John Litel Poster


Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (3)

Overview (4)

Born in Albany, Wisconsin, USA
Died in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA
Birth NameJohn Beach Litel
Height 5' 10½" (1.79 m)

Mini Bio (1)

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, making his film debut in 1929. He was one of what was called the "Warner Bros. Stock Company" in the 1930s--with such character actors as Ward Bond, Frank McHugh, Joan Blondell, George Tobias, Henry O'Neill and Alan Hale, among others--and he appeared in dozens of films there, often as a tough police captain, hard-nosed district attorney, no-nonsense business executive and other such authority figures. He could also convincingly play villains, as when he played the evil "Scorpion" in the classic serial Don Winslow of the Navy (1942). Always a solid, dependable character actor, Litel appeared in more than 200 films, sometimes playing leads but mainly as a supporting actor. From 1952-53 he played Robert Cummings' brooding boss Mr. Thackery in the NBC-TV sitcom My Hero (1952).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: frankfob2@yahoo.com

Spouse (2)

Beatrice West (1955 - 3 February 1972) (his death)
Ruth Pecheur (23 November 1920 - 26 April 1955) (her death)

Trivia (3)

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 (1936) 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 (1938) also won an Oscar.
Retired in 1967 due to ill health.
His body was donated to University of Southern California.

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