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"the stage lost a fine actor" [SCAN] 

On September 12, 1995, Jeremy Brett passed away at the age of 61 (although contemporary accounts gave his age as 59). It's hard to believe that one of the most influential impersonators of Sherlock Holmes has been gone 20 years.

Many have hailed Brett as the definitive Sherlock Holmes, although it can be argued that each generation has its own definitive Holmes. In our estimation, the value of Brett's performance in the Granada series are due in part to two things: 1) the careful crafting of the Victorian setting and (in the earlier episodes mostly) the faithful adaptation of the Canon; and 2) Brett's own interest and expertise in the Canon and Sherlock Holmes.

In A Study in Celluloid (Wessex Press), Michael Cox, the producer of the Granada series, noted that often times in script readings, Jeremy would make suggestions to steer the writing toward the Canon, with entire paragraphs of dialog being lifted directly from the original writings. Indeed, the team even had their own reference guide that kept the production crew and cast well informed as to Holmes's appearance and habits called The Baker Street File.

We personally remember the outpouring of grief and memories that Sherlock Holmes fans shared online in 1995 — the early days of the Internet — through discussion forums and listservs, and wonder just how the web would have exploded had his death occurred in the present day. Tumblr, Twitter and the like would have exploded with emotion.

Today, at Clapham Common in London, a number of people are gathering at the bandstand for An International Celebration of Jeremy Brett's life, love and laugh. That link will take you to the Facebook event page, where a number of comments and content related to the event and Brett are flowing in. Evidently, word is that David Burke, Brett's first Watson, will be in attendance.

Here are some happier memories of Brett, in his incarnation of Sherlock Holmes.

Anna Massey, Brett's ex-wife, wrote of his passing in her autobiography, Telling Some Tales, "A light went out in many people's lives when he died, for he was one of life's true originals."

Courtesy of The Falk Archive - "KFA"

Farewell again, Jeremy Brett. We appreciate you making the world of Sherlock Holmes the sweeter for your presence.

Image credit: Tumblr

A Study in Celluloid - Michael Cox, producer of the Granada Sherlock Holmes series, takes readers behind the scenes with Jeremy Brett.