).

He went to MGM for Another Thin Man (1939) with William Powell and Myrna Loy and Fox for The Honeymoon's Over (1939) then went back to RKO for two more with John Farrow, Married and in Love (1940) and a remake of A Bill of Divorcement (1940) with Maureen O'Hara and Adolphe Menjou, then Anne of Windy Poplars (1941), playing Gilbert Blythe.

In 1940 a limerick circulated about Knowles: How pleasant to know Patric Knowles/ Who is the kindest of souls/ But being handsome and a British swell/ Nobody expects him to act very well/ Which is why he never gets good roles.[9]

World War II[edit]

In 1940 Knowles left Hollywood and travelled to Canada to enlist in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He had hundreds of hours of flying experience but an eye ailment meant he became an instructor.[10]

At Fox he was in How Green Was My Valley (1941) for John Ford.[11]


Ilona Massey and Knowles in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man
Knowles, Lon Chaney Jr. and Doris Lloyd in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)

Knowles went to Universal for a support part in The Wolf Man (1941) with Lon Chaney Jr. and Claude Rains. He went to Republic for Women in War (1941) then was top billed in Universal's The Strange Case of Doctor Rx (1942), and Mystery of Marie Roget (1942) with Maria Montez.

He supported Irene Dunne in Gregory La Cava's Lady in a Jam (1942) with Ralph Bellamy and Eugene Pallette, Constance Bennett in Sin Town (1942), Abbott and Costello in Who Done It? (1942) and Hit the Ice (1943), Ilona Massey in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943) with Lon Chaney Jr. and Bela Lugosi, Rosemary Lane in All by Myself (1943), The Andrews Sisters in Always a Bridesmaid (1943), Olsen and Johnson in Crazy House (1943), Donald O'Connor and Peggy Ryan in Chip Off the Old Block (1944) and This Is the Life (1944), and Gloria Jean in Pardon My Rhythm (1944).[12]

During this time he continued to serve as a flying instructor with the US Air Force.[11]


With Anne Gwynne, 1942

Knowles went to Paramount where he supported Paulette Goddard and Ray Milland in Kitty (1945), Dorothy Lamour in Masquerade in Mexico (1945), Barbara Stanwyck in The Bride Wore Boots (1946), and Alan Ladd in O.S.S. (1946).[13]

He went to Warners for Of Human Bondage (1946) and Universal borrowed him to play Joan Fontaine's leading man in the thriller Ivy (1947).[14] He went back to Paramount for Monsieur Beaucaire (1946) with Bob Hope, Variety Girl (1947) with practically every performer on the Paramount lot, Dream Girl (1948), and Isn't It Romantic? (1949).[15]

Knowles went to RKO for The Big Steal (1949) with Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer and William Bendix, and Fox for Three Came Home (1950), second billed, playing Claudette Colbert's husband.[16]


Knowles and Angela Lansbury in Mutiny (1952)
Mark Stevens and Knowles, 1952

Knowles began appearing on TV shows such as The Bigelow Theatre, Studio One in Hollywood, Lights Out, Hollywood Opening Night, Robert Montgomery Presents, The Revlon Mirror Theater, The United States Steel Hour, The Whistler, Studio 57, The Ford Television Theatre, and Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre.

He still appeared in features such as Quebec (1951), Mutiny (1952), Tarzan's Savage Fury (1952) (as the villain), Jamaica Run (1953), Flame of Calcutta (1953) for Sam Katzman (second billed to Denise Darcel), World for Ransom (1954), Khyber Patrol (1954) and No Man's Woman (1955).[17]

From the late 1950s Knowles became an almost exclusively television actor appearing in Star Stage, The 20th Century-Fox Hour, Tales of the 77th Bengal Lancers , Ethel Barrymore Theatre, Lux Video Theatre, Matinee Theatre, Schlitz Playhouse, The Millionaire, Lux Playhouse, Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, Wagon Train, General Electric Theater, 77 Sunset Strip, Tightrope, Maverick in episodes "The Wrecker" with James Garner and Jack Kelly and "Guatemala City" with James Garner, The Barbara Stanwyck Show, Klondike, The Jim Backus Show, Death Valley Days, The Islanders, Checkmate, Peter Gunn, Whispering Smith, Hawaiian Eye, Have Gun – Will Travel (as Phileas Fogg in the episode "Foggbound", and as August in “Savages”) with Richard Boone, Gunsmoke, The Rogues, Mickey with Mickey Rooney, and Jericho.

He had a small role in the feature Band of Angels (1957) with Clark Gable and Sidney Portier, From the Earth to the Moon (1958) and Auntie Mame (1958) with Rosalind Russell.

He wrote a novel, Even Steven (Vantage Press, 1960, ASIN B0006RMC2G).

