John Gielgud

British actor and theatre director

Sir Arthur John Gielgud (14 April 190421 May 2000) was an English actor, director, and producer.

Sir John Gielgud


  • I feel so sorry for those poor men sitting up there all day. They must be so cold.
    • Quoted in Alec Guinness, Journals, February 1988. [Guinness: " John's grasp of public events was always rather tenuous. His heart however, was in the right place. [This remark] - he was pointing to the barrage balloons tethered over London."]
  • I'm sure there isn't an after-life. If there were, Ivor Novello would have got a message to us.

Quotes about Gielgud

  • [As Caliban in a production of Shakespeare's The Tempest Ralph Richardson was having difficulties in rehearsal] I couldn't find my feet very well and after a rehearsal, John said to me one day "Would you care to run over your scene with me?" so I thought to myself "Not much". So rather grudgingly I said "Oh yes, all right". So we ran through it, just the two of us in the theatre with the director and Johnny said "Well you know Ralph, I think that when you come on, you might do this or you might do that, you might do this" - he gave me, as he usually does, about three or four suggestions. I thought to myself My god, so I might, I might do one of those. And he talked about Sycorax my mother...he gave me about two hundred ideas as he usually does, twenty-five of which I eagerly seized on, and when I went away I thought "This chap, you know, I don't like him very much but by God he knows something about this here play." He helped me so much that I looked at him afterwards in quite a different way. And then out of that we formed a friendship."
  • John Gielgud didn't play Hamlet, he was Hamlet.
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