Best Sherlock Holmes Actor

Earl Hamilton
• Wednesday, 23 December, 2020
• 8 min read

Basil Rathbone was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1892, but three years later his family was forced to flee the country because his father was accused by the Boers of being a British spy at a time when Dutch-British conflicts were leading to the Boer War. He and his older brother David were raised first in Ulrich Village, a south London suburb, and then later back in Surrey.

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The refined and debonair English actor Jeremy Brett will forever be best remembered for his long-running and critically acclaimed portrayal of Sherlock Holmes for Britain's Granada Television. From a privileged background, Brett was educated at England's most prestigious independent school, Eton ...

He is the only child of Isabella Mary (Abbott), a secretary to the Dean of Sciences at McGill University, and John Orem Plummer, who sold securities and stocks. When he was in his early sixties, Terry Gilliam cast him in the title role of The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen (1988).

Although the film was a financial failure, his starring role in this major production, as well as his fine performance, led to an explosion in his career. Jonny (sometimes credited as Johnny) Lee Miller was born on November 15, 1972, in Kingston, England, UK.

Of royal stock, he is of primarily English, Scottish, and Irish ancestry with a dash of German and ... With an amazing list of credits to his name, he has managed to stay new and fresh even after over four decades in the business.

British actor Edward Woodward made a highly successful transition into Hollywood TV stardom in the mid 1980s thanks to a popular dramatic series. Possessing a magnetic, yet coldly handsome demeanor in the same mold as Christopher Plummer, he was born Edward Albert Arthur Woodward on June 1, 1930, ...

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Richard Rexburg was born on January 23, 1962, in Albury, New South Wales, Australia. The keen, worn, kindly face and quiet prescient smile are out of the very pages of the book”, Vincent Starrett's 'The Private Life of Sherlock ...

But, after his departure from Britain's National Theater in 1970 and the breakup of his marriage with Maggie Smith three years later, he suffered a slump made worse by heavy ... Born August 5th, 1887 in England, Reginald Owen was among Hollywood's busier character actors, making more than 80 films.

The great Captain On Trap played the famous Baker Street detective in two films in the 1970s, Silver Blaze in 1977 and Murder by Decree in 1979. If you've ever wondered what the detective may have looked like if he cared about his victims, if he has the ability to cry, that's what Plummer offered audiences.

Appearing on the small screen eight separate times, the Russian is also the only actor to ever take on the role of detective and become an honorary member of the British Empire for his work. Some of the best portrayals of Sherlock Holmes have come from the small screen in recent years, and it started with the classical composure of Douglas Wilmer.

Kingsley hires Michael Cane to portray his alter-ego, Holmes, to the public, so he can continue his own work as a detective incognito. The duo is eventually asked to work on a real case by Scotland Yard, and Kingsley's Watson is in for a bit more than he bargained for.

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Though most children probably don't recognize it at the time, The Great Mouse Detective is often the first introduction a youngster gets to the world of Sherlock Holmes, so we would be remiss not to add Basil (voiced by British actor Barrie Stanton) to our list. He portrayed the Baker street detective in sixteen episodes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes on the BBC.

Arrogant and impulsive in each of his outings as the detective, it's no wonder he spent his career coming back to the character. Douglas Wilmer originated Sherlock Holmes on the small screen, but it was Basil Rathbone who created the classic characters' on-screen look, deerstalker included.

By introducing the deerstalker to the visual recognition of the character Rathbone did more to create the popular image of Sherlock than anyone than perhaps Conan Doyle himself. Brett is known for the extensive research he did to back up his portrayal, even inventing an off-screen life for his character to fill in gaps between episodes.

Brett suffered from depression and bipolar disorder in real life, but critics believe his personal experiences only added to the depth of character he was able to bring to viewers. Despite other “modern-day” versions attempts on different networks (looking at you Elementary), Cumberbatch's portrayal is the one that wormed its way into the hearts of viewers and created its own fandom.

His sidekick, Dr. Watson, blogs about their adventures rather than handwriting them, but all the general points adored by readers over the years make their way back into the story, and how it's told, in some way (though updated for new technology). Cumberbatch tops the list for understanding the character's history, embracing it, and updating it, and making the audience believe despite the changes.

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She's a YA connoisseur, Star Wars enthusiast, Harry Potter fanatic, Mets devotee, and trivia aficionado. Calm and observant, Cavils’s Holmes is a socially awkward detective who has already acquired national fame in England with several high-publicity cases.

