Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, founder of The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, recognized Rains' acting talent and paid for the elocution lessons he needed to succeed as an actor. It was ironic that Rains' first Hollywood role was as the star of a movie in which he did not appear until the very end. That was the title character in James Whale's The Invisible Man. It was his distinctive voice which had won him the role.
Following The Invisible Man, Universal Studios tried to turn him into another horror film actor, but he broke free with his Academy Award nominated role in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and followed that up in probably his most famous role, that of the French police captain in Casablanca.
He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6400 Hollywood Blvd.
Claude Rains is interred in the Red Hill Cemetery, Moultonborough, New Hampshire.