Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, to British parents on July 3, 1906, actor George Sanders grew up in Russia until the outbreak of the Russian Revolution in 1917. Afterward, his family returned to Britain, where Sanders matured and later attended Manchester Technical College. In the late 1920s, Sanders was working in an ad agency when a secretary, future actress Greer Garson, told him that he would make a fine actor. Sanders quickly seized the opportunity and, by 1930, had begun acting in British films. In 1936, he signed a contract with 20th Century Fox, where he excelled in crime dramas, thrillers, and war pictures. Some of his early Hollywood films include Lancer Spy (1937; with Dolores del Rio and Peter Lorre), Four Men and a Prayer (1938; with Loretta Young), and Mr. Moto's Last Warning (1939; with Peter Lorre and Ricardo Cortez). In 1939, Sanders took over the role of Simon Templar from Louis Hayward in RKO's mystery The Saint Strikes Back (1939; with Wendy Barrie). He proved so popular in the role that RKO kept Sanders in the film series through The Saint in Palm Springs (1941; with Wendy Barrie), after which Sanders left the role to Hugh Sinclair. He was then cast in a new film series, The Falcon, and the first film in the series was The Gay Falcon (1941; with Wendy Barrie). Sanders starred in four Falcon films before tiring of the series. After production wrapped on The Falcon's Brother (1942; with Tom Conway), Tom Conway, in real life Sanders' older brother, took over the role with great success.

George Sanders and Zsa Zsa GaborGeorge Sanders and Benita Hume

LEFT: With second wife Zsa Zsa Gabor. RIGHT: With third wife, actress Benita Hume in early 1959, at the time of their marriage. Hume left Sanders a widower in 1967

Married four times, Sanders was married to Zsa Zsa Gabor from 1949 to 1954, later marrying actress Benita Hume in 1959. When Hume passed away in 1967, Sanders' health began to deteriorate. He married once more in December 1970, this time to Madga Gabor, but this marriage ended just a few weeks later.

the films of george sanders

Lancer Spy (1936)

Peter Lorre, Dolores del Rio, and George Sanders

From the 20th Century Fox drama Lancer Spy with Peter Lorre and Dolores del Rio

Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939)

George Sanders

From the Warner Bros. drama Confessions of a Nazi Spy

The Saint Strikes Back (1939)

George Sanders

As Simon Templar in RKO's The Saint entry The Saint Strikes Back

Foreign Correspondent (1940)

Joel McCrea and George SandersJoel McCrea, Laraine Day, and George Sanders

LEFT: With Joel McCrea in the Alfred Hitchcock thriller Foreign Correspondent. RIGHT: With Joel McCrea and Laraine Day

The Saint's Double Trouble (1940)

George Sanders and Helene Whitney

With Helene Whitney in RKO's The Saint entry The Saint's Double Trouble

The Son of Monte Cristo (1940)

George Sanders and Joan Bennett

With Joan Bennett in the swashbuckler The Son of Monte Cristo

Rage in Heaven (1941)

George Sanders and Robert Montgomery

From the MGM thriller Rage in Heaven with Robert Montgomery

Quiet Please: Murder (1942)

George Sanders and Richard DenningGeorge Sanders and Gail Patrick

LEFT: With Richard Denning in the 20th Century Fox film noir thriller Quiet Please: Murder. RIGHT: With Gail Patrick

Appointment in Berlin (1943)

George Sanders

From the Columbia B war drama Appointment in Berlin

Paris After Dark (1943)

George Sanders and Brenda Marshall

With Brenda Marshall in the 20th Century Fox war drama Paris After Dark

They Came to Blow Up America (1943)

Ralph Byrd and George Sanders

With Ralph Byrd in the 20th Century Fox war drama They Came to Blow Up America

A Scandal in Paris (1946)

George Sanders and Carole Landis

From the romantic crime drama A Scandal in Paris with Carole Landis

All About Eve (1950)

George Sanders, Gary Merrill, Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, Celeste Holm, and Hugh Marlowe

Promotional photo from the 20th Century Fox drama All About Eve, which received a record 14 Academy Award nominations. Pictured are George Sanders, Gary Merrill, Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, Celeste Holm, and Hugh Marlowe

