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Obituaries : Patric Knowles; British Actor

Patric Knowles, a patrician British actor who co-starred in 1936’s “The Charge of the Light Brigade” and had roles in more than 80 other movies, has died. He was 84.

Knowles died of a stroke Saturday at West Hills Regional Medical Center, his daughter Antonia Vaughan said Tuesday.

Born Reginald Lawrence Knowles in 1911, in Horsforth, England, Knowles left school to enter his father’s publishing house and eventually joined the repertory group of the Playhouse Theater in Oxford. After touring with various companies, he went to London and appeared in “By Appointment,” where he was spotted by Irving Asher of Warner Bros. and signed as a contract player at the Warner studio in Teddington for more than two years.

In March 1936, he was brought to Hollywood to play Errol Flynn’s brother and win the heart of Olivia de Havilland in “The Charge of the Light Brigade.”

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He and Flynn co-starred again in “The Adventures of Robin Hood.”

After appearing with George Brent in the film “Give Me Your Heart,” Knowles became interested in flying, which led him to enlist in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Because of an eye ailment, he became a flying instructor. He returned to Hollywood and resumed his film career in director John Ford’s Oscar-winning “How Green Was My Valley.” After signing a contract with Universal, he appeared in several films and then served with the U.S. Army Air Force as a civilian instructor.

Assigned to the Mira Loma Academy for air cadets at Oxnard, Knowles used accumulated leaves of absence to make “Pardon My Rhythm” and finish up his Universal contract.

Once he was discharged from the military, he made “Of Human Bondage” and went on to play romantic leads in several films, including “The Bride Wore Boots” with Barbara Stanwyck, “Ivy” with Joan Fontaine and “Isn’t It Romantic?” with Veronica Lake.

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He also was the author of a novel, “Even Steven.”

In addition to Vaughan, Knowles is survived by his wife, Enid, whom he met when both appeared together at the Playhouse Theater in Oxford, England; a son Michael, four grandchildren and a great-grandchild.


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