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Movies: Veteran Claude Rains Still Going Strong

May 11, 1963 - At 72 years of age, Claude Rains (pictured in 1937), a Tony Award-winning actor who has been nominated 4 times for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, has taken another role to follow his co-starring appearance in “Lawrence of Arabia.” Mr. Rains has been announced for the cast of George Stevens’ “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” an epic retelling of the Biblical account of Jesus of Nazareth, from the Nativity through to the Ascension. He will portray Herod the Great. In “Lawrence,” Mr. Rains was cast as the civilian head of British Intelligence in the Middle East. A veteran of 62 years on stage — he made his theatrical debut at 10 — Rains once vowed to retire at 60. At 60, he advanced his retirement age to 65. Now, at 72, he confesses that he has no intention of ever retiring. In addition to his illustrious acting credits, Mr. Rains has a distinguished military record. At the outbreak of World War I, he returned to England from New York to serve in the London Scottish Regiment alongside fellow actors Basil Rathbone, Ronald Colman, Herbert Marshall, and Cedric Hardwicke. In November 1916, Mr. Rains was involved in a gas attack at Vimy, which resulted in his permanently losing 90 percent of the vision in his right eye as well as suffering vocal cord damage. By the end of the war, he had risen to the rank of captain. The four films for which Mr. Rains was nominated for Best Supporting Actor were “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” “Casablanca,” “Mr. Skeffington,” and “Notorious.”


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