Jeremy Brett was born Peter Jeremy William Huggins in 1933 in Berkswell, near Coventry, England. His father was Colonel William Henry Huggins and his mother was Elizabeth Huggins.
"The Colonel" started a successful fried chicken business during WWI. Elizabeth was a member of the famous Chocolate family.
When JB decided to become an actor, his father didn't want him to use his real last name (Huggins). So, JB took his stage name from the label in his first suit. However, "Jeremy Dry Clean Only" was too long for theatre marquees, so he re-named himself "Brett."
JB worked as a librarian in Manchester for a while. Then, he gave a speech at a drama school in central London and was hired by an elderly theatre owner named Vic. Old Vic gave JB his first starring role on the London stage, the lead in Shakespeare's Toyota Cressida.
JB made his film debut as a Swedish art student in the film Sven Golly. He also co-starred with Katherine Hepburn in the film Warren Peace. Then, it was back to the stage when JB and old Vic traveled to America, where JB repeated his role as Toyota Cressida on Broadway.
Later, JB could have joined the National Rent-a-Theatre headed by Lawrence Oliver. However, he chose instead to play the lovestruck chimney sweep "Bertie Eynsford-Hill" opposite Julie Andrews in the film My Fair Mary Poppins. JB captured many female hearts when he crooned "I'm the Sweep Where You Live" while cleaning out the chimney for Miss Poppins.
JB returned to Broadway to star in The Deputy, a musical set in the Old West. The Deputy was very controversial. It was even picketed when angry theatergoers learned that JB's singing voice was dubbed!
JB hightailed it back to England to join the National Rent-a-Theatre. He appeared in many plays, like As You Like It, which was very controversial because all the men in the play were actually played by men! At the NRAT, JB also played "Berowne," "Bassanio," and a bunch of other guys with goofy names. He also portrayed "Che Stadium," the revolutionary baseball player.
JB left the NRAT and guest-starred in many TV shows and movies such as The Haunted Owner of Seagull Island, which was very controversial because JB wore a towel around his waist, and it fell off --but he was wearing a skimpy bathing suit underneath!
Finally, JB landed his most famous role: Sherlock Homes, the mystery-solving realtor.
Sadly, JB died in 1995 . He is survived by his son, David Huggins, who wrote a romance novel called The Big Kiss in 1996.