The Light Touch (1952)

Pier Angeli, George Sanders, and Stewart Granger

From the MGM crime drama The Light Touch with Pier Angeli and Stewart Granger

Death of a Scoundrel (1956)

Yvonne De Carlo and George SandersZsa Zsa Gabor and George Sanders

LEFT: Having a drink with Yvonne De Carlo in the RKO noir release Death of a Scoundrel. RIGHT: With Zsa Zsa Gabor

While the City Sleeps (1956)

George Sanders, Sally Forrest, and Dana AndrewsGeorge Sanders and Gail Patrick

LEFT: From the RKO film noir release While the City Sleeps with Sally Forrest and Dana Andrews. RIGHT: With Ida Lupino

A Touch of Larceny (1960)

George Sanders and Vera Miles

From the British-made Paramount comedy A Touch of Larceny with Vera Miles

Bluebeard's Ten Honeymoons (1960)

George Sanders

As the title character in the Allied Artists mystery Bluebeard's Ten Honeymoons

Dark Purpose (1964)

Shirley Jones and George Sanders

With Shirley Jones in the Italian-made mystery Dark Purpose, released by Universal

The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders (1965)

Angela Lansbury and George Sanders

With Angela Lansbury in the Paramount comedy The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders

The Incredible Challenge (1971)

Michael Craig and George Sanders

With Michael Craig in the Italian drama The Incredible Challenge

later years

While Sanders was primarily known as a B movie actor, he did appear in supporting roles in A pictures with great success. His best known roles came in the 20th Century Fox drama All About Eve (1950; with Bette Davis and Gary Merrill) and in RKO's crime drama Death of a Scoundrel (1956; with Zsa Zsa Gabor and Yvonne De Carlo). In 1957, he hosted a summer replacement TV anthology series The George Sanders Mystery Theater on NBC, and he also occasionally took guest roles in such series as Batman and The Man from U.N.C.L.E in the 1960s. After Sanders suffered the deaths of his brother, actor Tom Conway, and his wife, Benita Hume, in 1967, he began drinking heavily and his health was challenged by a stroke. In his final film and television appearances, the effects of the stroke are readily apparent. Faced with physical impairments and declining health and career, Sanders took an overdose of Nembutal and was found dead in a hotel in Spain on April 25, 1972, at the age of 65. He was survived by a sister, Margaret.

