Ronald Colman - Rotten Tomatoes

Ronald Colman

Highest Rated:   100% The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)
Lowest Rated:   71% A Double Life (1947)
Birthplace:   Not Available
Born to middle-class British parents (his father was an import merchant), actor Ronald Colman was raised to be as much a gentleman as any "high born" Englishman, and strove to maintain that standard both on and off screen all his life. Acting was merely a hobby to Colman while he attended the Hadley School at Littlehampton, Sussex, but after a few years' drudgery as a bookkeeper with the British Steamship Company, the theatre seemed a more alluring (if not more lucrative) life's goal. After a brief service in WWI (during which he was wounded and then discharged), Colman eventually went into acting full-time, making his debut in a tiny role in the play The Maharanee of Arakan (1916). A subsequent better role in a production of Damaged Goods led to Colman's being hired to star in a two-reel film drama, The Live Wire. The film was never released, which is why Colman's "official" debut is often listed as his first feature film The Toilers (1919). The money wasn't good in the British film industry of the period--in fact it was a step away from starvation wages - so Colman arrived in New York City with about $37 to his name, making his American movie debut in Handcuffs or Kisses? (1920). His next film was also his Big Break: The White Sister (1923), directed in Italy by Henry King, in which Colman was co-starred opposite prestigious actress Lillian Gish. The association with King and Gish was Colman's entry into Hollywood, and by 1925 he'd begun his nine-year association with producer Sam Goldwyn. Most of Colman's silent films were lush romantic costume dramas, in which he usually co-starred with the lovely Vilma Banky. This sort of glorious nonsense was rendered anachronistic by the advent of talking pictures, but Goldwyn wisely cast Colman in a sophisticated up-to-date adventure, Bulldog Drummond (1929), for the actor's talkie debut. Colman scored an instant hit with his beautifully modulated voice and his roguishly elegant manner, and was one of the biggest and most popular screen personalities of the 1930s. A falling out with Goldwyn in 1934 prompted Colman to avoid long-term contracts for the rest of his career. As good as his pre-1935 films were, Colman was even more effective as a free-lancer in such films as Tale of Two Cities (1935), Lost Horizon (1937), The Prisoner of Zenda (1937), The Light That Failed (1939) and Talk of the Town (1942). The actor also began a fruitful radio career during this period, first as host of an intellectual celebrity round-robin discussion weekly The Circle in 1939; ten years later, he and his actress wife Benita Hume starred in a witty and well-written sitcom about a college professor and his spouse, The Halls of Ivy, which became a TV series in 1954. Perhaps the most famous of Colman's radio appearance were those he made on The Jack Benny Program as Jack's long-suffering next door neighbor. Colman won an Academy Award for his atypical performance in A Double Life (1947) as an emotionally disturbed actor who becomes so wrapped up in his roles that he commits murder. Curtailing his film activities in the 1950s, Colman planned to write his autobiography, but was prevented from doing so by ill health -- and in part by his reluctance to speak badly of anyone. Colman died shortly after completing his final film role as the Spirit of Man in The Story of Mankind (1957), a laughably wretched extravaganza from which Colman managed to emerge with his dignity and reputation intact.


Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet The Story of Mankind
  • The Spirit of Man
74% Around the World in 80 Days
  • Railway Official
No Score Yet Champagne for Caesar
  • Beauregard Bottomley
No Score Yet The Late George Apley
  • George Apley
71% A Double Life
  • Anthony John
No Score Yet Kismet
  • Hafiz
89% Random Harvest
  • Charles Rainier
93% The Talk of the Town
  • Michael Lightcap
No Score Yet Lucky Partners
  • David Grant
No Score Yet The Light That Failed
  • Dick Heldar
No Score Yet If I Were King
  • Fran├žois Villon
100% The Prisoner of Zenda
  • Rudolph/King Rudolf V
100% Lost Horizon
  • Robert Conway
No Score Yet Under Two Flags
  • Actor
100% A Tale of Two Cities
  • Sydney Carton
No Score Yet The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo
  • Actor
No Score Yet Cynara
  • Jim Warlock
86% Arrowsmith
  • Dr. Martin Arrowsmith
No Score Yet The Unholy Garden
  • Barrington Hunt
No Score Yet The Devil To Pay!
  • Actor
No Score Yet Raffles
  • A.J. Raffles
No Score Yet Condemned
  • Michel
No Score Yet Bulldog Drummond
  • Hugh Drummond
No Score Yet The Rescue
  • Tom Lingard
No Score Yet The Winning of Barbara Worth
  • Willard Holmes
No Score Yet Kiki
  • Victor Renal
No Score Yet Lady Windermere's Fan
  • Lord Darlington
No Score Yet Stella Dallas
  • Stephen Dallas
No Score Yet Her Sister From Paris
  • Joseph Weyringer
No Score Yet Romola
  • Carlo Buccellini
No Score Yet Her Night of Romance
  • Paul Menford
No Score Yet The White Sister
  • Capt. Giovanni Severini
No Score Yet The Toilers
  • Bob

Quotes from Ronald Colman's Characters

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