Harry Welchman

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A popular English actor of the early half of the twentieth century, known for his soothing voice.
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b. 24 February 1886, Barnstable, Devon, England, d. 3 January 1966, Penzance, Cornwall, England. Welchman’s early stage career included appearing in The Arcadians (1909), music by Lionel Monckton and Howard Talbot , lyrics by Arthur Wimperis, which ran for 809 performances. Welchman, who had a pleasing baritone voice, sang ‘The Only Girl Alive’, ‘Love Will Win’ and, with Phyllis Dare , ‘Half Past Two’. He was in The Mousmé (1911), a play by Robert Courtneidge and Alexander M. Thompson with the same musical team plus lyricist Percy Greenbank , Oh! Oh! Delphine and The Pearl Girl (both 1913), The Cinema Star (1914), and Afgar (1919). In London in the 20s he was actor-manager for Love’s Prisoner at the Adelphi Theatre and he appeared on Broadway in Princess Flavia, based upon Anthony Hope’s novel, The Prisoner Of Zenda, with music by Sigmund Romberg and lyrics by Harry B. Smith . This show opened on 2 November 1925 at the Century Theatre, where it ran for 152 performances. Welchman also appeared in the 1927 London production of Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II ’s The Desert Song. In a very early example of an original cast being recorded, Welchman sang ‘The Riff Song’ and, in a duet with co-star Edith Day , ‘The Desert Song’. Welchman was also in a 1936 UK touring version of Peter Pan with Nova Pilbeam.

Welchman also appeared in silent films such as The Verdict Of The Heart and Mr. Lyndon At Liberty (both 1915), and The House On The Marsh (1920). He then played in several talkies through the 30s, some of them musicals: The Maid Of The Mountains (1932), A Southern Maid (1933, with Lupino Lane and Bebe Daniels ), and The Last Waltz (1936). He remained active in films through the 40s and into the mid-50s, including The Common Touch (1941, which had musical moments from organist Sandy Macpherson and pianist/bandleader Carroll Gibbons ), This Was Paris (1942, with Ben Lyon and Ann Dvorak), The Gentle Sex and The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp (both 1943), The Lisbon Story (1946), Judgement Deferred (1952), and Three Cases Of Murder (1955).