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George Henry Sanders was a Russian-born English film actor, who, for Disney, voiced Shere Khan in The Jungle Book and played the villainous gun salesman from In Search of the Castaways, Thomas Ayerton. He got the role through Walt Disney himself as he was a good friend of Walt's and after Walt saw him in the drawings of Shere Khan by animator Ken Anderson.

Sanders was born in St. Petersburg, Russian Empire, and his family moved to Great Britain following the onset of the Russian Revolution. He attended Bedales School and Brighton College, a boys' independent school in Brighton, then went on to Manchester Technical College, after which he worked in textile research. On the advice of Greer Garson, he took up acting.

Sanders became famous for playing roles in movies, such as Slave Ship, Call Me Madam, The Scarlet Coat, A Shot in the Dark, Confessions of a Nazi Spy, Rebecca, The Son of Monte Cristo, The Black Swan, Man Hunt, The Moon and Sixpence, This Land Is Mine, Paris After Dark, The Lodger, The Picture of Dorian Gray, A Scandal in Paris, The Private Affairs of Bel Ami, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Forever Amber, Samson and Delilah, Ivanhoe, Witness to Murder, The King's Thief, Death of a Scoundrel, From the Earth to the Moon, Solomon and Sheba, Village of the Damned, The Golden Head, King of Africa, and All About Eve for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Sanders was also known for playing detective characters, like Simon Templar/The Saint and Gay Laurence/The Falcon from 1939 to 1942 respectively. Both roles would later be played by his brother, Tom Conway.

He also appeared on television shows, like The Rogues, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Daniel Boone, and Batman as Mr. Freeze.

Sanders suffered from dementia in his later years along with various tragedies with left him depressed. On April 23, 1972; Sanders checked into a hotel in Castelldefels, a coastal town near Barcelona. He died of a cardiac arrest two days later after swallowing the contents of five bottles of the barbiturate Nembutal. He was cremated, and his ashes were scattered in the English Channel.

Trivia[]

  • He was the brother-in-law of actress/socialite Eva Gabor.
  • He was considered for the roles of George Banks and Mr. Dawes Sr. in Mary Poppins, along with several other actors, but the roles were later given to David Tomlinson and Dick Van Dyke, respectively.
  • Sanders was also considered for the role of Barnaby in Babes in Toyland (along with several other actors).
  • Sanders was often called an aristocratic cad because he was a Russian aristocrat.
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