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as Wilfred Shadbolt
Leo Sheffield (November 15 1873September 3 1951) was an Englishmarker singer and actor best known for his performances in baritone roles of the Savoy Operas with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company.

Life and career

Leo Sheffield was born in Maltonmarker, Yorkshiremarker. His real surname was Wilson. Sheffield was married to D'Oyly Carte Opera Company chorister Dorothy Gates. Two of his brothers, Thorpe Sheffield and Wilson Sheffield, appeared with D'Oyly Carte in the 1890s. He died in Kingsburymarker, Londonmarker.

Early career

Sheffield joined D'Oyly Carte in 1906, appearing as Second Yeoman and then Lieutenant of the Tower in The Yeomen of the Guard, and Annibale and then Luiz in The Gondoliers.

From 1907–09, he toured with D'Oyly Carte, playing the Counsel for the Plaintiff in Trial by Jury, Boatswain in H.M.S. Pinafore, Samuel in The Pirates of Penzance, Archibald Grosvenor in Patience, Strephon in Iolanthe, Arac in Princess Ida, Pish-Tush in The Mikado, Sergeant Meryll in Yeomen, and Luiz in The Gondoliers, and in London playing Private Willis in Iolanthe, Samuel, the Lieutenant, Luiz, Owen Rhys in the companion piece A Welsh Sunset, Pish-Tush, and Boatswain.

Sheffield left the D'Oyly Carte organization in 1909, soon appearing at the Savoy Theatremarker as the original Sir Phyllon in Gilbert and Edward German's Fallen Fairies. He then spent the next several years touring in a number of musicals, including The Chocolate Soldier, and The Girl in the Taxi. He also appeared in London as Feste in Twelfth Night, in 1913, before rejoining D'Oyly Carte in 1915.

Principal baritone and later career

From 1915 to 1928, Sheffield was the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company's principal baritone, appearing as the Learned Judge in Trial, Doctor Daly in The Sorcerer, first Dick Deadeye and then Captain Corcoran in Pinafore, the Sergeant of Police in Pirates, Grosvenor in Patience, Willis and sometimes Strephon in Iolanthe, King Hildebrand and sometimes Florian in Princess Ida, Pooh-Bah in The Mikado, Sir Despard Murgatroyd in Ruddigore, Wilfred Shadbolt in Yeomen, and Don Alhambra in The Gondoliers. Sheffield left D'Oyly Carte briefly in 1928, appearing in 1929 in The Lady and the Rose, and returning later that year to play his old roles through the end of the London season at the Savoy. He then left the D'Oyly Carte organization permanently.

Sheffield appeared regularly in London and on tour throughout the 1930s, also making several films during the decade. His last role in London was Popoff in The Chocolate Soldier in 1940. He later toured in The Beggar's Opera in 1941, served with Entertainments National Service Association in 1942, and toured in The Chocolate Soldier and Blossom Time in 1943. In 1944 Sheffield played Sir Lester Deadlock in a serialization of Bleak House for the BBC, and in 1945 he toured in Naughty Marietta, The Gypsy Baron, and The Melody of Love. In 1947 he appeared as himself and as Pooh-Bah in the original radio biography, Gilbert and Sullivan written by Leslie Baily.


With the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, Sheffield recorded the Learned Judge (1928), the Sergeant of Police (1929), King Hildebrand (1925), Pooh-Bah (1927), Sir Despard (1924), Wilfred Shadbolt (1929), and Don Alhambra (1927). He participated in a 1926 BBC radio broadcast of The Mikado, and as Pooh-Bah in a four minute promotional silent film made to publicize the new production of The Mikado in 1926. A photograph of Sheffield and D'Oyly Carte colleagues with the huge recording horn used in the acoustic recording process can be seen here.


Sheffield also appeared in a number of films in the 1930s, including Lord Richard in the Pantry (1930), as Carter; Compromising Daphne (1930), as Mr. Bannister; Rodney Steps In (1931), as Tapper; High Society (1932), as Lord Halkirk; Falling for You (1933), as The Butler; and others.


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