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Oxford-educated Leslie Banks embarked upon a stage career at London's Vaudeville Theatre in 1911. During combat in World War I, Banks' face was scarred and partially paralyzed. Returning to the theater at war's end, Banks was able to use his disfigurement to his advantage, favoring the unblemished side of his face when playing comedy, then conversely utilizing his "marked" side when essaying villains. Some of his more celebrated stage roles included Captain Hook in Peter Pan, Petruchio in Taming of the Shrew, the capricious title character in Springtime for Henry, and the kindly, doddering lead in the original 1938 staging of Goodbye Mr. Chips. He also distinguished himself as a theatrical producer and director. Banks entered films in 1932, starring as diabolical "people hunter" Count Zaroff in The Most Dangerous Game (1932). Leslie Banks continued making occasional film appearances until 1950, most notably as the reluctant hero of Hitchcock's 1934 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much, and the Chorus in Olivier's brilliant Henry V (1945).

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