Star Archive

Gordon Harker (1885 - 1967)

Gordon Harker's lugubrious features graced British cinema for over 30 years. As star or featured player he was rarely anything other than a Cockney crook, landlord or copper but he never seemed to mind the typecasting.

He was born into a theatrical family. His grandmother was an actress and his father was a renowned scene painter. Harker and his brothers joined the family scene-painting business but Gordon had the urge to tread the boards as a player. He first took to the stage in 1903 for a walk on in Ellen Terry's Much Ado About Nothing. For the next decade he did bits and bobs until war broke out. He served with the 8th Hampshires at Gallipoli and Palestine. He was wounded in 1917 which left him with a limp and when he was invalided out of the army he resumed his theatrical career. 

The play that catapulted him to fame was Edgar Wallace's The Ringer. Harker was recommended by Nigel Bruce to the director Gerald du Maurier who was looking for a Cockney to play one of the featured characters. The play was a hit and Harker was a big factor in its success. Wallace was to write several more plays with roles for Harker.

Now cinema came calling. He had made one minor film before, General John Regan, but The Ring was an important production from rising director Alfred Hitchcock and Harker had a showy role as a boxer's second. From this point on, Harker was never far down the cast list of his films.

His next two were also by Hitchcock and when sound arrived he appeared in Hitchcock's segment of Elstree Calling (by far the worst part of the film). 1930s cinema took to the works of Edgar Wallace with enthusiasm, and Harker benefitted hugely from this craze.  In common with many other actors of this period, he continued his stage work while filming. As well as his Edgar Wallace successes he brought other stage roles to the screen such as in The Phantom Light and Warn That Man.  Perhaps his biggest stage success was Acacia Avenue (filmed as 29 Acacia Avenue)

His career was cut short by a fall in 1958, but he left behind a solid legacy as one of the great character actors in British cinema.

Cigarette card of Gordon HarkerPublicity shot of Gordon HarkerGordon Harker in Britannia of BillingsgateGordon Harker in Boys Will Be BoysGordon Harker in The Frog


1921 General John Regan
1927 The Ring
1928 The Farmer's Wife
1928 Champagne
1929 The Return of the Rat
1929 The Flying Scotsman
1929 The Crooked Billet
1929 Taxi for Two
1929 The Wrecker
1930 Elstree Calling
1930 All Riot on the Western Front
1930 The W Plan
1930 The Squeaker
1930 Escape!
1931 Third Time Lucky
1931 The Sport of Kings
1931 The Gaunt Stranger
1931 The Man they Couldn't Arrest
1931 Bachelor's Folly
1931 The Stronger Sex
1931 The Professional Guest
1931 Shadows
1932 Condemned to Death
1932 Whiteface
1932 Love on Wheels
1932 Rome Express
1932 The Lucky Number
1933 Friday the Thirteenth
1933 This is the Life
1933 Britannia of Billingsgate
1934 My Old Dutch
1934 Road House
1934 Dirty Work
1935 The Lad
1935 Squibs
1935 Admirals All
1935 Boys Will Be Boys
1935 The Phantom Light
1935 Hyde Park Corner
1936 The Amateur Gentleman
1936 Wolf's Clothing
1936 Two's Company
1936 The Story of Papworth
1937 Beauty and the Barge
1937 The Frog
1937 Millions
1938 No Parking
1938 Return of the Frog
1938 Lightning Conductor
1938 Blondes for Danger
1938 Inspector Hornleigh
1939 Inspector Hornleigh on Holiday
1940 Saloon Bar
1940 Channel Incident
1941 Inspector Hornleigh Goes to It
1941 Once a Crook
1943 Warn That Man
1945 29 Acacia Avenue
1948 Things Happen By Night
1950 The Second Mate
1950 Her Favourite Husband
1952 Derby Day
1954 Bang! You're Dead
1955 Out of the Clouds
1956 A Touch of the Sun
1957 Small Hotel
1959 Left Right and Centre

Gordon Harker at Amazon UK  

Gordon Harker at Amazon US