Walter Passmore

Walter Passmore

English singer and actor
Date of Birth: 10.05.1867
Country: Great Britain

Biography of Walter Passmore

Walter Henry Passmore was born on May 10, 1867, in London, England. He started his professional career at the age of 14, playing the role of a page in the pantomime "Cinderella." Before becoming an actor, Passmore worked as a pianist. He made his debut on the London stage in 1890 and joined the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in 1893, quickly becoming one of the leading comedians in the troupe.

In 1903, Passmore left the opera and began his career in musical comedies, plays, and pantomimes in London's West End. Over the next thirty years, he toured extensively and also performed in notable productions on the West End, including "The Earl and the Girl," "Madame Pompadour," and "The Talk of the Town."

Passmore was also a chorister at the All Saints Church in Notting Hill and initially trained as a piano maker before pursuing a career as a pianist. After his acting debut in London, in the play "The Flying Scud" at the Standard Theatre, Passmore performed in musicals for the next three years.

Joining the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in 1893, Passmore initially had minor roles but later gained recognition for his portrayal of Babinet in "Mirette" in 1894. In the same year, Passmore celebrated the birth of his daughter, whom he named Mirette, possibly as a tribute to his breakthrough role in the opera.

Returning to the Savoy Theatre in 1895, Passmore played the role of Ko-Ko in the revived opera "The Mikado" and also appeared as Duke Rudolph in Gilbert and Sullivan's last opera, "The Grand Duke." In 1898, he played the Devil in the original production of "The Beauty Stone."

After his performance in the comedy "The Lucky Star" in 1899, Arthur Sullivan wrote in his diary, "All the fun of the piece resides in Passmore. Take him away, and there is nothing left." Passmore continued to leave his mark in operas such as "The Rose of Persia," "The Pirates of Penzance," "The Emerald Isle," and "Iolanthe."

Passmore remained in London when the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company went on tour in 1903 and shifted his focus to the West End. He remained involved in musical comedies, plays, and pantomimes for about 30 years.

In 1900, Passmore married Agnes Fraser, an actress from the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company who often performed alongside him. The couple had four children: Henry, who became the managing director of Hammer Film Studios from 1935 to 1937; Nancy, who married tenor Joseph Hislop; John, and Isobel.

Walter Passmore passed away in London on August 29, 1946, at the age of 79. Between 1900 and 1913, he recorded more than ten songs from Gilbert and Sullivan operas on the Odeon label. Some of these recordings were later reissued by the Pearl label on LP and CD formats.