Seymour Hicks

Pleasant British singer with charming stage presence, popular on stage and screen in the early twentieth century.
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Artist Biography

b. Edward Seymour Hicks, 30 January 1871, St. Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands, d. 6 April 1949, Fleet, Hampshire, England. A pleasing singer with a charming stage presence, Hicks was in the English provincial theatre from the age of 16. He appeared in New York before playing in London where he was spotted by George Edwardes, who made him the juvenile lead opposite Ada Reeve in The Shop Girl (1894). Here, he sang Felix McGlennon’s ‘Her Golden Hair Was Hanging Down Her Back’. During the show’s run, Hicks’ wife, Ellaline Terriss, took over from Reeve and soon they were one of the theatre’s most admired couples. Together, they appeared in West End productions of the musical comedies The Circus Girl (1896), A Runaway Girl (1898), Bluebell In Fairyland (1901), The Cherry Girl, The Earl And The Girl (both 1903), The Catch Of The Season (1904), The Talk Of The Town (1905), The Beauty Of Bath (1906), The Gay Gordons, My Darling (both 1907), The Dashing Little Duke (1909), and Captain Kidd (1910). Several of these shows were produced by Charles Frohman and all were successful. Now, however, Hicks and Terriss decided to concentrate on non-musicals, but still sang on tours of British music halls, although they did try one more musical comedy, the unsuccessful Cash On Delivery (1917).

Meanwhile, Hicks had begun making silent films, among them playing title roles in Scrooge (1913), for which he also wrote the screenplay, and David Garrick (1913). He and Alfred Hitchcock assisted in the direction of Always Tell Your Wife (1923) when the director fell ill. In the early 30s, Hicks returned to the screen, adapting readily to talkies and in addition to acting also directing and writing screenplays. Films in which he took part in all three capacities include Sleeping Partners (1930) and Glamour (1931); as actor and screenwriter he worked on The Love Habit (1931), Money For Nothing (1932), Vintage Wine and Scrooge (both 1935). In 1935 he was knighted and appeared in that year’s Royal Cavalcade. In the late 30s and through the 40s, he made films in different veins: light-hearted The Lambeth Walk (1940), wartime drama Pastor Hall (1940), political drama Fame Is The Spur (1946), and Silent Dust (1948), a melodrama based upon Roland and Michael Pertwee’s stage play. Hicks died not long after the release of this last film.