Ernest Thesiger (1879-1961)
Renowned character actor famed for his role in The Bride of Frankenstein.
The actor Ernest Thesiger lies in a large family plot near the cemetery catacombs. His grandfather, the politician Lord Frederic Thesiger, first Baron Chelmsford, bought the plot. Ernest’s mother and father are also buried here.
Ernest was born in Chelsea, and attended exclusive Marlborough College in Wiltshire and the Slade School of Art in London. He planned to be a painter but changed to studying drama, and played his first professional role in 1909. He volunteered as a rifleman when the First World War broke out, and was wounded in the trenches on the Western Front.
He was invalided out of the army, but was soon back on the stage. He played the comic hero in the farce A Little Bit of Fluff in 1915, appearing in over 1,200 performances. The following year, he made his film debut. Ernest went on to star in around 60 films, and took his final film role in 1961 when he was 82 years old. He is best remembered as the sinister Dr Pretorius in the science fiction horror The Bride of Frankenstein in 1935.
Perhaps surprisingly for an actor renowned for playing some dark and ghoulish characters, Ernest was also an expert embroiderer! He wrote Adventures in Embroidery in 1941, and could often be found at Buckingham Palace, quietly embroidering alongside Queen Mary.