Screwball Characters

by karljhickey14 | created - 1 month ago | updated - 1 month ago | Public

Character actors and bit part players who make up the background in screwball comedies , from scene stealers to stock characters -exasperated fathers , dizzy mothers , wisecracking best friends , the other woman , the Ralph Bellamy types , butlers , policemen , hotel managers etc etc etc ( and the three best film dogs ever ) No order

1. Edward Arnold

Actor | Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Edward Arnold was born as Gunther Edward Arnold Schneider in 1890, on the Lower East Side of New York City, the son of German immigrants, Elizabeth (Ohse) and Carl Schneider. Arnold began his acting career on the New York stage and became a film actor in 1916. A burly man with a commanding style ...

2. Walter Connolly

Actor | It Happened One Night

The name may have been forgotten, especially today (seven decades later), but the portly, apoplectic, exasperated figure on the 1930s screen wasn't. While his film career, save a couple of silents, lasted a paltry seven years (1932-1939), character actor Walter Connolly certainly ran the distance. ...

3. Franklin Pangborn

Actor | Hail the Conquering Hero

Franklin Pangborn - a name more befitting a fictionalized bank president rather than a great comedic actor - was a singular character actor but little is known of his early years. He spent some time in developing acting talent prior to appearing on Broadway by March of 1911, and would do six plays ...

4. Eugene Pallette

Actor | The Adventures of Robin Hood

This eminently recognisable, bulbous, beetle-browed character actor left Culver Military Academy and began acting in repertory companies before becoming a Hollywood extra and stunt man. Eugene's father had also been a thesp at one time but eventually ended his career as an insurance salesman. In ...

5. Billie Burke

Actress | The Wizard of Oz

Billie Burke was born Mary William Ethelbert Appleton Burke on August 7, 1885 in Washington, D.C. Her father was a circus clown, and as a child she toured the United States and Europe with the circus (before motion pictures and after the stage, circuses were the biggest form of entertainment in the...

6. Roland Young

Actor | Topper

Best remembered for the many meek characters he played -- think Cosmo Topper, of the screwball classic Topper (1937) -- this balding, short, yet distinguished actor was born in London, England, to an architect and his wife. Young was educated at Sherborne College and University College London and ...

7. Charles Ruggles

Actor | Bringing Up Baby

Charles Ruggles had one of the longest careers in Hollywood, lasting more than 50 years and encompassing more than 100 films. He made his film debut in 1914 in The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1914) and worked steadily after that. He was memorably paired with Mary Boland in a series of comedies in the ...

8. Charles Butterworth

Actor | This Is the Army

Charles Butterworth was, before he came to Hollywood in 1930, a stage attraction on Broadway. In the '30s, he had his big successes as the hero's no-nonsense best friend. He made a practice of ad-libbing dry quips and bons mots during shooting, and screenwriters took advantage of this by writing ...

9. Robert Benchley

Actor | Foreign Correspondent

Although by his own account Benchley was not quite a writer and not quite an actor, he managed to become one of the best-known humorists and comedians of his time. As a Harvard undergraduate, Benchley gave his first comic performance, impersonating a befuddled after-dinner speaker. The act made him...

10. Mary Boland

Actress | The Women

Lively, buxom character actress Mary Boland made a name for herself playing vacuous or pixillated motherly types during the 1930's. One of her most memorable performances was as the addle-brained Mrs. Rimplegar of Three Cornered Moon (1933), who gives away her family fortune to a swindler because ...

11. Helen Broderick

Actress | Swing Time

Helen Broderick was a deliciously funny character comedienne with vaudeville and stage experience, a close friend of Jeanne Eagels. The story goes that, at the age of 14, she ran away from home because her mother (who featured in operatic comedy) was totally obsessed by the theatre. Ironically, all...

