Leslie Howard

Leslie Howard (April 3, 1893 - 1943) was a British film actor of Hungarian descent. Born Leslie Howard Steiner in London, Howard's classic good looks won him his first screen role in a 1914 silent film, following which he served in World War I, his military career being cut short by injury.


Davis and Howard in Maugham's
Of Human Bondage (1934)
Howard proceeded to play stiff-upper-lipped Englishmen in films such as Berkeley Square (1933, for which he was nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award), The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934), Pygmalion (1938) (in which he played Professor Higgins, and earned another Oscar nomination), and Pimpernel Smith (1941).

This image helped win him the role of Ashley Wilkes in Gone With the Wind (1939), but he was uncomfortable with Hollywood and returned to Britain to help with the war effort. In 1943, he visited Lisbon (some say on a secret mission), and, on the return flight, his plane was shot down by enemy forces, possibly because the Germans believed the prime minister, Winston Churchill, to be on board.


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