Charles Hawtrey (September 21, 1858 - July 30, 1923) was a celebrated stage actor, comedian, director and producer/manager, knighted in 1922 by King George V.
Born at Eton College, where his father was a master, he was educated there and at Rugby School and Pembroke College, Oxford. He managed London's Globe Theatre, the one demolished in 1902, during (1884-1887) and Royal Comedy Theatre (1887-1893, 1896-1898). He was noted for such works as The Private Secretary (his adaptation of a German farce, 1884). Sir Charles Hawtrey mentored the great Noel Coward. It has been said that Coward idolized Charles Hawtrey, and that it was from him that Coward learned both comic acting techniques and playwriting. A young Hermione Gingold understudied in some of Hawtrey's theatre productions. He was associated with a number of famous anecdotes and with the naming of the Hanky-Panky cocktail.
As a treat, Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon celebrated her 14th birthday in a box at the Coliseum Theatre, London, watching a Charles Hawtrey show (on August 4, 1914). On the same day her future father-in-law, King George V, declared war on Germany. The Poet Laureate refers to this event in the poem celebrating her 100th birthday.
He died on July 30, 1923 and is buried at Richmond upon Thames. His biography The Truth at Last, was edited and finished by Somerset Maugham, and posthumously published in 1924. The later actor named Charles Hawtrey was born George Hartree, and took his stage name after Sir Charles.