12. Spring Byington

Actress | You Can't Take It with You

The possessor of one of Hollywood's gentlest faces and warmest voices, and about as sweet as Tupelo honey both on-and-off camera, character actress Spring Byington was seldom called upon to play callous or unsympathetic (she did once play a half-crazed housekeeper in Dragonwyck (1946)). Although ...

13. Eve Arden

Actress | Our Miss Brooks

Eve Arden was born Eunice Mary Quedens in Mill Valley, California (near San Francisco), and was interested in show business from an early age. At 16, she made her stage debut after quitting school to joined a stock company. After appearing in minor roles in two films under her real name, Eunice ...

14. Ruth Warrick

Actress | Citizen Kane

Reedy and regal actress Ruth Warrick will be remembered for two names and two names alone. In films, she will indelibly be referred to as the castoff first "Mrs. Citizen Kane," and on TV she will forever be synonymous with her character of Phoebe Tyler Wallingford, the obnoxiously wealthy, ...

15. Ruth Donnelly

Actress | Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Feisty, ebullient character comedienne who, for three decades, enlivened Hollywood films with her drollery and quick-fire repartee. The daughter of a newspaper editor and music critic, Ruth made her stage debut in the chorus of the touring production 'The Quaker Girl' in 1913. Four years later, she...

16. Frank McHugh

Actor | All Through the Night

The parents of Frank McHugh ran their own stock company and he was on the stage as a child. When he was 10 he was part of an act that include his brother Matt McHugh and sister Kitty McHugh. After vaudeville and other stock companies, Frank debuted on Broadway "The Fall Guy" (1925). In 1930 he was ...

17. Hugh Herbert

Actor | Sh! The Octopus

Former stage actor and playwright - he wrote over 150 plays and vaudeville sketches - Hugh Herbert went in the early 30s to Hollywood as comedian. In the 30s he worked mostly for Warner, impersonating often eccentric millionaires, tycoons and dimwitted professors, in a few movies he collaborated on...

18. Allen Jenkins

Actor | Tomorrow at Seven

Both of Allen Jenkins' parents were musical comedy performers, and he entered the theater as a stage mechanic after World War I, after having spent time working in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Although his screen persona was that of a not-too-bright Brooklyn tough guy, Jenkins attended the American ...

19. Edward Brophy

Actor | The Whole Town's Talking

Edward S. Brophy was born on February 27, 1895 in New York City and educated at the University of Virginia. He became a bit and small-part in the movies starting in 1919, but switched to behind-the-scenes work for job security, though he continued appearing in small parts. While serving as a ...

20. Edgar Kennedy

Actor | Duck Soup

Edgar Kennedy, who was born on April 26, 1890, near Monterey, California, hit the road as a young man and traveled across the country, working in a succession of jobs. He became a professional boxer, claiming to have gone 14 rounds against The Manassas Mauler, Jack Dempsey.

In addition to his ...

21. Alan Mowbray

Actor | The Man Who Knew Too Much

Alan Mowbray, the American film actor who was one of the founding members of the Screen Actors Guild, was born Ernest Allen on August 18, 1896, in London, England, to a non-theatrical family. He served in the British army during World War I and received the Military Medal and the French Croix De ...

22. Donald MacBride

Actor | The Seven Year Itch

Best known for his work in slapstick comedy and detective whodunits, character actor Donald MacBride lent his serious, craggy mug and determined professionalism to scores of 30s and 40s crimers. Born in Brooklyn, he first appeared on the vaudeville and Broadway stages as a teenage singer in such ...

23. Eric Blore

Actor | Top Hat

Born in London, Eric Blore came out of college and started his working life as an insurance agent. But while touring in Australia he took an interest in the stage and theater. He gave up his insurance job and turned to acting after returning to England. With his elfish long, straight nose, ...

24. Patsy Kelly

Actress | Rosemary's Baby

Patsy Kelly was born Bridget Sarah Veronica Rose Kelly on January 12, 1910, in Brooklyn, New York. She began performing in vaudeville when she was just twelve years old. Patsy worked with comedian Frank Fay and starred in several Broadway shows. She was discovered by producer Hal Roach, who paired ...

