Sebastian Cabot was one of the most recognizable acting talents ever to come out of England, a familiar and popular supporting player in movies and a star of American television for much of the last two decades of his life. For an actor who specialized in elegant and upper-class, educated roles, he was, ironically, a Cockney, born Charles Sebastian Thomas Cabot in London in July 1918, within the sound of the bells of St. Mary Le Bow Church. What's more, he came to an acting career fairly late -- and by sheer chance.
When his father's business failed, Cabot left school at the age of 14 and began working as a garage helper, the first of many menial jobs. (Well into his fifties, his first love was cars and tinkering with them and their engines.) Cabot never had another day of formal education, and later worked as a chef -- which help precipitate his growth to 260 pounds -- and spent three years as a professional wrestler in London before World War II, an activity ended by an injury. It was while working as a driver for actor Frank Pettingell that Cabot first thought of acting as a career. Later, he bluffed his way into acting jobs by claiming that he'd performed in various roles that he'd heard discussed by his former boss and others while driving them around. He'd also picked up enough of the jargon of experienced actors and enough knowledge to bluff his way through small roles that he didn't keep for long. Along the way, however, he picked up more of what he needed, and bigger parts and longer professional relationships followed.