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Alexander Robert Atkins CBE (10 August 1886 – 9 February 1972) was an English actor, producer and director.[1]

Robert Atkins

Actor Robert Atkins.jpg
"Old Vic" Shakespeare Co. photo
Robert Alexander Atkins

(1886-08-10)10 August 1886
Dulwich, London, England
Died9 February 1972(1972-02-09) (aged 85)
London, England
OccupationActor, producer & director
Spouse(s)Ethel Davey



Born in Dulwich, London, England, Atkins was most famous for his participation in the theatre.[2] An early graduate of Beerbohm Tree's Academy of Dramatic Art, he joined the Old Vic company in 1915, and became Director of Productions for Lilian Baylis from 1921 to 1926.[2][3][4] He also appeared many times on film and in television, though not with the success of his theatre career.

His first film was a 1913 production of Hamlet, as the First Player, with Johnston Forbes-Robertson in the title role.[5] Atkins went on to appear in several other film and television roles over the next 50 years with the most famous production possibly being A Matter of Life and Death.[6] He also produced and/or directed several adaptations of William Shakespeare plays during the '40s and '50s for British TV.[7][8]

He was director of the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford, and along with Sydney Carroll, also founded Regent's Park Open Air Theatre.[4][9][10]

Robert Atkins was married twice: to Mary Sumner whom he divorced, and to Ethel Davey, a film editor. He died in London, England in 1972.[2]

Selected filmographyEdit


  1. ^ "Atkins, (Alexander) Robert (1886–1972), actor and theatre director - Oxford Dictionary of National Biography". doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001 (inactive 20 August 2019).
  2. ^ a b c "ROBERT ATKINS, 85, ACTOR AND DIRECTOR". The New York Times. 11 February 1972.
  3. ^ Pigott-Smith, Tim (1 June 2017). Do You Know Who I Am?: A Memoir. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9781472934253 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ a b "STR Publications: Robert Atkins - An Unfinished Autobiography".
  5. ^ "BFI Screenonline: Hamlet (1913) Credits".
  6. ^ "Robert Atkins".
  7. ^ "Scenes from Shakespeare: The Merry Wives of Windsor (BBC, 1937)". 3 April 2014.
  8. ^ "BFI Screenonline: The Tempest On Screen".
  9. ^ "Touchstone : Online Exhibition".
  10. ^ "Robert Atkins - Our Heritage - Open Air Theatre".

External linksEdit