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Willie Best (1916–1962)

One of the hard-working, unappreciated African-American actors of Hollywood's "Golden Era" who produced good work with what he was given. He starred alongside some of film's great comedians including the Marx Brothers, Bob Hope, Laurel and Hardy and three films with Shirley Temple. In addition to being a talented comedian and character actor, Best... See full bio »

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Known For

High Sierra
High Sierra Algernon
Waterfront Billy Slocum
The Ghost Breakers
Cabin in the Sky
Cabin in the Sky Second Idea Man


Hide Hide Show Show Actor (128 credits)
 1952-1955 My Little Margie (TV Series)
Charlie / Willie / Elevator Boy / ...
- Margie's Recipe (1955) ... Charley
- Corpus Delicti (1955) ... Charlie
- The Unexpected Guest (1955) ... Charlie
- Operation Rescue (1954) ... Charlie
- The All American (1954) ... Charly
 1950-1955 The Stu Erwin Show (TV Series)
- The Pearl Necklace (1955) ... Willie (credit only)
- The French Influence (1955) ... Willie
- Father Becomes Efficient (1955) ... Willie
- One of the Boys (1955) ... Willie
- The Uninvited Guests (1955) ... Willie
 1954-1955 Waterfront (TV Series)
Billy Slocum
- The Seal (1955) ... Billy Slocum
- The Rivals (1955) ... Billy Slocum
- The Hideout (1955) ... Billy Slocum
- Captain for a Day (1955) ... Billy Slocum
- Beached (1955) ... Billy Slocum
 1954 Meet the O'Briens (TV Movie)
 1951-1952 Racket Squad (TV Series)
Janitor / Cleaning Man
- The Christmas Caper (1952) ... Janitor
- The Case of the Widow's Mite (1951) ... Cleaning Man
 1951 Mark Saber (TV Series)
 1951 South of Caliente
Willie, Stable Boy
 1950 High and Dizzy (Short)
 1949 Jiggs and Maggie in Jackpot Jitters
Willie (uncredited)
 1948 Shanghai Chest
Willie Best (uncredited)
 1948 Smart Woman
Train Porter (uncredited)
 1948 Half Past Midnight
Andy Jones, nightclub janitor
 1947 The Red Stallion
 1947 Suddenly It's Spring
Porter on Train
 1946 Dangerous Money
Chattanooga Brown
 1946 No Leave, No Love
Piano Delivery Man (uncredited)
 1945 The Red Dragon
Chattanooga Brown
 1945 She Wouldn't Say Yes
Porter (uncredited)
 1945 Hold That Blonde!
Willie Shelley
 1945 Pillow to Post
Lucille, Colonial Auto Court Porter
 1944 Music for Millions
Red Cap (uncredited)
 1944 The Mark of the Whistler
Men's Room Attendant (uncredited)
 1944 The Girl Who Dared
 1944 Home in Indiana
Mo' Rum (uncredited)
 1944 The Adventures of Mark Twain
George (uncredited)
 1943 Thank Your Lucky Stars
Soldier in 'Ice Cold Katy' Number (uncredited)
 1943 The Kansan
 1943 Dixie
Steward (uncredited)
 1943 Cabin in the Sky
Second Idea Man
 1943 The Powers Girl
Men's Room Attendant (uncredited)
 1942 Busses Roar
 1942 A-Haunting We Will Go
 1942 Maisie Gets Her Man
Sam, Room Service Waiter (uncredited)
 1942 Juke Girl
 1942 Whispering Ghosts
Euclid Brown
 1941 The Body Disappears
 1941 West of the Rockies (Short)
 1941 Nothing But the Truth
 1941 Minstrel Days (Short)
 1941 The Smiling Ghost
 1941 Highway West
Bub Wellington
 1941 Kisses for Breakfast
 1941 The Lady from Cheyenne
 1941 Road Show
 1941 Flight from Destiny
 1940 Who Killed Aunt Maggie?
 1940 Money and the Woman
George Washington Jones, Dave's Servant
 1940 The Ghost Breakers
 1940 Blondie on a Budget
Newsboy (uncredited)
 1940 I Take This Woman
 1939 Slightly Honorable
