Archived news release from 22 November 2005Lye movie star gets civic honour
A famous blue plaque and movie-based sculpture to honour Lye-born actor Sir Cedric Hardwicke are being unveiled at a special ceremony this week.
Guests including the late actor’s son Edward Hardwicke, also an accomplished actor, will pay tribute to Sir Cedric on Friday November 25.
The star of stage and screen was born at Lye Cross in 1893. He died in 1964 following a hugely successful acting career, which saw him star in hundreds of films, plays and television shows.
The sculptural tribute to Sir Cedric will be lit up for the first time as the grand finale of the Lye Winter Fayre at 7pm at Lye Cross.
The ceremony will be performed by Edward Hardwicke, who most recently had a role in Polanski’s ‘Oliver Twist’.
The sculpture takes the form of a filmstrip, the illuminated cut metal panels illustrating scenes from some of Sir Cedric’s famous films, which include The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Shape of Things to Come, and The Ghost of Frankenstein.
The sculpture project was co-ordinated by Dudley borough artist and public art adviser Steve Field and created by renowned local metal sculptor Tim Tolkien in his Cradley studio.
As well as the sculpture a blue plaque will be unveiled on the wall of Lye Library at the opposite end of the High Street at 6.30pm.
Appropriately, Sir Cedric himself had returned to Lye in 1935, 70 years ago, to open the very same library. The blue plaque will be unveiled by Edward Hardwicke and former Lye councillor Alderman John Simpson.
Sir Cedric was one of the great character actors and after leaving Lye trained at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
He made his stage debut 1912. His career was interrupted by military service in World War I, but he returned to the stage in 1922 with the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, distinguishing himself as Caesar in George Bernard Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra, which was his ticket to the London stage.
For his extensive work on the stage and in films, he was knighted by King George V in 1934, a time when very few actors received such an honour.
Hardwicke first performed on the American stage in 1936 and moved to the United States permanently after spending the 1948 season with the Old Vic.
His last film was The Pumpkin Eater in 1964. He died later that year in New York City, New York.
Councillor Charles Fraser Macnamara, cabinet member for leisure and culture, said:
"Sir Cedric Hardwicke famously once said ‘England was his wife, America his mistress and that it was very good sometimes to get away from his wife’. But we are pleased his memory lives on in his son and that both the plaque and sculpture serve as a constant reminder of Lye’s most famous residents."
--- Note To Editors ---
Release Date: 22 November 2005
Directorate: Urban Environment
Contact: Jan Jennings, Marketing and communications
Phone: 01384 817450
Address: Directorate of the Urban Environment, 3 St. James's Road, Dudley, West Midlands. DY1 1HZ