Later career[edit]

Knowles' later appearances included television guest star roles on Family Affair, Garrison's Gorillas, and Marcus Welby, M.D.. He appeared in three films for director Andrew McLaglen,The Way West (1967) with Kirk Douglas and Robert Mitchum, as Lord Mountbatten in The Devil's Brigade (1968) with William Holden and Cliff Robertson, and as John Tunstall in Chisum (1970) with John Wayne. He also appeared in In Enemy Country (1968) with Tony Franciosa, D.A.: Murder One (1969), Getting Together (1971), The Man (1972) with James Earl Jones, Terror in the Wax Museum (1973) with Ray Milland and Elsa Lanchester, and Arnold (1973) with Stella Stevens.

Knowles was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[citation needed]


Knowles died at age 84 from a brain hemorrhage at West Hills Hospital in West Hills, California on 23 December 1995.[18]

Partial filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Director Notes
1932 Men of Tomorrow Leontine Sagan
1933 The Poisoned Diamond Jack Dane W.P. Kellino
1934 Irish Hearts Pip Fitzgerald Brian Desmond Hurst
1935 Royal Cavalcade Army Officer Marcel Varnel
1935 The Girl in the Crowd Tom Burrows Michael Powell
1935 The Student's Romance Max Brandt Otto Kanturek
1935 Honours Easy Harry Markham Herbert Brenon
1935 Abdul the Damned Hilmi's Attaché Karl Grune
1935 The Guv'nor Paul Milton Rosmer
1936 Wedding Group Robert Smith Campbell Gullan
1936 Two's Company Lord Jerry Wendower Tim Whelan
1936 Fair Exchange Tony Meredith Ralph Ince
1936 The Brown Wallet John Gillespie Michael Powell
1936 Crown v. Stevens Chris Jensen Michael Powell
1936 Give Me Your Heart Robert Melford Archie Mayo
1936 The Charge of the Light Brigade Captain Perry Vickers Michael Curtiz
1936 Irish for Luck Terry O'Ryan Arthur B. Woods
1937 It's Love I'm After Henry Grant Archie Mayo
1937 Expensive Husbands Prince Rupert Heinrich Franz Von Rentzau Bobby Connolly
1938 The Patient in Room 18 Lance O'Leary Crane Wilbur
1938 The Adventures of Robin Hood Will Scarlett
1938 Four's a Crowd Patterson Buckley Michael Curtiz
1938 The Sisters Norman French Anatole Litvak
1938 Storm Over Bengal Capt. Jeffrey Allison Sidney Salkow
1938 Heart of the North Corporal Jim Montgomery Lewis Seiler
1939 Torchy Blane in Chinatown Captain Condon William Beaudine
1939 Beauty for the Asking Denny Williams Glenn Tryon
1939 Five Came Back Judson Ellis John Farrow
1939 The Spellbinder Tom Dixon Jack Hively
1939 Another Thin Man Dudley Horn W. S. Van Dyke
1939 The Honeymoon's Over Pat Shields Eugene Forde
1940 Married and in Love Paul Wilding John Farrow
1940 A Bill of Divorcement John Storm John Farrow
1940 Women in War Lt. Larry Hall John H. Auer
1940 Anne of Windy Poplars Gilbert Blythe Jack Hively
1941 How Green Was My Valley Ivor John Ford
1941 The Wolf Man Frank Andrews George Waggner
1942 The Strange Case of Doctor Rx Jerry Church William Nigh
1942 The Mystery of Marie Roget Dr. Paul Dupin Philip Rosen
1942 Lady in a Jam Doctor Enright Gregory La Cava
1942 Sin Town Wade Crowell Ray Enright
1942 Who Done It? Jimmy Turner Erle C. Kenton Abbott & Costello film
1943 Forever and a Day Trimble-Pomfret Son
1943 Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man Dr. Mannering Roy William Neill
1943 Hit the Ice Dr. Bill Elliot (Credits) / Dr. William 'Bill' Burns (in Film) Charles Lamont Abbott & Costello film
1943 All by Myself Dr. Bill Perry Felix E. Feist
1943 Always a Bridesmaid Tony Warren Erle C. Kenton
1943 Crazy House Edmund 'Mac' MacLean Edward F. Cline
1944 Chip Off the Old Block Commander Judd Corrigan Charles Lamont
1944 This Is the Life Maj. Hilary Jarret Felix E. Feist
1944 Pardon My Rhythm Tony Page Felix E. Feist
1945 Kitty Brett Harwood Earl of Carstairs Mitchell Leisen
1945 Masquerade in Mexico Thomas Grant Mitchell Leisen
1946 The Bride Wore Boots Lance Gale Irving Pichel
1946 O.S.S. Cmdr. Brady Irving Pichel
1946 Of Human Bondage Harry Griffiths Edmund Goulding
1946 Monsieur Beaucaire Duc le Chandre George Marshall
1947 Ivy Roger Gretorex Sam Wood
1947 Variety Girl Patric Knowles George Marshall
1948 Dream Girl Jim Lucas Mitchell Leisen
1948 Isn't It Romantic? Richard 'Rick' Brannon Norman Z. McLeod
1949 The Big Steal Jim Fiske Don Siegel
1950 Three Came Home Harry Keith Jean Negulesco
1951 Quebec Charles Douglas George Templeton
1952 Mutiny Capt. Ben Waldridge Edward Dmytryk
1952 Tarzan's Savage Fury Edwards, English Traitor Cy Endfield
1953 Jamaica Run William Montague Lewis R. Foster
1953 Flame of Calcutta Capt. Keith Lambert Seymour Friedman
1954 World for Ransom Julian March Robert Aldrich (uncredited)
1954 Khyber Patrol Lt. George Kennedy Seymour Friedman
1955 No Man's Woman Wayne Vincent Franklin Adreon
1957 Band of Angels Charles de Marigny Raoul Walsh With Clark Gable and Sidney Portier
1958 From the Earth to the Moon Josef Cartier Byron Haskin
1958 Auntie Mame Lindsay Woolsey Morton DaCosta
1967 The Way West Captain Grant Andrew V. McLaglen With Kirk Douglas and Robert Mitchum
1968 The Devil's Brigade Adm. Lord Mountbatten Andrew V. McLaglen
1968 In Enemy Country General Lloyd-Griffis Harry Keller
1970 Chisum Henry Tunstall Andrew V. McLaglen With John Wayne
1972 The Man South African Consul Joseph Sargent
1973 Terror in the Wax Museum Mr. Southcott Georg Fenady
1973 Arnold Douglas Whitehead Georg Fenady final film role


