Joined the Liverpool Repertory Theatre at age 16 and toured in road companies for nine years until making his West End stage debut in Getting George Married in 1930, the same year as his first big-screen appearance in The Great Game.
Served as a flight lieutenant in the Royal Air Force during World War II.
Hollywood success came with back-to-back features Anna and the King of Siam (1946) and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947).
Had an affair with struggling actress Carole Landis while still married to Lilli Palmer; he found Landis's body after she took an overdose of pills in 1948.
Loathed the nickname "Sexy Rexy" given to him by gossip columnist Walter Winchell.
Reached the height of his stage career with his 1956 Tony Award-winning role of Professor Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady; he also won an Oscar for the film version in 1964.
Was fired during preproduction of the musical flop Doctor Dolittle due to his poor behavior, but was ultimately rehired after he promised to change his conduct.
Was made a Knight Bachelor by Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 81.
1964, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Winner
1968, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: Nominee
1966, Golden Globe — Henrietta Award (World Film Favorites): Winner
1964, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama: Nominee
1984, Tony — Actor (Play): Nominee
1965, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: Winner
1963, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Nominee
1957, Tony — Actor (Musical): Winner
1969, Tony — Special Award: Winner
1949, Tony — Actor (Dramatic): Winner
1966, BAFTA Film Awards — Best British Actor: Nominee
1966, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama: Nominee