John Litel's tough, no-nonsense demeanor on screen was not entirely due to his skill as an actor--when World War I broke out he enlisted in the French army, not wanting to wait until the US entered, and was twice decorated for bravery. Returning to the US after the war, he enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and toured with various stage companies...See full bio »
Portrayed a number of famous historical figures in several Warner Bros. shorts during his long career, including Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson and Robert E. Lee. The film
Give Me Liberty with Litel as Henry won an Academy Award for best short. In it he managed to recite a long and complicated speech in one take. His short film on Jefferson entitled
The Declaration of Independence also won an Oscar.
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