25. Mischa Auer

Actor | My Man Godfrey

Mischa Auer, the American screen's supreme exponent of the "Mad Russian" stereotype so dear to Yankee hearts before and after World War II, was born Mischa Ounskowsky on November 17, 1905, in St. Petersburg, Russia, the grandson of violinist Leopold Auer, whose surname he took when he became a ...

26. Gregory Ratoff

Actor | All About Eve

Producer, director and actor Gregory Ratoff was born in Samara, Russia on April 20, 1897, and studied at the University of St. Petersburg. His pursuit of a law career was interrupted by service in the Czar's army, and he fought in World War I. He later changed his focus and went on to make a name ...

27. S.Z. Sakall

Actor | Casablanca

Hungarian-born S.Z. Sakall was a veteran of German, Hungarian and British films when he left Europe because of the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi movement. In Hollywood from shortly after the outbreak of World War II, Sakall began appearing in comedies and musicals, often playing a lovable if ...

28. Fritz Feld

Actor | Bringing Up Baby

Fritz Feld was born on October 15, 1900 in Berlin, Germany as Fritz Feilchenfeld. He is known for his work on Bringing Up Baby (1938), Out Where the Stars Begin (1938) and Idiot's Delight (1939). He was married to Virginia Christine. He died on November 18, 1993 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

29. Leonid Kinskey

Actor | Casablanca

Leonid Kinskey, originally from St. Petersburg, Russia, performed across Europe and much of Latin America before his arrival in the United States. By 1932 he landed a small role as a radical in Ernst Lubitsch's comedy, Trouble in Paradise (1932). The next year he played an agitator in Duck Soup (...

30. Lionel Stander

Actor | The Transformers: The Movie

Lionel Stander, the movie character actor with the great gravelly voice, was born on January 11th, 1908 in The Bronx borough of New York City. Stander's acting career was derailed when he was blacklisted during the 1950s after being exposed as a Communist Party member during the House Un-American ...

31. William Demarest

Actor | It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

A stocky, serious-looking character, Carl William Demarest started off in vaudeville in 1905 along with two older brothers. At one time he also performed in a stage act with his wife Estelle Collette (billed as 'Demarest and Collette') and then moved on to Broadway. He entered movies in 1926 and ...

32. Jimmy Conlin

Actor | Anatomy of a Murder

Jimmy Conlin was born on October 14, 1884 in Camden, New Jersey, USA as James Patrick Conlin. He was an actor, known for Anatomy of a Murder (1959), The Sin of Harold Diddlebock (1947) and Seven Keys to Baldpate (1947). He was married to Dorothy Ryan, Myrtle Glass and Lillian Grace Steel (actress)....

33. Willie Best

Actor | High Sierra

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 ...

34. Hattie McDaniel

Actress | Gone with the Wind

After working as early as the 1910s as a band vocalist, Hattie McDaniel debuted as a maid in The Golden West (1932). Her maid-mammy characters became steadily more assertive, showing up first in Judge Priest (1934) and becoming pronounced in Alice Adams (1935). In this one, directed by George ...

35. Binnie Barnes

Actress | The Time of Their Lives

British-born actress who appeared in both British and American films, but who found her greatest success in Hollywood second leads. After a variety of jobs, including nurse, chorus girl and milkmaid, Barnes entered vaudeville. She appeared in more than a score of short comedies with comedian ...

36. Ralph Bellamy

Actor | His Girl Friday

Ralph Bellamy was a veteran actor who was so well-liked and respected by his peers that he was the recipient of an honorary Oscar in 1987 for his contributions to the acting profession.

Ralph Rexford Bellamy was born June 17, 1904 in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Lilla Louise (Smith), originally ...

