Rex Harrison's primary love was the stage, but luckily for us he left a legacy of films as well.  His film career began in the 1930s and spanned over 50 years, producing such enduring classics as Blithe Spirit (1945), The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947), and of course, My Fair Lady (1964). His work in theater began in the 1920s and continued until three weeks before his death in 1990.

His extreme perfectionism resulted in a reputation for being "difficult" to work with. He could be arrogant, self-centered, and certainly had a problem with marital fidelity, but watching Rex on the screen is to see a
 
master of timing and nuance, a sheer presence that commands the viewer's attention.  "I don't remember a time before I wanted to be an actor," he would say later. "I seem to have grown up knowing this was what I was going to do."

He was born Reginald Carey Harrison on March 5, 1908 in the town of Huyton, outside Liverpool.  At the tender age of six, he decided he was not a "Reg" nor a "Reggie" and announced he had chosen the name "Rex" for himself. "It would be nice to think that this regal choice was influenced by the heroic deeds of some ancient king or other, but alas, it was but a childish, arbitrary choice which may at best have occurred because I'd heard someone calling his dog to heel."

The newly minted Rex's father, William Reginald Harrison, was a engineer by trade and a sportsman by preference. His mother, Edith Carey, tended to be the driving force of the family, which included Rex's two older sisters, Marjorie and Sylvia.  Being the youngest, and the only son, Rex was something of a pampered mama's boy. He was also prone to illnesses, including a serious case of measles that permanently damaged his sight in one eye.
 


Rex attended a local boys' school, Liverpool College, where his scholastic achievements "remained unmarked by brilliance," as he later put it. He did however take any opportunity to appear in school plays and far out-distanced any of his classmates with his performances.  He left school at the age of sixteen to start his training for the professional stage.

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