Dennis Hoey (born Samuel David Hyams, 30 March 1893 – 25 July 1960) was a British film and stage actor, best known for playing Inspector Lestrade in six films of Universal's Sherlock Holmes series.

Dennis Hoey
Dennis Hoey in Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon.jpg
Samuel David Hyams

(1893-03-30)30 March 1893
London, England
Died25 July 1960(1960-07-25) (aged 67)
Resting placeMyrtle Hill Memorial Park, Tampa, Florida
Years active1924–1952
Josephine Hoey
(m. 1933; div. 1946)

Early lifeEdit

Hoey was born Samuel David Hyams in London to Russian-Jewish parents, another source says Irish and Russian-Jewish parents,[1] who earned a living by running a bed and breakfast in Brighton, on the coast of the English county of East Sussex. He received his formal education at Brighton College, and originally planned to be a teacher.[2]

He served in the British Army during World War I. After a career as a singer, which included entertaining British troops during his war service, Hoey moved into theatre-acting in 1918, and later into cinema films. In 1931 he moved to the United States, and commenced a career in Hollywood.[citation needed]


Hoey's first film was Tell England.[1] He is best known for playing Inspector Lestrade in six Universal's Sherlock Holmes series. He also portrayed the master of Harrow in The Foxes of Harrow and appeared in Tarzan and the Leopard Woman.[citation needed]


Hoey "appeared frequently in London" stage productions, including those of Sydney Carroll's Shakespearean repertory company.[3] He played Mr. Rochester opposite Katharine Hepburn in the American production of Helen Jerome's stage adaptation of Jane Eyre.[4] He also wrote a play called The Haven and toured in it in 1946 with Melville Cooper, Valerie Cossart and Viola Roache.

Hoey's Broadway credits include Hassan (1924), Katja (1926–1927), Green Waters (1936), Virginia (1937), Empress of Destiny (1938), The Circle (1938), Lorelei (1938), The Burning Deck (1940), Heart of a City (1942), The Haven (1946), and Getting Married (1951).[5]


On radio, Hoey played Mr. Welby in Pretty Kitty Kelly on CBS.[6]

Personal lifeEdit

Issue No. 45 of "Films of the Golden Age" magazine features an interview with Hoey's son Michael A. Hoey (1934–2014), who extensively discusses Dennis Hoey's early life, career, marriages and death. In his book, "Elvis, Sherlock and Me: How I Survived Growing Up in Hollywood" (Bear Manor Media-2007) he discusses his father's career and their sometimes turbulent relationship.


Hoey died at the age of 67 in Palm Beach, Florida, of kidney disease on 25 July 1960. His body was buried at Myrtle Hill Memorial Park cemetery, in Tampa, Florida.[7]



  • Hassan (1924), Masrur
  • Katja (1926), Ivo
  • Green Waters (1936), Ian McRuvie
  • Jane Eyre (1936), Mr. Rochester
  • Virginia (1937), Sir Guy Carleton
  • Empress of Destiny (1938), Potemkin
  • The Circle (1938), Lord Porteous
  • Lorelei (1938), Reprecht Eisenkranz
  • The Burning Deck (1940), Captain Applegate
  • Heart of a City (1942), Leo Saddle
  • The Haven (1946), Edmund Durward
  • Getting Married (1951), The General


  1. ^ a b "Actor for "Uncivilised."". The Age. Australia, Melbourne, Victoria: 26 November 1935. p. 12. Retrieved 31 January 2016.  
  2. ^ "Career Thrown in Reverse". New York, Brooklyn: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. 6 March 1938. p. 39. Retrieved 31 January 2016.  
  3. ^ "Stage Entrants". New York, Brooklyn: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. 8 December 1936. p. 9. Retrieved 31 January 2016.  
  4. ^ Mann, William J. Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn. (2007) Macmillan. p. 257.
  5. ^ "Dennis Hoey". Playbill Vault. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  6. ^ "Monday's Highlights" (PDF). Radio and Television Mirror. 13 (4): 43. February 1940. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  7. ^ NNDB

External linksEdit