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William Nigel Ernle Bruce was a 1940s British character-actor who is probably best known for playing Dr John Watson in Basil Rathbone's Sherlock Holmes movies, as well as the radio programs he and Rathbone did together, The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. He also did two Alfred Hitchcock films, Rebecca and Suspicion.

Biography[]

Bruce was born in Baja, California in 1895 while his parents were on a vacation from England. He served during WWI in France starting in 1914, but in 1915 he was shot multiple times in the leg, having eleven bullets in his left leg, and spent the rest of the war in a wheelchair. Ironically, the character he would come to play several years later, Watson, is known for being shot in the leg while in Afghanistan. He played Watson during the Rathbone run, lasting from 1939-1946. He died in Santa Monica, California in 1953. He had a heart attack and died at age 58.

Holmes Movies[]

Most people were happy with Bruce's portrayal of Watson, however some purists found that he was not as serious and capable as the original character. He was a bit bumbling, and he is used for comic relief oftentimes.[citation needed] However, Rathbone himself defended his friend's acting, saying that he was a very loveable character.

External links[]

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