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Psychomania (1973) with Beryl Reid
Endless Night (1972) with Hayley Mills, Hywel Bennett, and Britt Ekland
Doomwatch (1972) with Ian Bannen and Judy Geeson
The Incredible Challenge (1971) with Michael Craig, Adolfo Celi, Klaus Kinski, Margaret Lee, and Giacomo Rossi-Stuart
The Kremlin Letter (1970) with Richard Boone, Nigel Green, Dean Jagger, Patrick O'Neal, Barbara Parkins, Max von Sydow, and Orson Welles
The Best House in London (1969) with David Hemmings and Joanna Pettet
Thin Air (1969) with Maurice Evans and Neil Connery
The Girl from Rio (1969) with Shirley Eaton and Richard Wyler
The Candy Man (1969) with Leslie Parrish
King of Africa (1968) with Ty Hardin, Pier Angeli, and Helga Line
Laura (1968) with Arlene Francis, Farley Granger, and Robert Stack
The Jungle Book (1967)
Good Times (1967) with Sonny Bono, Cher, Kelly Thordsen, Edy Williams, and China Lee
Warning Shot (1967) with David Janssen, Keenan Wynn, Lillian Gish, Stefanie Powers, Eleanor Parker, Steve Allen, Carroll O'Connor, Joan Collins, and Walter Pidgeon
The Quiller Memorandum (1966) with George Segal, Alec Guinness, Max von Sydow, and Senta Berger
Trunk to Cairo (1966) with Audie Murphy and Marianne Koch
The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders (1965) with Kim Novak, Angela Lansbury, Vittorio De Sica, and Lilli Palmer
The Golden Head (1964) with Buddy Hackett
Last Plane to Baalbek (1964) with Rossana Podesta, Jacques Sernas, and Yoko Tani
A Shot in the Dark (1964) with Peter Sellers, Elke Sommer, Herbert Lom, and Tracy Reed
Dark Purpose (1964) with Shirley Jones, Rossano Brazzi, and Giorgia Moll
The Cracksman (1963) with Dennis Price
Cairo (1963) with Richard Johnson
In Search of the Castaways (1962) with Maurice Chevalier, Hayley Mills, and Wilfrid Hyde-White
Operation Snatch (1962) with Terry-Thomas, Lionel Jeffries, and Jocelyn Lane
Rendezvous (1961)
Call Me Genius (1961) with Dennis Price
Five Golden Hours (1961) with Ernie Kovacs, Cyd Charisse, and Dennis Price
Village of the Damned (1960) with Barbara Shelley and Laurence Naismith
Trouble in the Sky (1960) with Michael Craig, Peter Cushing, and Bernard Lee
Bluebeard's Ten Honeymoons (1960) with Corinne Calvet and Ian Fleming
The Last Voyage (1960) with Robert Stack, Dorothy Malone, Edmond O'Brien, and Woody Strode
A Touch of Larceny (1960) with James Mason and Vera Miles
Solomon and Sheba (1959) with Yul Brynner, Gina Lollobrigida, and Marisa Pavan
That Kind of Woman (1959) with Sophia Loren, Tab Hunter, Jack Warden, Barbara Nichols, and Keenan Wynn
From the Earth to the Moon (1958) with Joseph Cotten, Debra Paget, Patric Knowles, and Melville Cooper
The Whole Truth (1958) with Stewart Granger, Donna Reed, and Gianna Maria Canale
The Seventh Sin (1957) with Eleanor Parker, Bill Travers, Jean-Pierre Aumont, and Ellen Corby
Death of a Scoundrel (1956) with Yvonne De Carlo, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Victor Jory, Nancy Gates, Coleen Gray, John Hoyt, Tom Conway, and Werner Klemperer
That Certain Feeling (1956) with Bob Hope, Eva Marie Saint, and Pearl Bailey
While the City Sleeps (1956) with Dana Andrews, Rhonda Fleming, Howard Duff, Thomas Mitchell, Vincent Price, Sally Forrest, John Drew Barrymore, James Craig, Ida Lupino, and Mae Marsh
Never Say Goodbye (1956) with Rock Hudson, Cornell Borchers, Shelley Fabares, Ray Collins, David Janssen, Max Showalter, John Banner, and Jerry Paris
The King's Thief (1955) with Ann Blyth, Edmund Purdom, David Niven, Roger Moore, Melville Cooper, and Alan Mowbray
The Scarlet Coat (1955) with Cornel Wilde, Michael Wilding, and Anne Francis
Moonfleet (1955) with Stewart Granger, Joan Greenwood, Viveca Lindfors, and Melville Cooper
Jupiter's Darling (1955) with Esther Williams, Howard Keel, Marge Champion, Gower Champion, William Demarest, and Michael Ansara
Journey to Italy (1954) with Ingrid Bergman
King Richard and the Crusaders (1954) with Rex Harrison, Virginia Mayo, Laurence Harvey, and Paula Raymond
Witness to Murder (1954) with Barbara Stanwyck, Gary Merrill, and Jesse White
Call Me Madam (1953) with Ethel Merman, Donald O'Connor, Vera-Ellen, Billy De Wolfe, Helmut Dantine, Walter Slezak, and Steven Geray
Assignment: Paris (1952) with Dana Andrews, Marta Toren, Audrey Totter, and Willis Bouchey
Ivanhoe (1952) with Robert Taylor, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Fontaine, and Guy Rolfe
The Light Touch (1952) with Stewart Granger and Pier Angeli
I Can Get It for You Wholesale (1951) with Susan Hayward, Dan Dailey, Sam Jaffe, Marvin Kaplan, Harry von Zell, and Barbara Whiting
All About Eve (1950) with Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, Celeste Holm, Gary Merrill, Hugh Marlowe, Barbara Bates, Marilyn Monroe, and Thelma Ritter
Captain Blackjack (1950) with Herbert Marshall, Patricia Roc, and Agnes Moorehead
Samson and Delilah (1949) with Hedy Lamarr, Victor Mature, Angela Lansbury, Henry Wilcoxon, and Russ Tamblyn
The Fan (1949) with Jeanne Crain, Madeleine Carroll, and Richard Greene