37. Lee Bowman

Actor | My Dream Is Yours

Lee Bowman made his reputation as a suave, polished leading man opposite glamorous stars like Rita Hayworth and Jean Arthur in the 1940s. The columnist Jack Sher, later a noted writer and director,,referred to him in 1944 as 'a very hot commodity' in Hollywood. A graduate from the University of ...

38. Phillip Reed

Actor | Unknown Island

Phillip Reed was born on March 25, 1908 in New York City, New York, USA as Milton Le Roy Treinis. He was an actor, known for Unknown Island (1948), Song of the Thin Man (1947) and The Last of the Mohicans (1936). He was married to Audrey Gillin. He died on December 7, 1996 in Los Angeles, ...

39. Cesar Romero

Actor | Batman: The Movie

Tall, suave and sophisticated Cesar Romero actually had two claims to fame in Hollywood. To one generation, he was the distinguished Latin lover of numerous musicals and romantic comedies, and the rogue bandit The Cisco Kid in a string of low-budget westerns. However, to a younger generation weaned...

40. Asta

Actor | The Thin Man Goes Home

Asta was Hollywood's foremost canine scene-stealer, a charismatic dynamo of a wire-haired terrier (real name Skippy) born sometime during 1931. Universally adored by depression-era movie audiences after being cast as the four-legged sidekick of retired private detective Nick Charles and his wife ...

41. Corky

Actor | When's Your Birthday?

Corky is an actor, known for When's Your Birthday? (1937), Flirtation (1934) and London by Night (1937).

42. Terry

Actress | The Wizard of Oz

Without question, the most known dog in movie history. Many dogs tried to eclipse Toto's success, most recently, The Men In Black dog. Most don't know that Toto has an autobiography that's available in most stores. She almost lost her life when she broke her foot in The Wizard of Oz. Toto (Terry) ...

43. Edward Everett Horton

Actor | Arsenic and Old Lace

It seemed like Edward Everett Horton appeared in just about every Hollywood comedy made in the 1930s. He was always the perfect counterpart to the great gentlemen and protagonists of the films. Horton was born in Brooklyn, New York City, to Isabella S. (Diack) and Edward Everett Horton, a ...

44. Gail Patrick

Actress | My Man Godfrey

Cold, calculating and hard-as-nails is probably the best definition of Gail Patrick's femmes on the 30s and 40s silver screen, and the actress herself was no softie in real life. The tall, slender, patrician beauty was born with the equally stately-sounding name Margaret LaVelle Fitzpatrick in ...

45. Lee Patrick

Actress | The Maltese Falcon

Lee Patrick could play a tough, scrapping, hard-bitten dame as she did in the gritty women's prison drama Caged (1950), or the meek and twittery socialite wife as exemplified as Doris Upson in the freewheeling farce Auntie Mame (1958). The versatile character actress had plenty of places to go in ...

46. Ned Sparks

Actor | 42nd Street

Ned Sparks proved himself a top character support whose style would be imitated for decades to come. Although less remembered now, he was an inimitable cinematic player back in 1930s Hollywood. The nasal-toned, deadpan comedian Sparks was born Edward A. Sparkman in Guelph, Canada, and was raised ...

47. Guy Kibbee

Actor | Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Beginning his show business career at age 13 as an entertainer on Mississippi riverboats, Guy Kibbee graduated to the legitimate stage and spent many years in the theater. In the 1930s he was signed by Warner Brothers, and became part of what was known as "the Warner Brothers Stock Company", a ...

48. Roscoe Karns

Actor | It Happened One Night

On stage since age 15, Roscoe Karns parlayed his machine-gun delivery and street-wise demeanor (although many thought of him as a New Yorker, he was actually from San Bernardino, California) into character roles in dozens of films from the 1920s to the 1960s. His peak period, though, was in the ...

