Sir Cedric Webster Hardwicke was a noted English actor.
Hardwicke was born in Lye, West Midlands, the son of Dr. Edwin Webster Hardwicke by his spouse Jessie. He attended Bridgnorth Grammar School in Shropshire and then trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He made his first appearance on stage at London's Lyceum Theatre in 1912 during the run of Frederick Melville's melodrama The Monk and the Woman, when he took up the part of Brother John. During that year he was at Her Majesty's Theatre understudying, and subsequently appeared at the Garrick Theatre in Charles Klein's play Find the Woman, and Trust the People. In 1913 he joined Benson's Company and toured in the provinces, South Africa, and Rhodesia. During 1914 he toured with Miss Darragh in Laurence Irving's play The Unwritten Law, and he appeared at the Old Vic in 1914 as Malcolm in Macbeth, Tranio in The Taming of the Shrew, gravedigger in Hamlet, etc.
From 1914 to 1921 he served with the British Army in France. In January 1922 he joined the Birmingham Repertory Company. He played many classical roles on stage, appearing at London's top theatres, making his name on the stage performing works by George Bernard Shaw, who said that Hardwicke was his fifth favourite actor after the four Marx Brothers. As one of the leading Shavian actors of his generation, Hardwicke starred in such Shavian works as Caesar and Cleopatra, Pygmalion, The Apple Cart, Candida, Too True to Be Good, and Don Juan in Hell, making such an impression that at age 41 he became one of the youngest actors to be knighted. Other stage successes included The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse, Antigone and A Majority of One, winning a Tony Award nomination for his performance as a Japanese diplomat. In 1928 he married English actress Helena Pickard.
His first appearance in an English film was in 1931. In December 1935, Cedric Hardwicke was elected Rede Lecturer to Cambridge University for 1936. In 1939 Hardwicke was in Hollywood for film work there. He played Dr. David Livingstone opposite Spencer Tracy's Henry Morton Stanley in the 1939 film Stanley and Livingstone and was also memorable that year as Frollo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, with Charles Laughton as Quasimodo. He also starred in The Ghost of Frankenstein. He continued his stage career touring and in New York.