Courtleigh, William

Cortleigh
Official Club portrait of Courtleigh

William Courtleigh, 13th Shepherd of The Lambs, from 1913-1917. It’s believed that in 1913 he provided the name for the acting union that became Actors Equity. Twenty of twenty-one of the original Equity Council were Lambs. During the 1919 Actors Strike, the union won significant esteem in its defeat of the Producing Managers Association.

Courtleigh was born on June 28, 1867 in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Among his early Broadway credits are Northern Lights, which opened in December 1895 at the American Theatre. In 1905 he played Doctor Watson in Sherlock Holmes at the Empire Theatre; William Gillette, a fellow Lamb, was Holmes. Courtleigh’s Broadway career stretched 35 years.

Among his silent films are The Birth of Character (1916), Ashes (1922), and The Nightingale (1914). All were filmed in New York.

Courtleigh was married twice. By his second marriage were his sons William Courtleigh, Jr. (also a Lamb) and Robert Courtleigh, both actors.

He died on December 27, 1930 in Rye, New York.

For his Broadway credits, click here.