He wants to help out people, like his own sister, but as Nola points out herself, Sherlock’s fascination with everyone is as if they’re a case first and then a human. For a literature aficionado, the Iron Man star’s portrayal of Sherlock Holmes might be the least accurate, but it’s still an unconventional take on the character.

At the same time, his skills of deduction are pretty much swift and on-point, shown in a manner reminiscent to Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock. Some classic character quirks, like talking fast and wearing disguises, are also highlighted in Robert Downey Jr’s performance.

It’s easy for viewers to find him frantically jumping to conclusions or brashly putting down others when they offer a solution that’s not as ‘smart’ as his own. The shows, along with his performance, are widely regarded as the most accurate adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s original novels and short stories.

The film might not have aged well, but Plummer pulls off a decent Holmes, expressing the detective’s confidence, as well as frustration. Another British acting veteran, Michael Caine’s Sherlock Holmes might be the funniest and a polar opposite when compared to other portrayals of the great detective.

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Michael Caine plays a drunk, third-rate actor, who pretends to be Sherlock Holmes at the behest of Dr. Watson (Ben Kingsley), the real crime-solving genius who merely created Holmes as a fictional alter ego. One of the earliest actors to don the robes of the detective, Basil Rathbone acted in 14 films, as well as radio plays.

In fact, the illustrations for Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories didn’t feature the iconic deerstalker hat that prominently. Paired with Lucy Liu as Joan Watson, the procedural drama finds Holmes as a recovering drug addict who assists the New York Police Department with his unique set of unconventional detective skills.

This version of Sherlock is quite troubled and not always the godly genius he tries to be, and Lucy Liu’s Watson, too, isn’t always shown to be a bumbling protégé, resulting in a more humanized portrayal. Basil lives in Baker Street with Dr. David O Dawson, as he solves the disappearance of a toy-maker, regularly quoting typical Sherlock Holmes lines like, ‘It’s elementary’ and ‘The game’s afoot.’ He might be a mouse, but he’s willing to take on colossal challenges that get him closer to the truth.

Take the case of the Russian actor Vasily Ivanov, who channels Holmes perfectly with his uptight demeanor and body language. This Guinness World Records title reflects his enduring appeal and demonstrates that his detective talents are as compelling today as they were 125 years ago.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself admired Norwood’s portrayal, saying: “His wonderful impersonation of Holmes has amazed me.” It may seem ridiculous to us today, but in 1923, moving pictures, even without sound, were still a novelty for most people.

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We’ve moved forward into the era of “talkies”, or “talking pictures”, and it’s easy to see how much more watchable this movie is than the 1923 version. In the United States, “talkies” helped secure Hollywood’s position as one of the world’s most powerful cultural/commercial centers of influence.

In Europe, they were viewed with some suspicion, where critics feared that a focus on dialogue would subvert the unique aesthetic virtues of soundless cinema. The New York Times wrote of Winner in Leslie S. Scott’s 1935 film “The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes ”, “a mellow, evenly paced British film that renders to Holmes what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would have rendered to him: Interest, respect.

And affection … Mr. Winner decorates a calabash pipe with commendable skill, contributing a splendid portrait of fiction’s first detective.” His expert fencing skills earned him a reputation as the greatest swordsman in Hollywood history.

Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes played alongside long-time fellow Hammer Films actor Sir Christopher Lee in a highly acclaimed production of Hound of the Baskerville. But Peter Cushing’s Holmes received mixed reviews, with Films and Filming calling him an “impish, waspish, Waldensian Holmes ”, whereas The New York Herald Tribune stated, “Peter Cushing is a forceful and eager Sherlock Holmes ”.

Inheriting the mantle from the great Basil Rathbone was a tall order indeed, but Jeremy Brett pulls it off with a long-running TV series in the 80s and again in the 90s. Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking is a British television film originally broadcast on BBC One in the UK on 26 December 2004 and PBS’s Masterpiece Theater in 2005.

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Holmes used cocaine, which he injected in a seven-percent solution with a syringe and also dabbled in morphine, both of which were legal in late-19th-century England. This adaptation with music from Johnny Cash highlights Home’s drug use in the movie.

I did feel that this peculiar tale was intended to tickle American tootsies Nancy Banks-Smith for The Guardian Brian Lowry of Variety wrote, “The Case of the Silk Stocking is a rather wan addition to the Holmes filmography, yet respectable enough in showcasing the character’s cerebral charms.

Several other actors have played Sherlock Holmes to varying degrees of success, including Roger Moore, John Cheese, Tom Baker (of Dr Who fame), Christopher Lee, Peter Cook, Ian Richardson (House of Cards).

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