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from the trailer for the film
|Born||William Reginald Gardiner
27 February 1903
London, England, United Kingdom
|Died||7 July 1980
Westwood, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Heart attack|
|Spouse(s)||Wyn Richmond (?–?) (divorced)
Nadia Petrova (1942–80) (his death) 1 child
Reginald Gardiner (27 February 1903 – 7 July 1980) was an English-born actor in film and television and a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. His parents wanted him to be an architect, but he insisted on a career as an actor.
Life and Career
He started as a super on stage and eventually became well known on the West End stage. He was also well known to wireless listeners and was known on air for his amusing train and car noises. Gardiner started film work in crowd scenes, making his big film break in 1926 in the silent film The Lodger, by Alfred Hitchcock. Moving to Hollywood, he was cast in numerous roles, often as a British butler. One of his most famous roles was that of Schultz in Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator. He also performed memorable turns as the spurned "almost-husband" in The Doctor Takes a Wife and Christmas in Connecticut.
On 4 October 1956, Gardiner appeared with Greer Garson as the first two guest stars in the series premiere of NBC's The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford. He made other guest appearances on television sitcoms of the 1960s, including Fess Parker's ABC series, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Stanley Holloway's Our Man Higgins. He also appeared in the 1964 Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Ugly Duckling," as business owner Albert Charity, and in an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents ("Banquo's Chair"). His last major role was alongside Phyllis Diller in her 1966-1967 ABC series, The Pruitts of Southampton.
He also recorded a curious and eccentric classic called "Trains" which was regularly played on a 1950s British radio programme called Children's Favourites. This record, consisted of a tipsy-sounding Gardiner reciting a monologue, which he first introduced in the 1935 Broadway revue At Home Abroad, about steam railway engines (which he claimed were 'livid beasts') and impersonating both the engines themselves and the sound of trains running on the track. This latter he famously characterised as 'diddly-dee, diddly-dum' to mimic the sound pattern as the four pairs of bogie wheels ran over joins between the lengths of track. (A sound no longer heard since welded rail joins were introduced.) "Trains" was released as a 78 and 45 by English Decca Records (F 5278) which remained on catalogue into the 1970s. At the end of the record, Gardiner signs off with "Well folks, that's all: back to the asylum." He was summoned to Buckingham Palace to give a performance in person.
Gardiner died of a heart attack on 7 July 1980.
- The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927)
- Leave It to Smith (1933)
- The Diplomatic Lover (1934)
- Virginia's Husband (1934)
- A Damsel in Distress (1937)
- Everybody Sing (1938)
- The Doctor Takes a Wife (1940)
- The Great Dictator (1940)
- Sundown (1941)
- My Life with Caroline (1941)
- A Yank in the R.A.F. (1941)
- The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)
- Claudia (1943)
- The Dolly Sisters (1945)
- The Horn Blows at Midnight (1945)
- Molly and Me (1945)
- Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
- I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now (1947)
- That Wonderful Urge (1948)
- Halls of Montezuma (1951)
- Androcles and the Lion (1952)
- Rock-A-Bye Baby (1958)
- What a Way to Go! (1964)
- Do Not Disturb (1965)
- "The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show". tv.com. Retrieved 25 November 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Reginald Gardiner.|
- Reginald Gardiner at the Internet Movie Database
- Reginald Gardiner at the Internet Broadway Database
- Reginald Gardiner at Find a Grave