All but forgotten now, Tod Slaughter was a star of stage and screen, known for playing theatrical stage villains, most famously Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street. Norman Slaughter, born in 1885, entered the school in 1894, leaving to first tread the boards in 1905. After serving in the Royal Flying Corps, he returned to the stage, famously running the Elephant and Castle theatre in London, notably reviving Victorian melodrama and pantomime with great success. In 1925 he took his stage name.
It wasn’t until 1931 that he found his true calling, becoming known as Mr Murder, and going on to take the role of Sweeney Todd for the first of 2,000 stage performances. A run of film roles followed, all as the stock villain.
So popular was he that he even had his own Desert Island Discs, broadcast in 1955. The episode is, sadly lost, though the details can be seen here.
After his death, he was all but forgotten, but in recent years film historians have taken an interest, seeing his place in the very popular inter-war tradition of melodrama, and in the history of English horror movies.