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Sydney Deane
Sydney Leslie Deane.png
Personal information
Full nameSydney Leslie Deane
Born(1863-03-01)1 March 1863
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Died20 March 1934(1934-03-20) (aged 71)
New York, US
Domestic team information
1890New South Wales
First-class debut25 January 1890 New South Wales v Victoria
Last First-class14 February 1890 New South Wales v South Australia
Career statistics
Competition First-class
Matches 2
Runs scored 26
Batting average 26.00
100s/50s 0/0
Top score 23*
Balls bowled 0
Bowling average
5 wickets in innings
10 wickets in match
Best bowling
Catches/stumpings 7/0
Source: CricketArchive, 21 September 2008

Sydney Leslie Deane (1 March 1863 – 20 March 1934[1]) was a first-class cricketer and entertainer, and the first Australian to appear in a Hollywood movie.[2]


Born in Balmain, Sydney, to Edward and Sophia, Deane was a promising junior Rugby Union player and represented New South Wales against Queensland.[2] Along with his cousins, Australian Test captain Billy Murdoch and Norman Deane, who played first-class cricket for New South Wales,[3] Deane also excelled in cricket, and made his first-class debut for New South Wales, against Victoria, at the Association Ground, Sydney on 25 January 1890. A wicket-keeper, Deane held six catches, at that time an Australian first-class record[2] and caught the attention of the selectors for the Australian squad for the upcoming Ashes tour of Britain.[2] In the next match, against South Australia, Deane also performed well, and starred in a non-first-class match against a Queensland XV.

On 19 February 1890, Deane was selected in the Australian cricket squad.[4] However, the Victorian members of the squad protested against Deane's inclusion, arguing that it was favouritism towards New South Wales. Victorian wicket keeper Jack Blackham, a key member of the Australian side, went as far as to threaten to boycott the tour if Deane was selected ahead of fellow Victorian Jack Harry.[2] Eventually a compromise wicket keeper, Tasmanian Kenneth Burn was selected,[5] although Burn had never kept wicket in his life.[2]

Following the Test selection drama, Deane moved to Melbourne after accepting an offer to appear with J.C. Williamson's theatrical troupe.[2] Deane "possessed a magnificant tenor voice"[2] and quickly became a leading performer around Australia and New Zealand, appearing in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas such as The Gondoliers.[6] Deane also moved into theatre production management, co-founding and managing the Elite Vaudeville Company, which ran a number of productions starring Deane, including a farce based on Trilby entitled Trill-B!, in which Deane played the character of Sven-Garlic.[7]

Deane married Maggie Melrose, an actress in Melbourne comic opera, in 1891. She died in New York in 1922.[8][9]

Deane continued to play cricket in Melbourne, and although unable to break into the Victorian side, due to the presence of Blackham, Deane represented East Melbourne against an English touring side in 1892.

Deane left Australia for the United States of America in the late 1890s, where he soon became a leading Vaudeville entertainer,[10] appearing on Broadway musicals,[11] including the original cast of Florodora, which ran for 553 performances, The Woggle-Bug, (based on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz),[2] The Knickerbocker Girl and My Lady Molly.[12]

Sydney Deane (center) in The Last of the Mohicans (1920)
Sydney Deane (center) in The Last of the Mohicans (1920)

Impressed by his acting ability, Jesse L. Lasky recruited Deane to join the Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company, which relocated to Hollywood to produce films.[13] Deane made his film debut in 1914 in the original version of Brewster's Millions, which was Cecil B. DeMille's second film. Deane appeared in a number of DeMille's early films before signing a contract with Universal Pictures, where he appeared in movies alongside Lon Chaney Sr..

While acting, Deane continued to play cricket, firstly in New York for the "New York Veterans"[14] and later in California, where he played into his late fifties.[15]

Deane's final film appearance was in the 1924 film America, directed by D.W. Griffith, after which he retired to New York, where he died, aged 71.[16] Unusually for an actor and cricketer of his significance, neither Variety or Wisden ran his obituary.