49. Clarence Kolb

Actor | His Girl Friday

Contrary to his familiar image, Clarence Kolb started out as one half of a vaudeville comedy act, Kolb and Dill. He made a few shorts in 1916 and a feature in 1917, but went back to vaudeville and the stage immediately thereafter, and did not return to films until the late 1930s. His stern, ...

50. Nat Pendleton

Actor | The Thin Man

Brawn won out over brain as well when it came to wrestler athlete Nat Pendleton's professional movie career. For two decades, this massively-built, dark-haired, good-looking lug played a number of kind-hearted lunkheads, goons, henchmen and Joe Palooka-like buffoons.

Nathaniel Greene Pendleton was ...

51. Warren Hymer

Actor | The Lady and the Mob

Warren Hymer was born on February 25, 1906 in New York City, New York, USA as Edgar Warren Hymer. He was an actor, known for The Lady and the Mob (1939), The Lone Star Ranger (1930) and One Way Passage (1932). He was married to Beau Williams and Virginia Meyer. He died on March 25, 1948 in Los ...

52. Charles Halton

Actor | To Be or Not to Be

A respected stage actor -- he trained at the New York Academy of Dramatic Arts -- since the 1920s, birdlike Charles Halton's thinning hair, rimless glasses and officious manner were familiar to generations of moviegoers. Whether playing the neighborhood busybody, a stern government bureaucrat or ...

53. Byron Foulger

Actor | The Man with Nine Lives

One of those wonderfully busy character actors whose face is familiar if not his name, mild-mannered actor Byron Foulger began performing with community theater, and stock and repertory companies after graduating from the University of Utah. He met his future wife, character actress Dorothy Adams, ...

54. Billy Gilbert

Actor | His Girl Friday

The son of singers in the Metropolitan Opera, Billy Gilbert began performing in vaudeville at age 12. He developed a drawn-out, explosive sneezing routine that became his trademark (he was the model for, and voice of, Sneezy in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)). Gilbert's exquisite comic ...

55. Herman Bing

Actor | Hide-Out

Herman Bing was born on March 30, 1889 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. He was an actor and assistant director, known for Hide-Out (1934), Sweethearts (1938) and The Great Lover (1931). He was married to Carla Lichtenstein. He died on January 9, 1947 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

56. Luis Alberni

Actor | The Count of Monte Cristo

Spanish character actor Luis Alberni was born on the date of October 4, 1886 in Cataluna Barcelona, Spain. His mother's maiden name was Malo, and father Judge John Alberni. Luis attended the University of Madrid and majored in Law. Bored with the prospects of long winded trials, he ran away from ...

57. Chester Clute

Actor | Arsenic and Old Lace

Chester Clute was born on February 18, 1891 in Orange, New Jersey, USA as Chester Lamont Clute. He was an actor, known for Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), Television Spy (1939) and The Antique Shop (1931). He was married to Eleanor Hicks. He died on April 2, 1956 in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, ...

58. Johnny Arthur

Actor | The Monster

American actor who specialized in timid or whiny characters. He appeared on the stage in England and in the USA, and performed in musical comedy. He began his film work in silents and often worked in the films of Hal Roach.

59. Charles Williams

Actor | It's a Wonderful Life

Charles Williams was born on September 27, 1898 in Albany, New York, USA. He was an actor and writer, known for It's a Wonderful Life (1946), Hidden Enemy (1940) and Midnight Limited (1940). He was married to Isabel and Virginia Josephine Evans. He died on January 3, 1958 in Hollywood, Los Angeles,...

60. Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams

Actor | Noah's Ark

The son of a rancher-turned-politician, Guinn Williams was given the nickname "Big Boy" (and he was, too - 6' 2" of mostly solid muscle from years of working on ranches and playing semi-pro and pro baseball) by Will Rogers, with whom he made one of his first films, in 1919. Although his father ...

