Esmond Knight - Biography - IMDb
Esmond Knight Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (2)  | Trivia (16)

Overview (3)

Born in East Sheen, Surrey, England, UK
Died in London, England, UK  (heart attack)
Birth NameEsmond Penington Knight

Mini Bio (1)

A stage actor from 1925, Esmond made his first film appearance in 77 Park Lane (1931) for Michael Powell for whom he eventually made 11 films.

Esmond served in the Royal Navy during WWII and lost one eye and was almost totally blinded in the other during an engagement against The Bismarck. This didn't stop him later portraying a Royal Naval officer in Sink the Bismarck! (1960).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Crook <>

Family (2)

Spouse Nora Swinburne (4 October 1946 - 23 February 1987)  (his death)
Frances Clare (19 January 1929 - 1946)  (divorced)  (1 child)
Relatives Su Elliot (grandchild)

Trivia (16)

Michael Powell said of his first seeing Esmond, "... a sulky, handsome young man with a mane of black hair and magnetic eyes, almost too romantically handsome to be true. Then one day I saw him giggling with one of the sound engineers and I realised that it was all a pose and he had a sense of humour."
Cousin of Jean Knight.
Nephew of C.W.R. Knight.
Father of Rosalind Knight.
Played the captain of the HMS Prince of Wales in Sink the Bismarck! (1960). Ironically, it was while serving aboard the real Prince of Wales during her fight with the Bismarck that he was injured in an explosion, resulting in the loss of one eye and almost losing the other.
It is often reported that he died in Cairo, Egypt. In fact (as his daughter confirms), he came back from working in Egypt and died the next day in his flat in Chelsea.
Remained close friends with his first wife Frances Clare after their divorce. Frances in fact attended his funeral alongside wife Nora Swinburne.
Suffered from a stuttering problem, which he continually had to overcome with speech exercises, and usually suffered from a huge case of stage fright just before going on.
Father-in-law of Michael Elliott.
Cousin of Phillip Glasier.
Along with John Laurie and Russell Thorndike, he is one of only three actors other than Laurence Olivier himself to appear in all three Shakespearean films that Olivier directed: Henry V (1944), Hamlet (1948) and Richard III (1955).
He appeared in four of the five films that Laurence Olivier directed: Henry V (1944), Hamlet (1948), Richard III (1955) and The Prince and the Showgirl (1957). The only film that Oliver directed in which he did not appear was Three Sisters (1970). The only actor to appear in all five of Olivier's films as director was Olivier himself.
He died five months prior to the release of his final film Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987).
He appeared in four films directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger: A Canterbury Tale (1944), Black Narcissus (1947), The Red Shoes (1948) and Gone to Earth (1950). He also appeared in four films that Powell directed on his own: Someday (1935), Blackout (1940), Peeping Tom (1960) and The Boy Who Turned Yellow (1972).
Appeared in four Best Picture Oscar nominees: Henry V (1944), Hamlet (1948), The Red Shoes (1948) and Anne of the Thousand Days (1969). Hamlet won.

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