Title Year Role Notes
Brewster's Millions 1914 Jonas Sedgwick
The Call of the North 1914 McTavish
The Virginian 1914 Uncle Hughey
The Making of Bobby Burnit 1914 Silas Trimmer aka Bobby Burnit
What's His Name 1914 Uncle Peter
Ready Money 1914 Owner of the Skyrocket
Rose of the Rancho 1914 Ranch Owner
The Girl of the Golden West 1915 Sidney Duck
The Goose Girl 1915 Prince Regent of Jugendheit
The Warrens of Virginia 1915 General Harding
A Gentleman of Leisure 1915 Sir Thomas Blunt
Stolen Goods 1915 Mr. North
The Arab 1915 Dr. Hilbert
The Secret Orchard 1915 Nanette's father
The Scarlet Chastity 1916
Playthings of the Gods 1916
The Evil Women Do 1916 Malgat/Papa Ravinet Billed as "Sydney Dean". The film was also known as The Clique of Gold.
Melting Millions 1917 Uncle Peter
The Grip of Love 1917
The Field of Honor 1917 Poole Billed as "Sidney Deane".
A Doll's House 1917 Dr. Rank
The Gray Ghost 1917
The Reed Case 1917 John Reed Billed as "Sydney Dean".
Sirens of the Sea 1917 Wellington Stanhope Released as Darlings of the Gods in the United Kingdom.
Beloved Jim 1917 Lawrence Darcy
The Wife He Bought 1918 James Brierson
The Midnight Trail 1918 Reverend Robert Moreland
Breakers Ahead 1918 Hiram Hawley
No Man's Land 1918
The Lure of the Circus 1918 Reynolds Billed as "Sidney Deane".
A Man and His Money 1919 John Sturgeon
The Crimson Gardenia 1919 Papa la Forge Billed as "Sidney Deane".
Male and Female 1919 Thomas
The Midlanders 1920 Judge Van Hart
Treasure Island 1920 Squire Trelawney
The Strange Boarder 1920 Dawson
Once a Plumber 1920 Fenelon Billed as "Sidney Deane".
The Last of the Mohicans 1920 General Webb
Find the Woman 1922 Sofford
Missing Millions 1922 Donald Gordon
Her Own Story 1922
The Broken Violin 1923 Dr. Mason
America 1924 Sir Ashley Montague Released as Love and Sacrifice in the UK.

See also


  1. ^ Varying dates have been given for Deane's birth and death. Bonnell gives a birth year of 1866 and death as 1934, CricketArchive provides 1 March 1863 and 20 March 1934, Cricinfo lists 1 March 1866 and 20 March 1934 and the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) gives 1869 and 1 March 1939 (IMDB also gives "Austria" as Deane's place of birth). The New South Wales Births, Deaths and Marriages states 1 March 1863 as his date of birth and the New York City Births, Deaths and Marriages lists Sidney (sic) Deane's date of death as 20 March 1934.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Bonnell, M. (2004) "Men of Many Talents", The Journal of the Cricket Society, vol. 21, no. 4., The Cricket Society.
  3. ^ "Norman Deane", Cricket Archive, Accessed 13 September 2008.
  4. ^ Evening Post, "The Australian Team For England", 20 February 1890
  5. ^ Grey River Argus, "The Australian Eleven", 12 March 1890.
  6. ^ New Zealand Herald, "Review of the New Zealand Premiere of The Gondoliers", 16 September 1892. Accessed 20 September 2008.
  7. ^ Djubal, C. (2008) "Trill-B! ; Or, Svengalee the Great Hypnotiser", AustLit. Accessed 21 September 2008.
  8. ^ "Deaths". The Argus: 1. 30 December 1922.
  9. ^ "Cricketer and Singer". Smith's Weekly: 20. 20 March 1920.
  10. ^ New York Times, "Treasurer's Club Benefit", 26 February 1900.
  11. ^ New York Times, "Another Musical Show for Broadway's Summer Season", 14 June 1903.
  12. ^ Cullen, F. (2007), Vaudeville, old & new: an encyclopedia of variety performers in America, Volume 1, Routledge. ISBN 0-415-93853-8.
  13. ^ Birchard, R. & Thomas, K. (2004) Cecil B. DeMille's Hollywood, University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-2324-0.
  14. ^ New York Times, "Close Scores in Cricket Matches", 31 May 1912.
  15. ^ New York Times, "Narrowly Escapes Defeat; Manor Field Lucky to Get Draw With Brooklyn", 6 August 1921
  16. ^ "New York City Death Index Results" Accessed 21 September 2008.

External links

This page was last edited on 18 June 2021, at 07:43
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