“your celebrated friend” [NAVA]
On November 3, 1933 Peter Jeremy William Huggins at Berkswell Grange in Berkswell, West Midlands. He would become known professionally as Jeremy Brett.
He came from an upper-class background — his father was an Army officer and his mother was from the Cadbury confectionary dynasty. Brett would go on to attend Eton, where he was a member of the choir and excelled at singing.
This singing would prove to be helpful as he took on one of his most significant and memorable film roles: Freddy Eynsford-Hill in My Fair Lady (1964). In it, he was reunited with Audrey Hepburn, who also starred in Brett's first film, War and Peace (1956). And although his singing was overdubbed, his presence in the movie was a delight.
The stage and television took much of Brett's attention, and without reviewing his entire curriculum vitae, we'll advance to the early 1980s, when Michael Cox approached him about portraying Sherlock Holmes for Granada Television.
From 1984 to 1994, Brett portrayed Sherlock Holmes in 41 productions for television, giving a believable, if sometimes manic portrayal of the detective that lifted Sherlock Holmes from previously could be described as two-dimensional performances in other productions.
Sadly, Jeremy Brett passed away from heart failure on September 12, 1995 aged 61.
It's difficult to imagine Jeremy Brett as a nonagenarian — although some of the clever disguises he donned as Sherlock Holmes give us an idea...
Like Sherlock Holmes, Brett will remain ever-ingrained in our minds as he looked during that glorious decade of the Granada series. His Sherlock Holmes, to borrow a phrase from Vincent Starrett, "can never die."
More Jeremy Brett from IHOSE:
- Episode 201: Remembering Jeremy Brett (interview with Bending the Willow author David Stuart Davies)
- Episode 203: The Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes Podcast (interview with Gus and Luke Holwerda)
- New Book - Jeremy Brett: Playing a Part
For Your Shopping List
- Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Series [Blu ray] (12-disc set of remastered episodes from Granada)
- Granada's Greatest Detective by Keith Frankel
- Jeremy Brett: Playing a Part by Maureen Whittaker
- Jeremy Brett IS Sherlock Holmes by Maureen Whittaker
- A Sherlock Holmes album: A centenary celebration of Sherlock Holmes, 1887-1987 (Granada companion)