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Jack Trevor

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Jack Trevor
German postcard, 1928-1929
Anthony Cedric Sebastian Steane

(1893-12-14)14 December 1893
London, England
Died19 December 1976(1976-12-19) (aged 83)
Deal, Kent, England
Other namesCedric Steane
Years active1922-1943

Anthony Cedric Sebastian Steane (14 December 1893 – 19 December 1976), known by the stage name Jack Trevor, was a British film actor of the silent and early sound era.[1] Based in Weimar (and later Nazi) Germany, he acted in 67 films between 1922 and 1943. He was later convicted by the Central Criminal Court of collaboration for appearing in multiple propaganda films of the Nazi regime, but his sentence was overturned on the basis that he'd only worked under duress.[2]

Early life and military service

Trevor was born Anthony Cedric Sebastian Steane in London in 1893, to upper-class parents. He studied at New College, Oxford, and was drafted into the British Army, where he was posted to the Manchester Regiment. By 1915, he was posted to Gallipoli and later France as an acting Second Lieutenant. He was wounded in action in 1916, and was for a time invalidated out of service.

In June 1917, while under orders to return to France after sick leave, he absented himself; and in December was convicted at the Central Criminal Court on a charge of obtaining jewelry by fraud and sentenced to 6 months imprisonment at Wormwood Scrubs. He was cashiered that same month,[3] but was later re-drafted in March 1918. He subsequently went deserted again in May of that year. He would later claim to have won the Military Cross for his service, but records indicate this was false.

Germany and film stardom

Sometime after the war, he married an Austrian woman named Alma, supposedly an illegitimate daughter of Crown Prince Rudolf, who committed suicide a year into their marriage.

He moved to Berlin in 1922 following an offer with producer Frederic Zelnik, and began acting in silent films under the stage name "Jack Trevor." He was often cast as a prototypical "English gentleman" or other sophisticates, in everything from minor to major roles.

He remarried and had two sons, re-settling in Oberammergau and living off his affluent family's vast fortune.

Nazi Propaganda films

In September 1939, he was arrested and interned by the Gestapo as an enemy alien. Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels demanded he record English-language radio broadcasts for the regime. Though he initially refused, he later complied due to threats against himself and his family. Over the course of the war, he appeared in several propaganda films, including Carl Peters, Ohm Krüger, and My Life for Ireland.

Post-war life and trial

After the surrender and dissolution of the Nazi government, Trevor surrendered himself to Allied forces. He was extradited to the United Kingdom in 1945 and interned for two years while awaiting trial for war crimes. In 1947, he was convicted by the Central Criminal Court of "doing acts likely to assist the enemy with intent to assist the enemy" and sentenced to three years imprisonment (of a possible life sentence), but later successfully appealed the conviction, on the grounds that he was acting under duress.[2] The case is recorded as R v Steane.

Trevor eventually moved to Deal, Kent, and died in 1976.


See also


  1. ^ "Jack Trevor". BFI.
  2. ^ a b Trow, M. J. (2008). War Crimes. Barnsley: Pen & Sword. ISBN 978-1-84415-728-0.
  3. ^ National Archives
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