Oscar Actors: Rains, Claude

Claude Rains, who made his stage debut as a choirboy in London at the age of eleven, went on to hold every possible position in the theater world, from call boy and prompter to leading actor and stage manager.

However, Rains's impressive debut, The Invisible Man, in which he appeared faceless, occurred when he was forty-four. He won his first nomination in 1939, at the age of fifty, for playing the corrupt senator in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

Rains soon established himself as one of Hollywood's finest character actors, winning four supporting nominations within seven years; his second nomination was for Casablanca, and his third for Mr. Skeffington.

Most memorable of all was Rains's role in Hitchcock's Notorious, as the motherridden Nazi betrayed by the woman (Ingrid Bergman) he loves, for which he received his fourth and last nomination. Rains, who distinguished himself in numerous films, worked up to his death in 1967, but never he had neevr won an Oscar.

Oscar Alert

In 1939, Rains lost the Supporting Actor Oscar to Thomas Mitchell in “Stagecoach.” In 1943, the Supporting Actor winner was Charles Coburn in “The More the Merrier.” In 1944, the winner was Barry Fitzgerald for “Going My Way,” and in 1946, Harrold Russell for “The Best Years of Our Lives.”