Leslie Howard Steiner was an English actor and film maker. He also wrote many stories and articles for The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Vanity Fair and was one of the biggest box-office draws and movie idols of the 1930s.
Active in both Britain and Hollywood, Howard is probably best remembered for playing Ashley Wilkes in Gone with the Wind. He had roles in many other notable films, often playing the quintessential Englishman, including Berkeley Square, Of Human Bondage, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Petrified Forest, Pygmalion, Intermezzo, "Pimpernel" Smith, and The First of the Few. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for Berkeley Square and Pygmalion.
Howard's World War II activities included acting and filmmaking. He was active in anti-German propaganda and shoring up support for the Allies—two years after his death the British Film Yearbook described Howard's work as "one of the most valuable facets of British propaganda". He was rumoured to have been involved with British or Allied Intelligence, sparking conspiracy theories regarding his death in 1943 when the Luftwaffe shot down BOAC Flight 777 over the Atlantic, on which he was a passenger.