Wylie Watson

Actor

Personal Info

  • Birth Name: John Wylie Watson
  • Date of Birth: 6¬†February 1889
  • Place Of Birth: ¬†Lanarkshire, Scotland, UK

Biography

Diminutive Scottish character player with trademark neatly-trimmed moustache, upturned at the ends, who began as a juvenile soprano vocalist in the late 1890’s with a family variety act. At one time he performed 15 times daily at a waxworks ! Watson didn’t start in films until 1929, when ‘discovered’ in Hollywood while on an American vacation. His stay in the U.S. was cut short, however, and after one small film role he returned to England to become one of the ‘versatiles’, adept at playing an assortment of archetypal Britishers, often shifty or cunning, sometimes officious, weak or hen-pecked. Without doubt, one of his best roles was that of ‘Mr.Memory’ in Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps (1935), who claimed that he stored fifty new facts in his brain every day. Though a small part, it was acted with pathos and integral to the unfolding of the plot. Watson also gave good value for money as a small-time crook, one of Richard Attenborough’s nasty little razor gang, in Brighton Rock (1947); and as the devious, ever manipulative storekeeper, Joseph Macroon, in Ealing’s Whisky Galore (1949). An adroitness at comedy Watson had already shown way back in the wartime educational short (warning against the dangers of ignoring blackout ordinances), Mr. Proudfoot Shows a Light (1941), where his billiard-playing antics are rudely – and to comic effect – interrupted by a German bomb. Wylie Watson retired from acting in 1952 (except for a small part in Fred Zinnemann’s The Sundowners (1960)) and emigrated to Australia, where he died in May 1966.

Filmography

Trailers & Videos

trailers
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The 39 Steps

Actor

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