The son of Joseph and Frances Owen, Reginald Owen studied at Sir Herbert Tree's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and made his professional debut in 1905. In 1911, he starred in the original production of Where the Rainbow Ends as Saint George which opened to very good reviews on December 21, 1911. Reginald Owen had a few years earlier met the author Mrs. Clifford Mills as a young actor, and it was he who on hearing her idea of a Rainbow Story persuaded her to turn it into a play, and thus "Where the Rainbow Ends" was born.
He went to the United States in 1920 and worked originally on Broadway in New York City, and later moved to Hollywood, where he began a lengthy film career. He was always a familiar face in many Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer productions.
Later in his career, Owen appeared with James Garner in the television series Maverick in the episodes "The Belcastle Brand" (1957) and "Gun-Shy" (1958) and guest-starred in episodes of the series One Step Beyond and Bewitched. He was featured in the Disney films: Mary Poppins (1964) as Admiral Boom and Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) as General Teagler.