Fidler in Hollywood (1943)
Fidler in Hollywood
by Jimmie Fidler
The tragic death of Leslie Howard–lost when the passenger plane in which he was flying from Portugal to London was shot down by Nazi fighters–not only rings down the curtain on a great acting career, but robs both England and America of an able ambassador of good will.
Howard was one of the few British actors whose interest in art as developed by the American screen, was actuated by more than a yen for lush earnings. Instead of nursing a supercilious conviction that every thing American was of necessity “crude,” he came here to learn–and to take the knowledge he gleaned back to his own country. While learning he also taught. More than any other Englishman who ever won success in Hollywood, Leslie convinced our producers that the “old country” had many worthwhile thing to offer, too.
In particular, Howard taught Hollywood the importance of treating dignified subjects with dignity. His battle to keep everything garish out of his picture was a reflection of the simplicity with which he lived. He–and a handful of other stars like him–were largely responsible for bringing into American theatres the bulk of the “intelligentsia” who had always scorned everything “Hollywood.”
With England and the United States embarked on an alliance that will undoubtedly last for many years, his death is a great loss. He could have done much to build the understanding and sympathy which will be needed to win peace.
(Nevada State Journal, July 4, 1943)