: As I passed imperceptibly from a beautiful child to a strong handsome lad, I wanted more than anything else in the world to be of all things, a hypnotist. I practised on gentle dogs...
Alastair George Bell Sim, CBE was a Scottish character actor who began his theatrical career at the age of thirty, but quickly became established as a popular West End performer, remaining so until his death in 1976.
Starting in 1935, he also appeared in more than fifty British films, including an iconic adaptation of Charles Dickens’ novella A Christmas Carol, released in 1951 as Scrooge in Great Britain and as A Christmas Carol in the United States.
After a series of false starts, including a spell as a jobbing labourer and another as a clerk in a local government office, Sim's love of and talent for poetry reading won him several prizes and led to his appointment as a lecturer in elocution at the University of Edinburgh in 1925. He also ran his own private elocution and drama school, from which, with the help of the playwright John Drinkwater, he made the transition to the professional stage in 1930.
Despite his late start, Sim soon became well known on the London stage. A period of more than a year as a member of the Old Vic company brought him wide experience of playing Shakespeare and other classics, to which he returned throughout his career. In the modern repertoire, he formed a close professional association with the author James Bridie, which lasted from 1939 until the dramatist's death in 1951. Sim not only acted in Bridie's works, but directed them.
In the later 1940s and for most of the 1950s, Sim was a leading star of British cinema, appearing in more than 50 films.