In ancient Egypt, basil was likely used as an embalming and preserving herb as it has been found in tombs and mummies. Perhaps because of its embalming applications, basil was also a symbol of mourning in Greece where it was known as basilikon phuton , meaning magnificent, royal, or kingly herb. Basil also has a strong history in ancient traditional medicines like Ayurveda, the traditional medicinal system of ancient India, in addition to other medicinal herbal traditions. Basil also carried diverse cultural and symbolic meaning through history.
For instance, in Jewish folklore basil is believed to add strength while fasting. In Portugal, basil plants make up part of a gift to a sweetheart or lover on certain religious holidays. Whereas in ancient Greece, basil symbolized hatred. These are but a few examples of the lasting cultural importance of the herb.
Basil continues to have diverse applications in modern kitchens and science labs. In cooking, basil is most commonly used fresh in cooked recipes. More often than not, the fresh leaves are added at the last moment, as cooking quickly destroys the herb's distinct flavor. But today as also seen throughout history, basil is not only used as a food flavoring, but also in perfumery, incense, and herbal holistic remedies. In his family had to flee to escape the Boers because Rathbone's father was accused of being a British spy.
What is known is that his father, Edgar Philip Rathbone, was a mining engineer, and his mother, Anna Barbara Rathbone, a violinist. Basil was the eldest of three children. He had a younger sister Beatrice and a younger brother John. More interested in sports than studying, Rathbone called "Ratters" by his friends excelled in sports. While at school, he developed a love of the theater.
When he left school, Basil told his father he wanted to make the theater his profession. His father persuaded him to agree to work for one year at an insurance company and hoped that Rathbone would forget about the theater.
The Life of Saint Basil the Younger
After the obligatory year, Rathbone visited his cousin Frank Benson, an accomplished actor and manager of his own company. Cousin Frank gave him a job, but did not bestow favors upon him. Rathbone had to learn acting and earn the good parts. Rathbone started acting in the No. Early in Rathbone left the stage to join World War I. He last saw his mother when he said goodbye to her at Victoria Station. She died in Marion Foreman World War I.
After his return from the war, Rathbone's theatre career picked up and he performed in Stratford on Avon, and in London. His marriage, however, broke up. He left Marion and his son Rodion, and set up house on his own. Although he was not making much money, Rathbone struggled to pay for two households. He did not want his wife and son to suffer financially because of his decision to leave them.
Bl. Basil Anthony Mary Moreau () - Biography
During this time Rathbone wrestled with a sense of guilt with regard to his son. He writes: "Self-condemnation fought bitterly with self- justification, and there was no one to turn to and talk with about such intimate personal matters. Rathbone acted in many Shakespeare plays then, and loved many different women. In November of that year, Rathbone met Ouida Bergere, a scriptwriter. They fell in love and made plans to marry.
Before that could happen, however, Rathbone needed to get a divorce from Marion Foreman.
They had separated in , but had not divorced. They had barely forgiven me for taking up acting as a profession.
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I knew all too well what their reaction to a divorce would be. Rathbone's father died on June 13, Basil and Ouida were married on April 18, , in New York. Their marriage was by most accounts a very happy one, and lasted until Rathbone's death in They shared a love of reading books and watching boxing. Both of them thought that Sugar Ray Robinson was wonderful. Basil was also a baseball fan and an enthusiastic golfer. Although he tried, Rathbone never succeeded in getting Ouida interested in golf. To learn more about Ouida, see this page: Ouida Bergere Rathbone.
The Rathbones also shared a love of dogs. Pictured to the right is Basil with his favorite dog Moritz. In his biography of Basil Rathbone, Michael Druxman relates an amusing story about Moritz: "One evening, Rathbone was walking with the dog along New York's 46th street, when Moritz, unable to find a lamp post, decided to relieve himself on the leg of a woman pedestrian.
Basil, red-faced and at a loss for words, could barely sputter out an apology. Luckily, the woman was so impressed at meeting Basil Rathbone, that she told him to forget the whole matter and went on her way. During the s most of Basil Rathbone's work was in the theater. One of these plays, The Captive , caused Rathbone to be arrested.
A new association
Rathbone was cast in the role of Jacques, a young man engaged to be married. Since homosexuality was such a controversial topic during the s, the entire cast was charged with offending public morals, and the play was closed. The charges were eventually dropped, but Rathbone was very angry about the censorship. He and many others involved with the play felt that The Captive was a great play, which addressed an issue important to society, something people needed to know about.
Rathbone made eight films during the s.
The Last of Mrs. Cheyney was a great success in and made film producers sit up and take notice of Rathbone. He was in demand for several films after that and also continued to do stage plays in the early s. Rathbone made seven films in alone! He also made three films in England during The Rathbones finally moved to Hollywood in The Rathbones gained a reputation for throwing lavish and expensive! At one such party Errol Flynn got drunk, followed a young lady home and passed out on her living room sofa. Later that night, the woman's father brought the unconscious Flynn back to the Rathbone's house and dumped him on the lawn.
Who should spring up from the grass, but a hung-over Errol Flynn. Rathbone made many great films during the s. In most of them he played the role of the villain, including one of his best-known roles: Sir Guy of Gisbourne The Adventures of Robin Hood. The swashbuckling adventure roles were the most fun for Rathbone, and he trained to become an accomplished swordsman. I thought it was a wonderful exercise, a great sport. But I would not put it under the category of sport; I would put it under the category of the arts.
I think it's tremendously skillful and very beautiful. The only actor I actually fought with on the screen was Flynn, and that's the only time I was really scared. I wasn't scared because he was careless but because he didn't know how to protect himself" quoted in Castle of Frankenstein , issue, pages Both times the award went to Walter Brennan instead of to Rathbone. In the late s, Rathbone's son Rodion joined the family in Hollywood and lived with them for a year. It appears that Rathbone tried to keep in touch with his son over the years and visited him when he was in England.
Rathbone spent a few months in England in the summer of He returned to England in June and stayed until October He also worked in the studio's technical department. Late in , Rodion met Caroline Fisher, a drama student, on a motion picture set. They were married the following spring.
Ouida Rathbone staged a grand Hollywood wedding reception for Rodion and Caroline in the garden of the Rathbone home. All the Hollywood stars came to the party and the movie fan magazines published photos of the celebrities at Ouida's recent event. Rodion and Caroline felt that they should have been the center of attention at their own wedding, and not just part of the background. Ouida felt that Rodion and Caroline should have been grateful to her for all her hard work in planning and executing this wonderful wedding reception for them.
This difference of opinion led to an unfortunate blowup between Rodion and Caroline on one side, and Ouida and Basil on the other side. They exchanged words that led to Basil saying, "I never want to see you again. As a result, Rodion and Caroline left the Rathbone household, and moved to Chicago. He trained to be a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Related Basil [with Biographical Introduction]
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