61. Raymond Walburn

Actor | Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

Stalwart character Raymond Walburn is one of those actors whose name may have slipped through the memory cracks over time, but whose valued contribution to 30s and 40s comedy films certainly warrants a reminder. Somewhat reminiscent of the "Mr. Monopoly" character, Walburn was the archetypal ...

62. Adolphe Menjou

Actor | Paths of Glory

The words "suave" and "debonair" became synonymous with the name Adolphe Menjou in Hollywood, both on- and off-camera. The epitome of knavish, continental charm and sartorial opulence, Menjou, complete with trademark waxy black mustache, evolved into one of Hollywood's most distinguished of artists...

63. Monty Woolley

Actor | The Man Who Came to Dinner

Large and hearty Monty Woolley was born to privilege on August 17, 1888, the son of a hotel proprietor who owned the Marie Antoinette Hotel on Broadway. A part of Manhattan's elite social circle at a young age, he studied at both Yale (Master's degree) and Harvard and returned to Yale as an English...

64. Walter Catlett

Actor | Bringing Up Baby

Walter Catlett carved out a career for himself playing excitable, officious blowhards, and few actors did it better. A San Francisco native, he started out in vaudeville - with a detour for a while in opera - before breaking into films in the mid-1920s. Two of his best remembered roles were as the ...

65. Charles Coburn

Actor | The More the Merrier

A cigar-smoking, monocled, swag-bellied character actor known for his Old South manners and charm. In 1918 he and his first wife formed the Coburn Players and appeared on Broadway in many plays. With her death in 1937, he accepted a Hollywood contract and began making films at the age of sixty.

66. Harry Davenport

Actor | Gone with the Wind

Character fame on film came quite late for long-time stage actor Harry Davenport at age 70, but he made up for lost time in very quick fashion with well over a hundred film roles registered from the advent of sound to the time of his death in 1949. Beloved for his twinkle-eyed avuncular and/or ...

67. May Robson

Actress | Bringing Up Baby

Born Mary Jeanette Robison. She was the youngest daughter of Henry Robison of Penrith, Cumberland, England and Julia Schelesinger of Liverpool, Lancashire, England. Her father died in 1860 and her mother remarried. In 1866/67 they were living in St Kilda, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia and moved ...

68. Fay Bainter

Actress | Jezebel

Fay Bainter's career began as a child performer in 1898. For some time, she was a member of the traveling cast of the Morosco Stock Company in Los Angeles. In 1912, she made her Broadway debut in 'The Rose of Panama', but this and her subsequent play 'The Bridal Path' (1913), were conspicuous ...

69. Tom Dugan

Actor | Lights of New York

Prolific Irish character actor Thomas J. Dugan was born in Dublin on New Year's Day 1889. At a young age, his family moved to Philadelphia, where Dugan attended high school. He had a good tenor voice so, after leaving school, he decided to pursue a career in show business. Before appearing on stage...

70. James Burke

Actor | The Maltese Falcon

James Burke was born on September 24, 1886 in New York City, New York, USA. He was an actor, known for The Maltese Falcon (1941), Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise (1940) and At the Circus (1939). He was married to Eleanor Durkin. He died on May 23, 1968 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

71. Edward Gargan

Actor | The Falcon's Brother

Edward Gargan was born on July 17, 1902 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA. He was an actor, known for The Falcon's Brother (1942), The Falcon and the Co-eds (1943) and The Falcon in Danger (1943). He was married to Catherine Conlan. He died on February 19, 1964 in New York City.

72. Fred Kelsey

Actor | The Lone Wolf Strikes

Fred Kelsey was born on August 20, 1884 in Sandusky, Ohio, USA as Frederick Alvin Kelsey. He was an actor and director, known for The Lone Wolf Strikes (1940), On Trial (1928) and Mesa of Lost Women (1953). He was married to Katharine Miller. He died on September 2, 1961 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, ...

