Claude Rains started acting at the age 11 on the British stage. In 1913, he moved to the U.S., but with the outbreak of World War I the next year, he returned to serve with a Scottish regiment in Europe. When the war was over he continued to work on the stage and became an acting teacher as well, teaching at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Two of his young students, Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud, went on to great fame themselves.
In 1932, he made a screen test for Universal, and was hired. Rains was an immediate sensation in his first American film The Invisible Man (1933), but he soon left Universal Studios for better roles at Warner Brothers. Four times he was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar in his 45 year-long career, but he will always be most-remembered for his portrayal of Humphrey Bogart's friend, Captain Renault, in the immortal Casablanca (1942). Rain's continued acting in both leading and supporting roles into the mid-1960's when he retired to a small town in New Hampshire, where he passed away on May 30, 1967. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6400 Hollywood Boulevard.