Wilfrid Lawson

(1900–1966)

Wilfrid Lawson

Anecdote...

Lunching in a pub before a matinee performance, Lawson met fellow-actor Richard Burton and invited him to the show that afternoon. As Lawson was not due to appear at the beginning of the play, he sat with Burton to watch the opening scenes. Some twenty minutes into the performance, however, Burton was a little concerned to find Lawson still sitting beside him, having made no move to leave and prepare for his entrance. A few moments later, Lawson tapped Burton on the arm. “You’ll like this bit,” he whispered excitedly. “This is where I come on.”

Biographical Note: 

Wilfrid Lawson was a British stage actor from the age of 16, Briton Wilfrid Lawson made his film debut in the 1931 comedy East Lynne on the Western Front. Lawson was unforgettable as Alfred P. Doolittle (“I’m one of the undeserving poor...and I means to go on being undeserving”) in Pygmalion (1938), no less impressive in the title role in The Great Mr. Handel (1942), and exquisitely eccentric as Black George Seagrim in Tom Jones (1963). His handful of American films includes John Wayne’s Allegheny Uprising (1939) and The Long Voyage Home (1940). No matter how busy he became in films, Lawson never severed his ties with the theatre; his biggest stage success was the 1954 production The Wooden Dish. In one of his last film appearances as doddering manservant Peacock The Wrong Box (1966), the 66-year-old Wilfrid Lawson looked closer to 90.