73. Robert Emmett O'Connor

Actor | A Night at the Opera

Stalwart Irish-American character actor Robert Emmet O'Connor, who was born on March 18, 1885, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He made his bones performing in circuses and in vaudeville. He made his Broadway debut in the musical "Fritz in Tammany Hall" at the Herald Square Theatre on October 16, 1905, ...

74. Vince Barnett

Actor | Scarface

Former vaudevillian, who acquired a solid reputation as a practical joker and master of insult, second only to the great Groucho Marx. Celebrity hosts would often hire Vince to perform gags and put-on jokes at their lavish parties, where he would insult the guests and create mayhem in his wake. He ...

75. Thurston Hall

Actor | You Can't Cheat an Honest Man

Movies, especially comedies, have always needed big, blustery, booming authoritarian types for the lead to play off of (or against), and one of the best was Thurston Hall, most famous for his role of Mr. Schuyler in the Topper (1953) series of the early 1950s. Hall was a tall, distinguished, ...

76. Berton Churchill

Actor | Stagecoach

Berton Churchill was born on December 9, 1876 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He was an actor, known for Stagecoach (1939), The County Chairman (1935) and Sweethearts (1938). He was married to Harriet Gardner. He died on October 10, 1940 in New York City, New York, USA.

77. Charles Dingle

Actor | The Little Foxes

Charles Dingle was born on December 28, 1887 in Wabash, Indiana, USA. He was an actor, known for The Little Foxes (1941), The Wife of Monte Cristo (1946) and The Song of Bernadette (1943). He was married to Dorothea White (actress). He died on January 19, 1956 in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA.

78. Douglass Dumbrille

Actor | The Ten Commandments

Distinguished character villain Douglass (R.) Dumbrille, whose distinctive stern features, beady eyes, tidy mustache, prominent hook nose and suave, cultivated presence graced scores of talking films, was born on October 13, 1889, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He was first employed as a bank clerk ...

79. Claude Gillingwater

Actor | A Tale of Two Cities

A man so disagreeable on celluloid, Claude Gillingwater's characters seemed to subsist on a steady diet of persimmons. Fondly recalled as the cranky old skinflint whose seemingly cold heart could only be warmed by the actions of a cute little tyke, the tall and rangy Gillingwater invariably played ...

80. Etienne Girardot

Actor | The Kennel Murder Case

Etienne Girardot was born on February 22, 1856 in London, England. He was an actor, known for The Kennel Murder Case (1933), The Garden Murder Case (1936) and The Whole Town's Talking (1935). He was married to Dr. Violetta Shelton. He died on November 10, 1939 in Hollywood, California, USA.

81. James Gleason

Actor | Arsenic and Old Lace

James Gleason was born in New York City to William Gleason and Mina Crolius, who were both in the theatre. He was married to Lucile Gleason (born Lucile Webster), and had a son, Russell Gleason. As a young man James fought in the Spanish-American War. After the war he joined the stock company at ...

82. Virginia Weidler

Actress | The Philadelphia Story

Delightful child/juvenile actress Virginia Weidler (her friends called her "Ginny") had that knowing gleam in her eye that usually spelled trouble in one form or another for anyone at arm's reach. She was born in Eagle Rock, California in 1926, one of the six children of former Wagnerian opera ...

83. Bonita Granville

Actress | Now, Voyager

Daughter of Bernard Granville, Bonita Granville was born into an acting family. It's not surprising that she herself became a child actor, first on the stage and, at the age of 9, debuting in movies in Westward Passage (1932). She was regularly cast as a naughty little girl, as in These Three (1936)...

84. Arthur Treacher

Actor | Mary Poppins

Born Arthur Veary Treacher in Brighton, East Sussex, England, he was the son of a lawyer. He established a stage career after returning from World War I, and by 1928, he had come to America as part of a musical-comedy revue called Great Temptations. When his film career began in the early 1930s, ...

