: [on his versatility] I can play the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker.
William Claude Rains made his stage debut at the age of eleven in "Nell of Old Drury." Growing up in the world of theatre, he saw not only acting up close but the down-to-earth business end as well, progressing from a page boy to a stage manager during his well-rounded learning experience.
Rains decided to come to America in 1913 and the New York theatre, but with the outbreak of World War I the next year, he returned to serve with a Scottish regiment in Europe.
Into the 1940s, Rains had risen to perhaps unique stature: a supporting actor who had achieved A-list stardom , almost in a category by himself. His some 40 films during that period ranged from subtle comedy to psychological drama with a bit of horror revisited; many would be golden era classics.
His memorable role as The Invisible Man (1933) was referenced in the opening song to the cult film The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975).