Art, the Elevator Operator
 1939 Private Detective
Norton's Valet
 1939 The Covered Trailer
 1939 At the Circus
Redcap (uncredited)
 1939 Blackmail
Bunny - the Janitor (uncredited)
 1939 Way Down South
Chimney Sweep (uncredited)
 1939 Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation
Driver (uncredited)
 1939 Nancy Drew... Trouble Shooter
Apollo Johnson
 1939 Mr. Moto in Danger Island
Launch Pilot (uncredited)
 1939 The Saint Strikes Back
Algernon, Simon's Butler (uncredited)
 1938 Prairie Papas (Short)
 1938 Blondie
 1938 Spring Madness
Porter on Train (uncredited)
 1938 Straight Place and Show
Hannibal (uncredited)
 1938 Youth Takes a Fling
 1938 A Western Welcome (Short)
Sweet Pea
 1938 I'm from the City
Train Porter (uncredited)
 1938 Vivacious Lady
 1938 Goodbye Broadway
 1938 Merrily We Live
 1938 Everybody's Doing It
Jasper - Elevator Operator (uncredited)
 1938 Crashing Hollywood
Train Porter (uncredited)
 1937 Deep South (Short)
 1937 Saturday's Heroes
 1937 The Lady Fights Back
 1937 Super-Sleuth
 1937 Meet the Missus
Mose, Shoe Shine Boy
 1937 You Can't Buy Luck
Airline Porter (uncredited)
 1937 Criminal Lawyer
Janitor (uncredited)
 1937 Racing Lady
 1937 We Who Are About to Die
Airport Porter (uncredited)
 1936 Dog Blight (Short)
 1936 Night Waitress
Black Pedestrian (uncredited)
 1936 General Spanky
Henry (as William Best)
 1936 Make Way for a Lady
William Townley, Jackson's Chauffeur (uncredited)
 1936 Thank You, Jeeves!
 1936 Mummy's Boys
 1936 Down the Stretch
Noah (as William Best)
 1936 The Green Pastures
Henry - the Angel (uncredited)
 1936 The Bride Walks Out
 1936 Murder on a Bridle Path
 1936 Two in Revolt
 1936 Silly Billies
Excitement (uncredited)
 1936 The Lady Consents
Sam - Jim's Servant (uncredited)
 1936 Muss 'em Up
Janitor at Spivali's Bar (uncredited)
 1935 The Littlest Rebel
James Henry
 1935 To Beat the Band
Elevator Operator (uncredited)
 1935 Annie Oakley
Second Cook (uncredited)
 1935 Hot Tip
 1935 Jalna
Sam, the Janitor (uncredited)
 1935 The Nitwits
 1935 Hit and Rum (Short)
Shoe shine man (uncredited)
 1935 Murder on a Honeymoon
Willie (as Sleep 'n' Eat)
 1934 West of the Pecos
Jonah (as Sleep 'n' Eat)
 1934 Kentucky Kernels
Buckshot (as Sleep 'n' Eat)
 1934 Little Miss Marker
Dizzy Memphis (uncredited)
 1932 Disorderly Conduct
Man at Police Station (uncredited)
 1932 The Monster Walks
Exodus (as Sleep n' Eat)
 1931 The Guilty Generation
Club Merlin Doorman (uncredited)
 1931 Up Pops the Devil
Laundryman (as Sleep 'n' Eat)
 1931 The Virtuous Husband
 1931 Taxi (Short)
 1930 Deep South
 1930 Feet First
Janitor (as Sleep 'n' Eat)
 1930 Ladies of Leisure
George - the Elevator Operator (uncredited)
Show Show Soundtrack (26 credits)
Show Show Archive footage (7 credits)

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Personal Details

Other Works:

Television actor.

Alternate Names:

William Best | Sleep 'n' Eat | Sleep n' Eat


6' (1.83 m)

Did You Know?

Personal Quote:

"I often think about these roles I have to play. Most of them are pretty broad. Sometimes I tell the director and he cuts out the real bad parts... But what's an actor going to do? Either you do it or get out." Interview, 1934. See more »


In his earliest film appearances, in the early 1930s, if he was given screen credit he was billed as "Sleep 'n' Eat". See more »


Sleep 'n' Eat

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