Actor/director/producer Robert Atkins enjoyed a long and renowned career on the stage -- for which he was subsequently knighted -- but also made some notable contributions to film and television. Atkins was born in Dulwich, London, England, in 1886, and was a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art early in that institution's history. His theater career began early in the twentieth century, and he was sufficiently established by 1913 to make his screen debut, portraying Marcellus in a film adaptation of Hamlet that starred Johnston Forbes-Robertson. His second film appearance didn't take place until 1935 when he played Dr. Johnson in Peg of Old Drury, a prestigious Herbert Wilcox production starring Anna Neagle and Cedric Hardwicke, and featuring a young Jack Hawkins. He appeared in other Wilcox productions before the war and also starred in and directed a handful of early BBC television productions of the late '30s, during the fledgling medium's early days, including a portrayal of Samuel Johnson, no less. Much of Atkins' career revolved around Shakespeare, on-stage and on-screen, and so it was something of an "in" joke when Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger cast him as the ebullient Vicar ("We're shaping Frank -- we're shaping!"), overseeing a rehearsal of an amateur production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in the fantasy film A Matter of Life and Death (aka, Stairway to Heaven) (1946). During the immediate postwar period, he rejoined the BBC and produced and directed several small-screen adaptations of Shakespeare's plays. He once again portrayed Dr. Johnson in Roy Ward Baker's time travel fantasy The House in the Square (1951), and the following year was part of an Anglo-German cast in a film adaptation of Otto Nicolai's opera The Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by Julian Amyes. But after that, his screen work was confined to television. He made his last small-screen appearance on the series Burden of Proof in 1963. Atkins passed away in 1972. Robert Atkins was married twice: to Mary Sumner, whom he divorced, and to Ethel Davey, a film editor. He died in London, England in 1972.