BiographyHendon, London, England, UK
John Clements hailed from southern England and was educated at St Paul's School in London and St John's College, Cambridge. His acting aspiration prompted his first stage appearance at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith in 1930 in the play "Out of the Blue". Through the 1930s, he continued to develop his acting skills touring with the Ben Greet Company. It was in late 1935 he founded the Intimate Theatre at Palmer's Green in North London. There he provided weekly plays in repertory until 1941. During the war, he worked with Entertainments National Service Association (E.N.S. Read more... ACompany headed by Ralph Richardson and Laurence Olivier, while the theater group was resident at the New Theatre in London. Already he had broken in to films with the Anthony Kimmins science fiction story Once in a New Moon (1935). He had other small parts in two historically significant films of cinema: the Alexander Korda production Rembrandt (1936) with Charles Laughton and the unfinished I, Claudius (1937) of Josef Von Sternberg with its stellar British cast. Clements had another small but most memorable role in the adaption of the James Hilton novel Knight Without Armor (1937), as a young communist police official helping English spy Robert Donat and beautiful noblewoman Marlene Dietrich escape from the Russian Revolution. Clements finally got star billing with Richardson, being chosen by director Victor Saville for the rather soap opera-tinged South Riding (1938). The next year, again with Richardson, he had the romantic lead in his most recognized role as the principled coward who redeems himself fourfold in the epic The Four Feathers (1939) by the ever enterprising Korda Brothers. Though his films numbered less than 30, and into the 1940s the roles became decidedly 'B' in production value, his stage appearances numbered 200. And Clements had found himself drawn to directing as well as acting. He wrote, directed, and produced his film Call of the Blood (1948). Also, he functioned as actor-manager-producer in a number of West End theater productions from the mid-1940s into the early 1950s and others productions to 1957, acting with his second wife actress Kay Hammond to critical success. In 1955, he accepted the appointment as Advisor on Drama to Associated Rediffusion Ltd and also as one of the Board of Directors of the Saville Theatre. He was appointed Director of the Chichester Festival Theatre from 1966 to 1973. He had continued small supporting film and a few TV roles intermittently through the 1960s, his last film appearance being a cameo in the Richard Attenborough biographical flick Gandhi (1982). For his distinguished work as actor, director, and producer John Clements was awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the Queen's Honours List 1956 and awarded Knight Bachelor of the Order of the British Empire in the 1968 Queen's Honours List for his services to drama.