Basil Langton

Biography: In 1941 the actor-director-manager Basil Langton, who has died aged 91, founded the Travelling Repertory Theatre. That enterprise, based in Birmingham and later in Bristol, toured blitzed towns, and performed in church halls, hostels - and tents. Langton's toil kept it going and put wartime theatregoers in his debt.
From 1947, Langton's career continued in the US. Having appeared on BBC television soon after the war - the productions included George Bernard Shaw's Man Of Destiny - his last appearance was to be in the pilot for Star Trek: Voyager (1994). In the US he directed plays and operas and acted on stage, radio and television in such places as Cincinnati, Martha's Vineyard, Santa Fe and Toronto. He cofounded the Empire State Music Festival, produced the first US Shaw festival, and a jazz festival with Duke Ellington, George Shearing and Dave Brubeck. He also directed the Bermuda Festival and opera on Broadway, where his stage appearances included Camelot.
In 1945
In 1941 the actor-director-manager Basil Langton, who has died aged 91, founded the Travelling Repertory Theatre. That enterprise, based in Birmingham and later in Bristol, toured blitzed towns, and performed in church halls, hostels - and tents. Langton's toil kept it going and put wartime theatregoers in his debt.
From 1947, Langton's career continued in the US. Having appeared on BBC television soon after the war - the productions included George Bernard Shaw's Man Of Destiny - his last appearance was to be in the pilot for Star Trek: Voyager (1994). In the US he directed plays and operas and acted on stage, radio and television in such places as Cincinnati, Martha's Vineyard, Santa Fe and Toronto. He cofounded the Empire State Music Festival, produced the first US Shaw festival, and a jazz festival with Duke Ellington, George Shearing and Dave Brubeck. He also directed the Bermuda Festival and opera on Broadway, where his stage appearances included Camelot.
In 1945 a young Kenneth Tynan had dismissed Langton when he played Romeo opposite a memorable Juliet from Renée Asherson. The critic complained that "he knew he was speaking verse and he knew his words: but his voice has but two notes, and he played a losing duet with himself all evening; rapt and repellent in self-love."
In truth Langton was by then a character actor - and he was a Shavian as well as a Shakespearian. With the TRT he found actors who knew how to speak Shaw's prose so that its meaning was intelligible. Langton's assets included Sybil Thorndike, her husband Lewis Casson and their daughter Ann, Margaret Leighton and Paul Scofield. Other TRT plays included Euripides' Electra and in 1945, Paul Vincent Carroll's The Wise Have Not Spoken and a slice of American 20th-century politics, In Time To Come with Casson as Woodrow Wilson.
Langton was born in Clifton, Bristol. At the age of one he was taken to live in Montreal and later to Vancouver. There, aged 17, he worked in a bank and acted, as an amateur, with the Vancouver Little Theatre. Inspired by a Donald Wolfit performance, he took that touring actor-manager's advice to study in England and accepted an offer from Beatrice Straight to study at her school of dance-mime at Dartington Hall in Devon. In 1934 he worked with Kurt Joss's school of dance, but by 1935 had become an apprentice at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. In 1936 he debuted in London's West End in Par Lagerkvist's The Hangman.
In Stratford, he worked with the Russian emigré Theodore Komisarjevsky and through him with Wolfit and Eugenie Leontovitch in Antony And Cleopatra (1936) at the New Theatre. He then appeared in JM Barrie's The Boy David with the exiled German star Elizabeth Bergner at Her Majesty's Theatre.
In 1937 his meeting with Michel St-Denis led to Langton understudying Laurence Olivier in St-Denis's Macbeth at the Old Vic; he also joined the faculty of the director's London Theatre Studio. In 1938 at the Phoenix he was Sebastian to Peggy Ashcroft's Viola in Twelfth Night, and appeared with Michael Redgrave in Mikhail Bulgakov's The White Guard. He was in the London premiere of Clifford Odets' Awake And Sing!
Langton's asthma precluded military service, but he none the less registered as a conscientious objector. It was his pacifism which led to him feeling cold-shouldered by British theatre. Thus in 1947 came his move to the US, first to Western Reserve University in Cleveland - from where in 1948 he directed The Devil's Disciple, the first televised Shaw in the US. In 1959 he received a Guggenheim Fellowship to research Shaw's stage craft.
He was also an exhibited photographer. His marriage to Louise Soelberg ended in divorce. He is survived by his daughter from that marriage and his companion for 36 years, Judith Searle.
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Basil Langton's Scores

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Title: Year: Credit: User score:
tbd General Hospital: Season 43 Apr 1, 2005 Dr. Borden tbd
tbd General Hospital: Season 42 Apr 1, 2004 Dr. Borden tbd
tbd General Hospital: Season 41 Apr 1, 2003 Dr. Borden tbd
tbd General Hospital: Season 40 Apr 1, 2002 Dr. Borden tbd
tbd General Hospital: Season 39 Jan 2, 2002 Dr. Borden tbd
tbd General Hospital: Season 38 Jan 2, 2001 Dr. Borden tbd
tbd General Hospital: Season 37 Jan 3, 2000 Dr. Borden tbd
tbd General Hospital: Season 36 Jan 4, 1999 Dr. Borden tbd
tbd General Hospital: Season 35 Jan 2, 1998 Dr. Borden tbd
tbd General Hospital: Season 34 Mar 4, 1997 Dr. Borden tbd
tbd General Hospital: Season 33 Jan 4, 1996 Dr. Borden tbd
tbd General Hospital: Season 32 Nov 7, 1995 Dr. Borden tbd
tbd General Hospital: Season 31 Apr 22, 1994 Dr. Borden tbd
tbd General Hospital: Season 30 Mar 31, 1993 Dr. Borden tbd