Reginald Owen (Who’s Who at MGM, 1937) 🇺🇸

January 09, 2022

The theater originally was more an adventure than a profession to Reginald Owen, but now it is both.

Born in Wheathampstead, England, on August 5, Owen attended the City of London School, then enrolled in the London Academy of Dramatic Art, primarily because the calling promised a life of colorful associations and extensive travel.

The promise was fulfilled. He spent a year on the London stage in a variety of character roles, then crossed the Channel to Paris. He was there in 1914. The great adventure literally overtook him and Owen enlisted with the Royal Garrison Artillery, in which he served for three years as a lieutenant. After two more years in Brussels, he came to the United States.

“Letter” First Picture

There was an interval of Broadway experience, but it was inevitable that the tall young Englishman would attract the watchful executives of Hollywood. He made his screen debut in “The Letter” and was an immediate success.

Since that memorable picture Owen has appeared in many others, always in an important role. Among them were “The Woman Commands,” Platinum Blonde, “Courage,” “A Study in Scarlet,” “Robbers’ Roost,” “The Big Brain,” “Double Harness,” “Voltaire,” “Queen Christina,” “The Narrow Corner,” “Of Human Bondage,” “Madame Du Barry,” “The Good Fairy,” “The Bishop Misbehaves,” “Call of the Wild,” Anna Karenina, “Escapade,” A Tale of Two Cities and more recently, under contract to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, in Rose MarieThe Great Ziegfeld, “Love on the Run,” “Dangerous Number,” Personal Property, “Conquest,” Rosalie, and others.

Loves to Travel

Owen is an habitual globe-trotter. He is a little more than six feet in height and weighs 170 pounds, a large man, but extraordinarily light on his feet. He plays a fast game of tennis, excels at his native game of cricket, is not ashamed of his golf and is an expert swimmer.

For relaxation from any activity at all. Owen prefers to fish and is not disappointed with a poor catch. He reads biographies in preference to fiction and spends considerable time writing plays and articles.

An enthusiastic admirer of Greta Garbo, whom he met for the first time in “Anna Karenina,” Owen has seen every picture the glamorous star ever made, in most cases three or four times. He owns cats and dogs, writes plays as a hobby, thinks “Hamlet” the greatest play ever written and David Copperfield the best picture ever produced -and would like to spend every spring in the forests of rural New England.

Owen was married in 1934 to Billy Ediss.

Can Play Any Type

One of the remarkable things about Owen, and one which greatly enhances his value as an actor, is his ability to portray almost any type of role. He is equally at home as a “heavy,” such as he played in “Trouble for Two,” or in a light comedy role, like the one he did in “The Great Ziegfeld.”

He has a flair for make-up and is able so to disguise his own personality that it is often necessary to consult a programme to find out who is playing a certain role, only to discover that it is that Reginald Owen again.

Owen’s performance in “Queen Christina”, starring Greta Garbo, won him an M-G-M contract.

Source: Who’s Who at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1937