Image of Cyril Ritchard

Cyril Ritchard

Legendary for his preening, prancing, delightfully playful villain Captain Hook on the award-winning stage (as well as TV) opposite America's musical treasure Mary Martin, beloved musical star Cyril Ritchard had a vast career that would last six decades, but "Peter Pan" would become his prime legacy. Born in Australia just before the turn of the century, he was educated at St. Aloysius College and Sydney University wherein he slyly sidestepped a parental-guided career in medicine for entertainment, participating in numerous college productions that quickly got him "hooked." He began professionally in the chorus line of The Royal Comic Opera Company and quickly progressed to juvenile leads. A subsequent pairing with the already-established theatre actress Madge Elliott in 1918 proved successful, and the musical twosome eventually married in 1935. Together they would go on to become known as "The Musical Lunts" by their acting peers performing in scores of plays and revues together. Ritchard specialized in playing slick, dandified villains in musical comedy and developed a potent reputation of being a man of many talents. Not only directing and staging Broadway's finest, he became a renown performer of various operas and led many productions as such. Shortly before his wife's death of bone cancer in 1955, Ritchard ventured into TV infamy by repeating his Tony and Donaldson award-winning portrayal of Hook in Peter Pan (1955). He continued to earn acclaim and/or honors with such classic stage productions as "Visit to a Small Planet" (Tony-nominated), "The Pleasure of His Company" (Drama League award, Tony-nominated), "The Roar of the Greasepaint...the Smell of the Crowd" (Tony-nominated), "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Sugar," the musical version of the classic Billy Wilder film Some Like It Hot (1959) in which Ritchard played the Joe E. Brown role. Lesser regarded when it comes to film, he performed in the early Hitchcock classic Blackmail (1929) and made his last movie with the musical Half a Sixpence (1967) with Tommy Steele. While performing as the Narrator in a stage production of "Side by Side by Sondheim" in November 1977, Ritchard suffered a heart attack and died one month later. A one-of-a-kind talent, his nefarious, narcissistic humor was a career trademark that culminated in the role of a lifetime -- one that will certainly be enjoyed by children young and old for eons to come.

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Dec 1, 1897 In Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie Piccadilly 1929-02-01
Latest Project:
Movie The Hobbit 1977-11-27
Known For
Poster of Dr. Kildare
Poster of Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Poster of Pontius Pilate
Poster of The Ed Sullivan Show
Movie The Hobbit Elrond 1977-11-27
Movie Tubby the Tuba The Frog 1975-04-30
Movie The First Christmas: The Story of the First Christmas Snow Father Thomas (voice) 1975-12-19
Movie The Enchanted World of Danny Kaye: The Emperor's New Clothes Emperor Klockenlocher 1972-02-21
Movie Hans Brinker Mijnheer Kleef 1969-12-14
Movie Half a Sixpence Harry Chitterlow 1967-12-21
Movie The Lyrics of Alan Jay Lerner Host 1966-02-21
Movie The Daydreamer The Sandman 1966-06-01
Movie The Dangerous Christmas of Red Riding Hood Big Bad Wolf 1965-11-28
Movie Mr. Scrooge Ebenezer Scrooge 1964-01-01
Series The Danny Kaye Show Self 1963-09-25
Series The Merv Griffin Show Self 1962-10-01
Series Dr. Kildare Unknown 1961-09-27
Movie Peter Pan Mr. Darling / Captain Hook 1960-12-08
Movie Cole Porter's Aladdin Sui-Janel (Sorcerer) 1958-02-21
Series Kraft Music Hall Self 1958-10-08
Movie The Christmas Tree Promenade Member 1958-12-14
Series Tony Awards Presenter 1956-04-01
Movie Peter Pan Mr. Darling / Captain Hook 1956-01-09
Series The Steve Allen Show Unknown 1956-06-24
Series The Dinah Shore Chevy Show Unknown 1956-10-05
Movie Peter Pan Mr. Darling / Captain Hook 1955-03-07
Series Alfred Hitchcock Presents Artist (archive footage) (uncredited) 1955-10-02
Movie Dearest Enemy Gen. Howe 1955-11-26
Series Playwrights '56 Unknown 1955-10-04
Series Producers' Showcase Captain Hook 1954-10-18
Movie Pontius Pilate Pontius Pilate 1952-04-07
Series Omnibus Unknown 1952-11-09
Series Hallmark Hall of Fame Unknown 1951-12-24
Series Lux Video Theatre Unknown 1950-10-02
Series The Ed Sullivan Show Unknown 1948-06-20
Series The Philco Television Playhouse Unknown 1948-10-03
Series Studio One Unknown 1948-11-07
Movie Woman Hater Reveller (uncredited) 1948-10-13
Movie I See Ice Paul Martine 1938-02-10
Movie It's a Grand Old World Unknown 1937-01-01
Movie The Show Goes On Jimmy 1937-03-31
Movie Service for Ladies Sir William Carter 1932-06-20
Movie Just for a Song Craddock 1930-12-15
Movie Symphony in Two Flats Leo Chavasse 1930-07-16
Movie Piccadilly Victor Smiles 1929-02-01
Movie Blackmail The Artist 1929-07-28