Harold B Meade

The film and stage actor Harold Meade (also known as Harold B Meade or Harold Brabazon Meade) was born Harold Meadmore in Hampstead, London, England, in 1875 of British and French parentage. His father, Robert Meadmore (1835–1891), was a commercial clerk working in London for an Australian merchant. His mother, Clemence Désirée (nee Dessure – 1837–1918) was from Rouen, France.

Most members of the Meadmore family, which originates from Orcop, a tiny, isolated Herefordshire village in the English midlands, went into traditional, secure businesses. They were either farmers, clerks, or lawyers. So Harold Meadmore was definitely setting out on his own path by becoming an actor.

His life between the ages of six (when he appears in the 1881 UK census living with his family in Hampstead, London) and 39, when he appears in the 1914 California Motion Picture Corporation production “Salomy Jane” is still something of a mystery. At some point in this period, he changed his name to Harold B Meade. In all probability he was working as a stage actor, but production credits for his early life are as yet unknown.

Around May 1915, he was back in London, where, as Harold Brabazon Meade, he marries Mary Kathleen Clarke. Their ceremony took place in Paddington. The marriage appears not to have lasted long because in 1921, at the Supreme Court of Judicature, London, Mary petitions for a the restitution of her conjugal rights and the marriage ends in divorce.

In 1915, still working for the same California film company, he stars in the film “The Rose of the Misty Pool”. He also plays Lothario’s servant in “Mignon” (1915).

In the 1920s, he is back in London, taking various roles in stage plays at West End theaters. He was Adolphe, Baron Martin in the English translation of Ladislas Fodor’s four-act comedy “Home Affairs” at the Everyman Theatre in 1925. In 1927, he created the role of Squarcio in the premier of George Bernard Shaw’s play “The Glimpse of Reality” at the Ats Theatre.

On 22 Sep 1929, he is recorded as crossing the border from Canada into Buffallo, New York State, USA. This card, filled in by US immigration officials, is a key document in proving that actor Harold Brabazon Meade was born Harold Meadmore.

Three days later, on 25 Sep 1929, he opens at Maxine Elliott’s Theatre, Broadway, New York, in the play “Many Waters” by Monckton Hoffe, in a production by Charles B Cochran.

Around 1930, he moves to Australia, and, in his mid 50s, is appearing in various films, stage plays and musicals. He was also taking part in Australian radio productions of various kinds.

His links with Australia date back to his father’s working connections. His eldest brother, Clement Meadmore (1862–1936) had emigrated to Australia in the 1880s and by the 1930s was living in Sydney. Their father, Robert, appears to have also emigrated to Australia in the late 1880s, and died in Ashfield, New South Wales, in 1891.

In 1939, Harold married his second wife, Irene Pearl Cahill, in Woollahra, New South Wales. By the 1940s they are living in Darlinghurst, East Sydney.

His last film productions appear to be in 1939, when, at the age of 64, he played Colonel Bryant in “Seven Little Australians” and Mr Inchape in “Gone to the Dogs”.

He died in Sydney on 22 Mar, 1944, and was buried at the Botany Church of England Cemetery.

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