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Arthur O'Connell Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (1) | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 29 March 1908New York City, New York, USA
Date of Death 18 May 1981Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA  (Alzheimer's disease)
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Though veteran character actor Arthur O'Connell was born in New York City in 1908, he looked as countrified as apple pie, looking ever more comfy in overalls than he ever did in a suit. He made his stage debut in the mid 1930s and came into contact with Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre. As a result, he earned the bit role of a reporter in the final scenes of Citizen Kane (1941). Making little leeway in films, O'Connell returned to the Broadway lights where he played Polonius in "Hamlet" and Banquo in "Macbeth", finally gaining considerable attention as the amiable bachelor storekeeper in "Picnic" in 1953. He transferred the role successfully to film three years later and began a series of flawed and forlorn characters on TV and the screen from then on. A particular standout was as James Stewart's boozed up attorney and mentor in Anatomy of a Murder (1959) for which he won his second Oscar-nomination for "best supporting actor" (the first was for Picnic (1956) three years earlier). The mustachioed O'Connell usually played wise, helpful and friendly, and he also inhabited crafty villains from time to time, but there was always an unhappy ambiance and 'loser' quality in his elderly gents, which made you feel sorry for him. He played Monte Markham's "son" (Markham had been frozen in an iceberg, which explains Markham's young appearance) in the 1967 sitcom "The Second Hundred Years" but the series was short-lived. A popular guest star on all the major shows in the 70s, he was forced to curtail his work load as the progression of Alzheimer's began to steadily creep in. At the time of his death in 1981, O'Connell was appearing solely in toothpaste commercials.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (1)

Dunlop, Ann Hall (? - 1973) (divorced)

Trivia (1)

Arthur was well loved by wounded American troops in Vietnam. He traveled to the other side of the world to visit with them by the hundreds.

In 1968 he visited the 24th Evacuation Hospital. On every ward he would ask the patients if they wanted him to call their families when he got back to the states, and give them a message from them. Arthur would write down all their names, who he was to call, phone number and message, and the date and time he talked with the patient. He made a tremendous impression on them and boosted their morale in such a way, that he surely contributed to their healing process.

Personal Quotes (1)

The stage is vital to an actor. On the stage, a performance is all yours. Nobody can edit or cut you out. Actors need the stage for the rejuvenation of their abilities and equipment.

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