Lyn Harding

Lyn Harding (12 October 1867 – 26 December 1952) (real name David Llewellyn Harding) was a Welsh actor who spent 40 years on the stage before entering British made silent films, talkies and radio. He had an imposing and menacing stage presence and came to be cast as the villain in many films, notably Professor Moriarty in dramatisations of the Sherlock Holmes stories.

Early years
He was born in 1867 at St Brides Wentloog, in Monmouthshire, into a strict Congregationalist Welsh-speaking family.

Acting career
He started his career as an apprentice draper in Newport, Wales and but he was drawn to an acting career . He began giving readings from Shakespeare at a chapel in Cardiff. In 1890 a chance meeting with a touring group on a train led to him standing in for a sick actor and his first professional engagement. He opened on 28 August 1890 in ‘The Grip Of Iron’ at the Theatre Royal, Bristol.

He toured the Provinces and eventually made his London debut at the Shakespeare Theatre, Clapham on 19 July 1897.

He later changed his name to “Lyn” to make it more acceptable to English audiences who found “Llewellyn” difficult to pronounce.

His career spanned stage, silent screen, talkies and radio productions and he toured in the USA, Japan, India and Burma. He worked at different times with John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson and Anthony Quayle.

His last stage appearance was as Abu Hassan in Chu Chin Chow in the West End in 1941 when he was 74 years old.

At the age of nearly 80 he played Owain Glyndŵr in Shakespeare’s Henry IV for BBC radio.

He lived for many years in Hemel Hempstead and died in London.


  • 1920 Bachelor Husband
  • 1922 When Knighthood Was in Flower
  • 1924 Yolanda
  • 1927 Further Adventures of the Flag Lieutenant
  • 1927 Land of Hope and Glory
  • 1930 Sleeping Partners
  • 1931 The Speckled Band
  • 1932 The Barton Mystery
  • 1933 The Constant Nymph
  • 1934 The Lash
  • 1934 The Man Who Changed His Name
  • 1934 Wild Boy
  • 1935 Escape Me Never
  • 1935 The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes
  • 1936 An Old Spanish Custom
  • 1936 Spy of Napoleon
  • 1936 The Man Who Changed His Mind
  • 1937 Fire over England
  • 1937 Knight Without Armour
  • 1937 Les Perles De La Couronne
  • 1937 Murder at the Baskervilles
  • 1937 Please Teacher
  • 1937 Silver Blaze
  • 1937 The Mutiny on the Elsinore
  • 1937 Underneath the Arches
  • 1939 Goodbye, Mr. Chips
  • 1939 The Missing People
  • 1941 The Prime Minister
  • 1941 Sherlock Holmes: The Silver Blaze

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