Michael Wilding (actor)

Michael Wilding (actor)
Michael Wilding (actor)

From the trailer for Stage Fright (1950)
Born Michael Charles Gauntlet Wilding
23 July 1912(1912-07-23)
Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, England
Died 8 July 1979(1979-07-08) (aged 66)
Chichester, West Sussex, England
Years active 19331973
Spouse Kay Young (1937–51)
Elizabeth Taylor (1952–57)
Susan Nell (1958–62)
Margaret Leighton (1964–76)

Michael Wilding (23 July 1912 – 8 July 1979) was an English actor.



Early life

Born in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, England, Wilding was a successful commercial artist when he joined the art department of a London film studio in 1933. He soon embarked on an acting career.


He appeared in numerous British motion pictures, often opposite Anna Neagle, but had a less productive career in Hollywood. His screen performances include Sailors Three (1940), In Which We Serve (1942), Undercover (1943), Piccadilly Incident (1946), Spring in Park Lane (1948), Stage Fright (1950), Torch Song (1953) and The World of Suzie Wong (1960).

His last appearance was in an uncredited, non-speaking cameo in Lady Caroline Lamb (1972), which co-starred his last wife, Margaret Leighton.

He also appeared on television, including the title role in the 1957 episode "The Trial of Colonel Blood" of NBC's anthology series, The Joseph Cotten Show.

Personal life

Wilding had four wives, Kay Young (married 1937, divorced 1951), actress Elizabeth Taylor (married 1952, divorced 1957), Susan Nell (married 1958, divorced 1962),[1] and actress Margaret Leighton (married 1964 until her death in 1976).

He and Taylor had two sons, Michael Howard Wilding (born 1953) and Christopher Edward Wilding (born 1955). In 1957 he had a short-lived romance with actress Marie McDonald, who was nicknamed "The Body".

In the 1960s, he was forced to cut back on his movie appearances because of illness related to his lifelong epilepsy.

Michael Wilding died in Chichester, West Sussex, as a result of head injuries suffered from a fall down a flight of stairs during an epileptic seizure. His body was cremated and the ashes were scattered.


Year Title Role Other notes
1972 Lady Caroline Lamb Lord Holland
1970 Waterloo Sir William Ponsonby
1968 The Sweet Ride Mr. Cartwright
Code Name, Red Roses English General
1962 A Girl Named Tamiko Nigel Costairs
1961 The Best of Enemies Burke
The Naked Edge Morris Brooke
1960 The World of Suzie Wong Ben Marlowe
1959 Danger Within Major Charles Marquand
1956 Zarak Major Michael Ingram
1955 The Scarlet Coat Major John Andre
The Glass Slipper Prince Charles
1954 The Egyptian Akhnaton
1953 Torch Song Tye Graham
1952 Trent's Last Case Philip Trent
Derby Day David Scott
1951 The Lady with the Lamp Sidney Herbert/Lord Herbert of Lea
The Law and the Lady Nigel Duxbury/Lord Henry Minden aka Hoskins
1950 Into the Blue Nicholas Foster
Stage Fright Det. Insp. Wilfred 'Ordinary' Smith
1949 Under Capricorn Hon. Charles Adare
Maytime in Mayfair Michael Gore-Brown
1948 Spring in Park Lane Richard
1947 An Ideal Husband Viscount Arthur Goring
The Courtneys of Curzon Street Sir Edward Courtney
1946 Carnival Maurice Avery
Piccadilly Incident Capt. Alan Pearson
1944 English Without Tears Tom Gilbey
1943 Dear Octopus Nicholas Randolph
Undercover Constantine
1942 Secret Mission Pvt. Nobby Clark
In Which We Serve Flags
Ships with Wings Lt. David Grant
1941 Cottage to Let Alan Trently
Kipps Ronnie Walshingham
Spring Meeting Tony Fox-Collier
The Farmer's Wife Richard Coaker
Mr. Proudfoot Shows a Light Officer
1940 Sailors Don't Care Dick
Sailors Three Johnny Wilding
Convoy Dot
Tilly of Bloomsbury Percy Welwyn
The Big Blockade Captain
1939 There Ain't No Justice Len Charteris
1936 When Knights Were Bold Uncredited Role
Wedding Group
1935 Late Extra
1933 Heads We Go
Bitter Sweet Uncredited Role
Channel Crossing Passenger Boarding Ferry


Year Title Role Other notes
1973 Frankenstein: The True Story Sir Richard Fanshawe TV-Movie
1968 Mannix Phillip Montford/Sir Arnold Salt Episode: A View of Nowhere
1966 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Major Tucker Episode: The Fatal Mistake
The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. Franz Joseph Episode: The Lethal Eagle Affair
1963 Burke's Law Dr. Alex Steiner Episode: Who Killed Sweet Betsy?
The Alfred Hitchcock Hour David Saunders Episode: Last Seen Wearing Blue Jeans
1962 Saints and Sinners Sir Robert Episode: A Night of Horns and Bells
1958, 1959 Playhouse 90 Sir John Alexander
Chris Hughes
Episode: Verdict of Three
Episode: Dark as the Night
1959 Lux Playhouse Stephen MacIllroy Episode: The Case of the Two Sisters
1958 Target Episode: The Clean Kill
Climax! Lt. MacKenzie Barton Episode: The Volcano Seat (1)
Episode: The Volcano Seat (2)
1957 The Joseph Cotton Show: On Trial Colonel Blood Episode: The Trial of Colonel Blood
1955, 1956 The 20th Century Fox Hour Robert Marryot
Captain Robert Wilton
Episode: Cavalcade
Stranger in the Night
1956 Screen Director's Playhouse David Scott Episode: The Carroll Formula


  1. ^ Wilding, Michael & Pamela Wilcox, Apple Sauce (London: Allen & Unwin, 1982), pp 140-144.

External links

Husband of Elizabeth Taylor
Preceded by
Conrad Hilton Jr.
Husband of Elizabeth Taylor
(by order of marriage)

Succeeded by
Mike Todd

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