Wilfrid Hyde-White

Wilfrid Hyde-White

Hyde-White in Ada (1961)
Born Wilfrid Hyde White
12 May 1903
Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, England, UK
Died 6 May 1991(1991-05-06) (aged 87)
Woodland Hills, California, U.S.
Resting place Water Cemetery, Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, England, UK
Occupation actor, singer
Years active 193483
Spouse(s) Blanche Glynne (1927–1946; her death); 1 child
Ethel Drew (1957–1991; his death); 2 children

Wilfrid Hyde-White (12 May 1903 – 6 May 1991) was an English character actor of stage, film and television, who achieved international recognition in his later years as Colonel Pickering in the 1964 film My Fair Lady.

Early life and career

Wilfrid Hyde-White was born in Bourton-on-the-Water in Gloucestershire, England in 1903 to the Rev. William Edward White, canon of Gloucester Cathedral, and his wife, Ethel Adelaide (née Drought). He attended Marlborough College and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

He made his debut in Tons of Money on the Isle of Wight in 1922. He then gained steady work on the stage in a series of comedies produced at the Aldwych Theatre in London. He joined a tour of South Africa in 1932 before making his film debut in 1934 (in Josser on the Farm, credited as "Wilfrid Hyde White"; he later added the hyphen). He appeared in the George Formby comedy, Turned Out Nice Again (1941). Following a memorable supporting role in The Third Man (1949), he became a fixture in British films of the 1950s. Two-Way Stretch displays the more roguish side to some of the characters he played in this period. Between 1962 and 1965, he also starred in the BBC radio comedy The Men from the Ministry.

Later career

He continued to act on the stage, and played opposite Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh in Caesar and Cleopatra and Antony and Cleopatra in 1951. He also appeared on Broadway and was nominated for two Tony Awards as best actor. In the 1970s and 1980s, he was featured on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, the Battlestar Galactica pilot episode "Saga of a Star World" and The Associates. His television films and guest appearances kept him busy from the late 1960s to the early 1980s.

He appeared in two episodes of the mystery series Columbo, starring Peter Falk as the rumpled detective. Although the first, "Dagger of the Mind" (1972), was set in Britain and concerned Columbo paying a visit to Scotland Yard, Hyde-White's ongoing UK tax problems meant that, unlike American actors Falk and Richard Basehart, and British actors appearing in the episode, Honor Blackman, Bernard Fox, John Fraser and Arthur Malet, he was unable to take part in location filming in the UK. His scenes as a butler were therefore filmed in California.[1] His second appearance on Columbo was in the episode "Last Salute to the Commodore" (1976).

He was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1976 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews.

Personal life

On 17 December 1927, he married Blanche Hope Aitken, a Glamorganshire-born actress known professionally as Blanche Glynne (1893–1946),[2] who was a decade his senior. The couple had one son. His first wife died in 1946,[3] and he remarried in 1957 to actress Ethel Drew. He and Drew remained married until his death in 1991. The couple had two children, including actor Alex Hyde-White.

Hyde-White died in 1991 at the Motion Picture Country Home in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, from natural causes, six days before his 88th birthday. He was interred in his native Bourton-on-the-Water.[4]

Partial filmography

Television appearances


  1. IMDb profile
  2. 1893 year of birth per census records for Blanche Hope Aitken, Hyde-White's first wife
  3. Blanche White (professional name Blanche Glynne) died in England, aged 53, in 1946, not 1948, as per England and Wales death records at findmypast.co.uk website: Registration District: Chard, County: Somerset, Year of Registration: 1946, Quarter of Registration: Apr-May-Jun, Age at death: 53, Volume No: 5C, Page No: 340
  4. Wilfrid Hyde-White at Find a Grave
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