  1. ^ Lentz, Harris M. (1995). Obituaries in the Performing Arts. McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0-7864-0253-3.
  2. ^ "The Life Story of PATRIC KNOWLES". Picture Show. Vol. 40, no. 1, 039. London. 25 March 1939. p. 18.
  3. ^ "Ancestry Library Edition".
  4. ^ "Archives". Los Angeles Times. 27 December 1995.
  5. ^ "Young Men Who Were "Discovered" in London". The Sydney Morning Herald. No. 30, 933. 23 February 1937. p. 9 (Women's Supplement). Retrieved 3 October 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ Schallert, Edwin (9 March 1936). "Irvin Cobb, Film Future Secure, to Star in "Gentleman From Mississippi": Writer's Thespianic Adventure Proceeds Claude Rains and Charles Boyer Both Will Have Fling at Napoleon Interpretation; Choir Singer in "Stagestruck"". Los Angeles Times. p. 15.
  7. ^ More than two decades after Flynn's death, biographer Charles Higham accused Flynn of having been a fascist sympathizer and Nazi spy. Knowles, who had served in World War II as a flying instructor in the Royal Canadian Air Force, came to Flynn's defense, writing Rebuttal for a Friend as an epilogue to Tony Thomas' Errol Flynn: The Spy Who Never Was (Citadel Press, 1990) ISBN 0-8065-1180-X.
  8. ^ "FILM FLASHES". The Broadcaster. 17 August 1939. p. 2. Retrieved 3 October 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  9. ^ Bergan, Ronald (2 January 1996). "Obituary: Patric Knowles Secondary panache". The Guardian. p. 013.
  10. ^ "Sergeant-Pilot Pat Knowles Pays Visit to Hollywood: Actor on Leave From Training Post With Canadian Air Force". Los Angeles Times. 19 March 1941. p. 3.
  11. ^ a b "Patric Knowles; British Actor". Los Angeles Times. 27 December 1995. p. VYB5.
  12. ^ "Patric Knowles Has Schedule Of Farm Chores". The Washington Post. 13 December 1942. p. L3.
  13. ^ Shipman, David (30 December 1995). "obituaries: Patric Knowles". The Independent (FINAL ed.). p. 14.
  14. ^ "MISS DURBIN TO DO 'FOR LOVE OF MARY': Actress Is Named for Comedy by Universal-International-- 'Central Park' Postponed Buchman Buys "Dark Page"". New York Times. 7 December 1946. p. 27.
  15. ^ "Patric Knowles Winds Up Tribute to St. Patrick in Jail". Los Angeles Times. 19 March 1947. p. 2.
  16. ^ Knowles, Patric (2 January 1996). "Secondary panache". The Guardian. p. 13.
  17. ^ Schallert, Edwin (27 May 1950). "Drama: Rooney Would Do Caddy Sleuth; Patric Knowles Plays Rebel in 'Quebec'". Los Angeles Times. p. 9.
  18. ^ Associated Press (28 December 1995). "Patric Knowles, of 'Robin Hood' And 'Light Brigade,' Dies at 84". The New York Times.

Further reading[edit]

  • Alistair, Rupert (2018). "Patric Knowles". The Name Below the Title : 65 Classic Movie Character Actors from Hollywood's Golden Age (softcover) (First ed.). Great Britain: Independently published. pp. 137–139. ISBN 978-1-7200-3837-5.

External links[edit]