Egomaniac. Heel. Rotter. Villain. Scoundrel. George Sanders has been called all of these and then some, and he took no offense. As a matter of fact, his autobiography is called Memoirs of a Professional Cad. Never was there a more decadent, delicious, deliberate bad egg in all filmdom than George Sanders. His voice, a deep, silky British accent, would carry lusciously to the ear, any number of cynacisms and indignities to any target he chose. Male, female, rich or poor, his verbal affronts knew no bounds. Oh but his verbal assaults were always carried out with style. His characters were always impeccably dressed, always slightly (and sometimes not so slightly) menacing, snobbish with a droll wit. These intrinsic elements of his persona were used to peak perfection in his portrayal of acid tongued critic Addison DeWitt in the film masterpiece All About Eve.
Sanders was born in Russia in 1906 to English parents. The family escaped to England in 1917 during the Russian Revolution. Entering the American cinema in the mid 1930's, Sanders didn't hit his stride until 1940 when Alfred Hitchcock cast him as the obnoxious and despicable Jack Favell in his classic Rebecca. Hitchcock used him again that same year in Foreign Correspondant. Then a string of Nazis and other nasty nellies followed including an unrecognizable turn as a red headed pirate (?) in the Tyrone Power swashbuckler The Black Swan (1942). Eventually Sanders began to find his groove, as an incomparable heel in Summer Storm (1944), The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) and The Fan (1949). He was also an incorrigible King Charles II in the historical bed hopper Forever Amber (1947).
Then in 1950 came his pinnacle role, the one for which he is most closely identified, Addison DeWitt. For his performance as the theater critic with the poison pen, Sanders won an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor. Among so many grand personalities and egos, he more than held his own, introducing Marilyn Monroe's buxom sexpot character, Miss Caswell, as "a graduate of the Copacabana School of Dramatic Art." Classic Sanders.
Of course there were his many marriages, including one to super celeb Zsa Zsa Gabor and later to Gabor's sister, Magda, but all ended in divorce. As Sanders aged, he went into decline. Plagued with health problems and fits of rage, he became weary of life itself. Finally in April 1972, he was found dead in a hotel room in Barcelona, Spain. Also found, five empty bottles of Nembutal and an infamous suicide note, which read: "Dear World, I am leaving because I am bored. I feel I have lived long enough. I am leaving you with your worries in this sweet cesspool. Good luck." The urbane cynic who sneered in the face of convention remained unrepentant to the very end.