Dennis Hoey

Dennis Hoey

Dennis Hoey as Inspector Lestrade
Born Samuel David Hyams
(1893-03-30)30 March 1893
London, England, UK
Died 25 July 1960(1960-07-25) (aged 67)
Palm Beach, Florida, U.S.
Cause of death Kidney disease
Resting place Myrtle Hill Memorial Park, Tampa, Florida
Occupation Actor
Years active 1924–52
Spouse(s) Josephine Hoey (1933–46) (divorced) 1 son

Dennis Hoey (born Samuel David Hyams, 30 March 1893 – 25 July 1960) was a British film and stage actor, best known for playing Inspector Lestrade in six films of Universal's Sherlock Holmes series.

Personal life

Hoey was born Samuel David Hyams in London to Russian parents (another source says Irish and Russian parents.)[1] who owned a bed and breakfast in Brighton. He was educated at Brighton College, and he originally planned to be a teacher.[2]

He served in the British Army during World War I. After a career as a singer, which included entertaining British troops during his war service, Hoey moved to acting on the stage in 1918 and later to films. In 1931, he moved to the United States and began appearing in Hollywood films.


Hoey's first film was Tell England.[1] He is best known for playing Inspector Lestrade in six Universal's Sherlock Holmes series. He also portrayed the master of Harrow in The Foxes of Harrow and appeared in Tarzan and the Leopard Woman.


Hoey "appeared frequently in London" stage productions, including those of Sydney Carroll's Shakespearean repertory company.[3] He played Mr. Rochester opposite Katharine Hepburn in the American production of Helen Jerome's stage adaptation of Jane Eyre.[4] He also wrote a play called The Haven and toured in it in 1946 with Melville Cooper, Valerie Cossart and Viola Roache.

Hoey's Broadway credits include Hassan (1924), Katja (1926-1927), Green Waters (1936), Virginia (1937), Empress of Destiny (1938), The Circle (1938), Lorelei (1938), The Burning Deck (1940), Heart of a City (1942), The Haven (1946), and Getting Married (1951).[5]


On radio, Hoey played Mr. Welby in Pretty Kitty Kelly on CBS.[6]

Personal life

Issue No. 45 of "Films of the Golden Age" magazine features an interview with Hoey's son Michael A. Hoey (1934-2014), who extensively discusses Dennis Hoey's early life, career, marriages and death. In his book, "Elvis, Sherlock and Me: How I Survived Growing Up in Hollywood" (Bear Manor Media-2007) he discusses his father's career and their sometimes turbulent relationship.




  1. 1 2 "Actor for "Uncivilised."". Australia, Melbourne, Victoria. The Age. November 26, 1935. p. 12. Retrieved January 31, 2016 via
  2. "Career Thrown in Reverse". New York, Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. March 6, 1938. p. 39. Retrieved January 31, 2016 via
  3. "Stage Entrants". New York, Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. December 8, 1936. p. 9. Retrieved January 31, 2016 via
  4. Mann, William J. Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn. (2007) Macmillan. p. 257.
  5. "Dennis Hoey". Playbill Vault. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  6. "Monday's Highlights" (PDF). Radio and Television Mirror. 13 (4): 43. February 1940. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
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