Edmund Gwenn was an English theatre and film actor.
Born Edmund Kellaway in Wandsworth, London, and educated at St. Olave’s School and later at King’s College London, Gwenn began his acting career in theatre in 1895. Playwright George Bernard Shaw was impressed with his acting, and cast him in the first production of Man and Superman, and subsequently in five more of his plays. Gwenn’s career was interrupted by his military service during World War I; however, after the war ended, he started appearing in films in London.
Gwenn appeared in more than eighty films during his career, including the 1940 version of Pride and Prejudice, Cheers for Miss Bishop, Of Human Bondage, and The Keys of the Kingdom. He is perhaps best remembered for his role as Kris Kringle in Miracle on 34th Street, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Upon receiving his Oscar, he said “Now I know there is a Santa Claus!” He received a second nomination for his role in Mister 880. Near the end of his career he played one of the main roles in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Trouble with Harry. He has a small but hugely memorable role as a Cockney assassin in another Hitchcock film, Foreign Correspondent
In theater, he starred in a 1942 production on Broadway of Chekov’s Three Sisters, which also starred Judith Anderson and Ruth Gordon. It was produced by and starred Katherine Cornell. Time magazine proclaimed it “a dream production by anybody’s reckoning ? the most glittering cast the theater has seen, commercially, in this generation.”