|Nigel Bruce Quick Info|
|Date of Birth||February 4, 1895|
|Date of Death||October 8, 1953|
Nigel Bruce was a British actor who found acclaim as a character actor in such roles as Major Giles Lacy in Rebecca (1940), Gordon Cochrane ‘Beaky’ Thwaite in Suspicion (1941), Postant in Limelight (1952), Duke of Rudling in Lassie Come Home (1943), Joseph Sedley in Becky Sharp (1935), Dr. Angus McLean in Bwana Devil (1952), Lord Albert Esketh in The Rains Came (1939), etc. However, his most prominent role was playing Dr. John H. Watson in 14 movies from the Sherlock Holmes film series (1939-1946) alongside Basil Rathbone as the titular character.
William Nigel Ernle Bruce
He was born on February 4, 1895.
Nigel passed away on October 8, 1953, at the age of 58 years in California from a heart attack.
Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico
Bruce studied at The Grange School located in Stevenage and, from 1908 to 1912, at the Abingdon School located in Abingdon-on-Thames.
- Father – Sir William Waller Bruce (10th Baronet of Stenhouse)
- Mother – Angelica Lady Bruce
- Siblings – Sir Michael Bruce (Older Brother) (11th Baronet of Stenhouse, Author, Adventurer)
- Others – Christopher Plummer (Second Cousin Brother)
6 ft or 183 cm
88 kg or 194 lbs
Girlfriend / Spouse
Nigel Bruce had dated –
- Violet Pauline Shelton (1921-1953) – He was happily married to the British actress Violet Pauline Shelton a.k.a. Violet Campbell from May 21, 1921, until his death on October 8, 1953. The couple was blessed with 2 daughters named Jennifer Bruce and Pauline Bruce.
Race / Ethnicity
He was of Scottish descent.
- Frequently played buffoonish, upper-class English gentlemen
- He was addicted to pipe smoking, both on and off-screen.
- Played the role of Dr. John Watson along with Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes
Nigel Bruce Facts
- He was gravely wounded while fighting in the British army during World War I and suffered permanent damage to his legs as a result.
- In the Sherlock Holmes film series, his character Dr. Watson was seemingly older than Basil Rathbone‘s Sherlock Holmes. In reality, however, he was around 3 years younger than Rathbone. Moreover, both the actors shared a great friendship off-screen as well with Rathbone calling Bruce with the nicknames ‘Bunny’ and ‘Willy’.
- Interestingly, his cousin Christopher Plummer ended up playing Sherlock Holmes in the 1979 thriller, Murder by Decree opposite James Mason‘s Watson.
- During his lifetime, Bruce was working on his autobiography titled Games, Gossip and Greasepaint. However, it never got published as he died before completing the book. Nevertheless, several extracts from his autobiography were published in The Sherlock Holmes Journal.
- He had the good opportunity of appearing in 3 groundbreaking films during his long career. His film Becky Sharp (1935) was the first feature film released in full Technicolor, Bwana Devil (1952) became the first 3-D feature film ever released, and The Rains Came (1939) won the first Academy Award in the ‘Best Special Effects’ category.
Featured Image by Trailer Screenshot / Wikimedia / Public Domain