Jeremy Brett Biography

Television Actor, Theater Actor, Actor, Film Actor (1933–1995)
Jeremy Brett was a British actor and singer known for his roles in My Fair Lady and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.


Born on November 3, 1933, in Berkswell Grange, England, Jeremy Brett went on to pursue a career onstage in London before landing film roles in War and Peace and My Fair Lady. He later starred as the titular detective in the popular BBC and PBS series The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, which had spinoffs throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Brett died on Septemner 12, 1995, in London, England.


Early Life

Actor Peter Jeremy William Huggins was born on November 3, 1933, in Berkswell, Warwickshire, England. Brett is best known for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, perhaps the most famous fictional detective of all time. The son of a British army colonel, he created his stage name at his father's insistence. His father thought acting was not an honorable profession and did not want his son tarnish the family name. Some reports say he took the name "Brett" from the label on his suit.

Acting Debut

After attending Eton College, a private boarding school for boys, Brett went to the Central School of Speech and Drama. He made his stage debut while a member of the Library Theatre Company in Manchester in 1954 and later joined the Old Vic Theatre Company in London. With the company, he traveled to New York City in the fall of 1956 where he performed in several Shakespearean plays. He played the role of the Troilus in the tragedy Troilus and Cressida; Malcolm in Macbeth; Paris in Romeo and Juliet; and the Duke of Aumerle in King Richard II.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Brett performed in a number of films and on television. His most famous role from that time was Freddy Eynsford-Hill in My Fair Lady (1964). In the film Brett plays a young upper-class man who falls in love with Eliza Doolittle, played by Audrey Hepburn. He made guest appearances on several popular American television shows, such as The Incredible Hulk and Hart to Hart.

'Sherlock Holmes'

The Shakespearean-trained actor had his first encounter with Sherlock Holmes in 1980. He played Dr. Watson in the stage production The Crucifer of Blood opposite Charlton Heston as Holmes. Later he took on the role of the intensely analytical detective himself in the television series The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in 1985.

While he received accolades for his portrayal of the legendary detective, Brett experienced some personal hardships during his days as Sherlock Holmes. His second wife, producer Joan Wilson, died in 1985, and Brett was deeply hurt by this loss. He became very depressed and later learned he had bipolar disorder, which is a mental illness usually marked by manic and depressive episodes.

Despite his personal obstacles, Brett continued to act. He played Sherlock Holmes several times over the next eight years in three television productions. Little did anyone know that 1994's Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes would be one of Brett's final performances.

Unexpected Death

Brett died of a heart failure on September 12, 1995, in London, England. His last film role was a part in Moll Flanders, which was released the following year. Brett is survived by his son, author David Huggins, from his first marriage to actress Anna Massey, which lasted from 1958 to 1962.

Since his death, Brett's portrayal of the world's most famous detective continues to be shown on television, remaining a popular program with mystery fans.

Fact Check

We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us!