Cyril Smith (actor)
4 April 1892|
Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
|Died||5 March 1963
|Years active||1900 – 1962|
Cyril Edward Bruce-Smith (4 April 1892 – 5 March 1963) was a Scottish actor who began his career as a child in 1900 and went on to appear in over 100 films between 1914 and his death almost 50 years later. The son of Frederick and Elsa Smith; his mother travelled with him on his engagements during his boyhood.
Smith first became known as a child stage actor in 1900, and by the age of 13 in 1905, he travelled to New York to appear as Cosmo in a production of the J. M. Barrie play Alice-Sit-By-The Fire, opposite Ethel Barrymore; at the time, the New York Times hailed him as "one of the best-known child actors in England". Smith's film career began in 1914 in the Wilfred Noy-directed Old St. Paul's and he appeared in almost 20 other silent films of the 1910s and 1920s before making the transition to sound. From the early 1930s until his death, he featured in dozens of films ranging from the quota quickies of the 1930s and the B-movies of the 1940s and 1950s, through to more prestigious productions starring names such as Vivien Leigh, Trevor Howard, and Deborah Kerr. Smith was not a name-billed film actor, and many of his roles were uncredited bit parts or minor roles with generic titles such as "Publican", "Reporter", or "Bailiff"; however towards the end of his life he achieved several more prominent billings after finding a late-career niche portraying scatty and doddery elderly men. For instance, in 1956, he had a leading role in the Peggy Mount comedy, Sailor Beware!. Smith also moved into television, starring as Merlin in the 1956 ITV series The Adventures of Sir Lancelot which was also a success in the U.S. and as Harold Wormold in the first series of the BBC sitcom Hugh and I in 1962.
Smith suffered a heart attack in December 1962 and died on 5 March 1963, aged 70.