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William Gillette
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    (July 24, 1855-April 29, 1937)
    Plays include 'Sherlock Holmes,' 'Secret Service,' 'Too Much Johnson,' 'Held by the Enemy' and 'The Painful Predicament of Sherlock Holmes'
    His most famous play was a revision of a four act drama about Sherlock Holmes by Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle.
    When he asked for permission to alter the Holmes persona, Conan Doyle replied, 'You may marry him, murder him, or do anything you like to him.'
    He added a romantic interest to the play that was very out of keeping with the character in the stories.
    He created the image of Holmes smoking a curved meerschaum pipe because he discovered it was the only one he could hold in his mouth and speak his lines.
    He was painfully shy.
    He was the first actor to play Sherlock Holmes.
    He played Holmes over 1300 times.
    When Charlie Chaplin was a boy, he cast him in a small role in 'Sherlock Holmes.'
    He did a silent film of 'Sherlock Holmes' in 1916.
    'Sherlock Holmes' was revived on Broadway in 1974 and ran for 471 performances.
    Although chiefly associated with the Holmes character, he achieved major successes in other plays that he wrote.
    He played Holmes on stage for the last time at the age of 76, and on radio at 79.
    He delivered an influential lecture called 'The Illusion of the First Time in Acting,' that stressed a naturalistic style.

Credit: Jon Mullich

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