Sir Cedric Hardwick served his stage apprenticeship and achieved his first success as an actor in his native England.
Hardwicke never abandoned his British citizenship. He once remarked with a chipper smile:
"England is my wife—America my mistress. It is very good sometimes to get away from one's wife."
His last big stage hit was "A Majority of One," which opened on Broadway in 1958 and ran there and on the road for several years. He played a Japanese widower opposite Gertrude Berg's Jewish widow.
The actor was knighted in 1934 by King George V, who dubbed him "Sir Samuel Pickwick." The king, slight hard of hearing, had misunderstood the actor's name.
From boyhood, the actor had longed to be a circus clown. His ambition was partially realized in 1957 when he rode an elephant in the circus staged by the late Mike Todd in Madison Square Garden to celebrate his movie, "Around the World in 80 Days."
He resumed his acting career after discharge from the British army, winning good reviews for his roles in London in 1925 as Caesar in "Caesar and Cleopatra" and Iago in Othello." He later played Captain Andy in the London presentation of "Showboat."
Hardwicke made his Broadway stage debut in 1926 in Gilbert Miller's Production of "Promise," but it was not until Broadway audiences saw him in 1938 in Paul Vincent Carroll's "Shadow and Substance" that he established himself as a star.
He launched his Hollywood screen career in 1935, appearing first in "Becky Sharp" and then in Les Miserables." He went on to make dozens of movies. Some of the more recent ones were "Richard III," "The Ten Commandments," The Power and the Prize" and "Diane."