Harcourt Collett

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(b. Edmonton, Middlesex, 13/05/1884 – d. Johannesburg, **/**/1953). British-born actor and broadcaster. Charles Harcourt Collett was born in England, but by 1909 he was in South Africa, acting with Katherine Pole at the Standard Theatre in Johannesburg for a thirteen weeks’ season, which included such plays as A Doll’s House, Lady Frederick and Arms and the Man. In 1918 he acted in Joseph Albrecht’s film The Voice of the Waters and later that year he appeared in the play Good Gracious, Annabelle, which also featured Hilda Attenboro, who had acted with him in The Voice of the Waters, as well as Marie Tempest and Dick Cruikshanks. This was followed by a role in another Albrecht film, With Edged Tools (1919), based on the novel by H. Seton Merriman, as well as one in the play Palace, Bedroom and Bath at His Majesty's Theatre, which also featured Edith Cartwright, Cecil Kellaway, Elise Hamilton, Hilda Attenboro and Florence Roberts.

Afterwards he returned to England, acting in such plays as The School for Scandal and The Rising Sun, both with Frank Cellier and Angela Baddeley. However, in 1933 he was back in Johannesburg, where he joined the South African Broadcasting Corporation, first as radio announcer and later as producer. His early successes included the popular thriller The Mystery of Harlow Manner (1933) and the title role in the serial The Scarlet Pimpernel. He was also the announcer on duty on duty on 3 September 1939, to whom it fell to announce to the nation that a state of war existed between Great Britain and Germany and, subsequently, that South Africa had joined the conflict on the side of the Allies. In 1950 he is known to have appeared as Lord Melbourne in the radio play Victoria Regina and as the Duke of York in Richard II. When he died in 1953 he was survived by his wife, Therese Caroline Collett (née Levy).


The Outspan, 25 August 1944



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