Happy Birthday: Hume Cronyn (1911-2003)

Hume Cronyn is a name which might not be as familiar to contemporary viewers. In fact, it was in an Alfred Hitchcock film class where I initially discovered the work of the talented actor.

Much of his career is now defined by his more than 50 year marriage to acting legend and theater grand dame Jessica Tandy. The two married in 1942. Despite the stresses of often working together, they remained together until her death in 1994.

Cronyn hit the ground running on-screen, making his screen debut in Hitchcock’s 1943 classic Shadow of a Doubt. The next year he co-starred in the under-remembered movie Lifeboat (also from the Master of Suspense).

These early movies read like a greatest hits of character roles for Cronyn, who showed strength and versatility in parts which would be thankless in the hands of lesser actors.

Meanwhile, Cronyn made gigantic imprint working on stage. Over his more than fifty year career the actor received 6 Tony nominations. He received his one win in 1964 as Best Featured actor for his role in Richard Burton’s Hamlet. Cronyn featured as Polonius opposite the iconic Richard Burton in the title role.

Cronyn continued working steadily until very late in life. His screen credits continue until the 2000’s, with his final credited role coming in 2004.

Cronyn passed away in 2003 at the age of 91.



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