Forever Amber (1947) with Linda Darnell, Cornel Wilde, Richard Greene, Glenn Langan, Jessica Tandy, Anne Revere, John Russell, and Leo G. Carroll
Lured (1947) with Lucille Ball, Charles Coburn, Boris Karloff, Cedric Hardwicke, Alan Mowbray, and George Zucco
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947) with Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison, Vanessa Brown, Anna Lee, and Natalie Wood
The Private Affairs of Bel Ami (1947) with Angela Lansbury, Ann Dvorak, John Carradine, Hugo Haas, Frances Dee, and Marie Wilson
The Strange Woman (1946) with Hedy Lamarr, Louis Hayward, Gene Lockhart, and Hillary Brooke
A Scandal in Paris (1946) with Signe Hasso, Carole Landis, Akim Tamiroff, and Gene Lockhart
The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry (1945) with Geraldine Fitzgerald and Ella Raines
The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) with Donna Reed, Angela Lansbury, and Peter Lawford
Hangover Square (1945) with Laird Cregar, Linda Darnell, and Glenn Langan
Summer Storm (1944) with Linda Darnell, Edward Everett Horton, Anna Lee, and Hugo Haas
Action in Arabia (1944) with Virginia Bruce, Lenore Aubert, Gene Lockhart, Robert Armstrong, and H.B. Warner
The Lodger (1944) with Merle Oberon, Laird Cregar, Cedric Hardwicke, and Queenie Leonard
Paris After Dark (1943) with Brenda Marshall
Appointment in Berlin (1943) with Marguerite Chapman, Onslow Stevens, and Gale Sondergaard
They Came to Blow Up America (1943) with Anna Sten, Ward Bond, Sig Ruman, and Ralph Byrd
This Land Is Mine (1943) with Charles Laughton, Maureen O'Hara, Walter Slezak, Philip Merivale, and Nancy Gates
Quiet Please: Murder (1942) with Gail Patrick, Richard Denning, and Lynne Roberts
The Black Swan (1942) with Tyrone Power, Maureen O'Hara, Laird Cregar, Thomas Mitchell, Anthony Quinn, and George Zucco
The Moon and Sixpence (1942) with Herbert Marshall, Eric Blore, Florence Bates, Steven Geray, and Elena Verdugo
The Falcon's Brother (1942) with Tom Conway, Keye Luke, and Gwili Andre
Tales of Manhattan (1942) with Charles Boyer, Rita Hayworth, Ginger Rogers, Henry Fonda, Charles Laughton, and Edward G. Robinson
Her Cardboard Lover (1942) with Norma Shearer, Robert Taylor, and Chill Wills
The Falcon Takes Over (1942) with Lynn Bari
Son of Fury: The Story of Benjamin Blake (1942) with Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney, Frances Farmer, Roddy McDowall, John Carradine, and Elsa Lanchester
A Date with the Falcon (1942) with Wendy Barrie
The Gay Falcon (1942) with Wendy Barrie
Sundown (1941) with Gene Tierney, Bruce Cabot, Harry Carey, Reginald Gardiner, and Cedric Hardwicke
Man Hunt (1941) with Walter Pidgeon, Joan Bennett, John Carradine, and Roddy McDowall
Rage in Heaven (1941) with Robert Montgomery, Ingrid Bergman, Oskar Homolka, and Philip Merivale
The Saint in Palm Springs (1941) with Wendy Barrie
The Son of Monte Cristo (1940) with Louis Hayward, Joan Bennett, Florence Bates, Montagu Love, Clayton Moore, and Ralph Byrd
Bitter Sweet (1940) with Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, and Veda Ann Borg
Foreign Correspondent (1940) with Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, Herbert Marshall, Robert Benchley, and Edmund Gwenn
The Saint Takes Over (1940) with Wendy Barrie
Rebecca (1940) with Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, Judith Anderson, Nigel Bruce, Reginald Denny, Melville Cooper, and Leo G. Carroll
The House of the Seven Gables (1940) with Margaret Lindsay, Vincent Price, Dick Foran, and Cecil Kellaway
The Saint's Double Trouble (1940) with Bela Lugosi
Green Hell (1940) with Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Joan Bennett, John Howard, Alan Hale, and Vincent Price
Allegheny Uprising (1939) with Claire Trevor, John Wayne, and Brian Donlevy
Nurse Edith Cavell (1939) with Anna Neagle, Edna May Oliver, Zasu Pitts, and H.B. Warner
The Saint in London (1939) with Sally Gray
Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939) with Edward G. Robinson and Francis Lederer
So This Is London (1939)
The Saint Strikes Back (1939) with Wendy Barrie, Jerome Cowan, Barry Fitzgerald, and Neil Hamilton
The Outsider (1939)
Mr. Moto's Last Warning (1939) with Peter Lorre, Ricardo Cortez, Virginia Field, and John Carradine
Four Men and a Prayer (1938) with Loretta Young, Richard Greene, David Niven, John Carradine, Alan Hale, Reginald Denny, and Barry Fitzgerald
International Settlement (1938) with Dolores del Rio, Ruth Terry, John Carradine, and Keye Luke
Lancer Spy (1937) with Dolores del Rio, Peter Lorre, Virginia Field, and Lionel Atwill
The Lady Escapes (1937) with Gloria Stuart
Slave Ship (1937) with Warner Baxter, Wallace Beery, Mickey Rooney, and Jane Darwell
Love Is News (1937) with Tyrone Power, Loretta Young, Don Ameche, Jane Darwell, Stepin Fetchit, and Elisha Cook Jr.
The Man Who Could Work Miracles (1936) with Roland Young, Ralph Richardson, and George Zucco
Lloyd's of London (1936) with Freddie Bartholomew, Madeleine Carroll, Tyrone Power, C. Aubrey Smith, and Virginia Field
Dishonour Bright (1936) with Eugene Pallette
Strange Cargo (1936)
Find the Lady (1936) with Jack Melford

