Skip navigation
William Hooker Gillette
William Gillette
American, 1853 - 1937
Biography: William Hooker Gillette was born 24 July 1853 to a wealthy family in Hartford, Connecticut. His mother, Elisabeth Daggett Hooker Gillette, was descended from Thomas Hooker, and his father, Francis Gillette, was a reformer and United States Senator. Rather than following in his father's footsteps, William Gillette was disinherited when he chose to be an actor instead. He made the role of Sherlock Holmes famous and wrote several successful plays, building a considerable fortune. In 1912, Gillette selected a piece of land overlooking the ferry in Hadlyme, Connecticut and built Gillette Castle. He moved into the 24-room castle in 1919. Gillette remained active throughout his life, retiring but returning to the stage more than once. He died on 29 April 1937, and he is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Farmington, Connecticut.