The George Sanders Mystery Theater, 1957 NBC TV series. Sanders served as host of this anthology series

Mission: Impossible, episode The Merchant, originally aired March 17, 1971
ITV Saturday Night Theatre, episode Fade Out, originally aired April 11, 1970
Batman, episode Rats Like Cheese, originally aired February 3, 1966
Batman, episode Instant Freeze, originally aired February 2, 1966
Daniel Boone, episode Crisis by Fire, originally aired January 27, 1966
The Man from U.N.C.L.E., episode The Yukon Affair, originally aired December 24, 1965
The Man from U.N.C.L.E., episode The Gazebo in the Maze Affair, originally aired April 5, 1965
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, episode The Traitor, originally aired April 19, 1965
The Rogues, episode A Daring Step Backward, originally aired April 18, 1965
Checkmate, episode The Sound of Nervous Laughter, originally aired February 14, 1962
G.E. True Theater, episode The Small Elephants, originally aired March 12, 1961
Alcoa Theatre, episode Morning Boat to Africa, originally aired February 15, 1960
Schlitz Playhouse, episode Night of the Stranger, originally aired March 7, 1958
G.E. True Theater, episode The Man Who Inherited Everything, originally aired May 19, 1957
The George Sanders Mystery Theater, episode Morning Boat to Africa, originally aired 1957
G.E. True Theater, episode The Charlatan, originally aired November 11, 1956
Screen Directors Playhouse, episode Bitter Waters, originally aired August 1, 1956
Screen Directors Playhouse, episode The Dream, originally aired May 16, 1956
The Ford Television Theatre, episode Autumn Fever, originally aired April 5, 1956
The 20th Century-Fox Hour, episode A Portrait of Murder, originally aired October 19, 1955

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Watch George Sanders' 1939 film Mr. Moto's Last Warning
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