85. Charles Coleman

Actor | It Started with Eve

Charles Coleman was born on December 22, 1885 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia as Charles Pearce Coleman. He was an actor, known for It Started with Eve (1941), Poor Little Rich Girl (1936) and Bachelor Apartment (1931). He was married to Beatrice. He died on March 8, 1951 in Woodland Hills, ...

86. Robert Greig

Actor | Animal Crackers

Robert Greig was born on December 27, 1879 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. He was an actor, known for Animal Crackers (1930), The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) and Sullivan's Travels (1941). He was married to Beatrice Denver Holloway. He died on June 27, 1958 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

87. Cecil Kellaway

Actor | Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Though a native of South Africa, Cecil Kellaway spent many years as an actor, author and director in the Australian film industry until he tried his luck in Hollywood in the 1930s. Finding he could get only gangster bit parts, he got discouraged and returned to Australia. Then William Wyler called ...

88. Edmund Gwenn

Actor | Miracle on 34th Street

There are very few character actors from the 1930s, '40s or '50s who rose to the rank of stardom. Only a rare man or woman reached the level of renown and admiration, and had enough audience appeal, to be the first name in a cast's billing, a name that got marquee posting. Charles Coburn comes to ...

89. Reginald Owen

Actor | Mary Poppins

Born August 5th, 1887 in England, Reginald Owen was among Hollywood's busier character actors, making more than 80 films. He was educated in England at Sir Herbert Tree's Academy of Dramatic Arts. Owen excelled and made his professional debut also in England at the age of 18. He came to New York in...

90. Reginald Denny

Actor | Cat Ballou

Sometime in the early 1930s, Denny was between scenes on a movie set when he met a neighborhood boy who was trying to fly a bulky gas-powered model plane. When he tried to help by making an adjustment on the machine, Denny succeeded only in wrecking it. But this launched his infatuation with model ...

91. Frank Morgan

Actor | The Wizard of Oz

Jovial, somewhat flamboyant Frank Morgan (born Francis Wuppermann) will forever be remembered as the title character in The Wizard of Oz (1939), but he was a veteran and respected actor long before he played that part, and turned in outstanding performances both before and after that film. One of ...

92. Maxie Rosenbloom

Actor | Each Dawn I Die

Max Rosenbloom was 5'11" and weighed 165-170 lb. during the peak of his professional boxing years (which included 289 fights). In later years the larger-than-life "Slapsie Maxie" would parlay his sports fame into a Hollywood career playing a series of Runyonesque-type thugs and pugs. Born Max ...

93. Slim Summerville

Actor | All Quiet on the Western Front

Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1892, rustic-looking George "Slim" Summerville possessed one of those malleable mugs that made you laugh even before he opened his mouth. Young Slim ran away from home as a youth and lived a rather wanderlust life until a chance meeting with Mack Sennett through ...

94. Charley Grapewin

Actor | The Wizard of Oz

This old codger film favorite, born in 1869 (some reports say 1875), got into the entertainment field at an early age, first as a circus performer (aerialist and trapeze artist). When acting sparked his interest, he worked in a series of stock companies while writing stage plays that he himself ...

95. Granville Bates

Actor | Of Mice and Men

Balding, worried-looking character actor of the 1930's who had a strong line in lawyers, judges, sheriffs, mayors and storekeepers. He was especially effective at playing choleric or obtuse. Bates had a career in dramatic plays on Broadway spanning the years from 1925 to 1935. He began in films ...

96. Chill Wills

Actor | The Alamo

Colorful character actor of American Westerns. Named "Chill" as an ironic comment on his birth date being the hottest day of 1902. A musician from his youth, he performed from the age of 12 with tent shows, in vaudeville, and with stock companies. While performing in vaudeville in Kansas City, he ...

97. Charles Winninger

Actor | State Fair

Short, chubby-framed, twinkle-eyed, ever-huggable Charles Winninger was a veteran vaudevillian by the time he arrived in talking films. Born in a trunk to show biz folk in Athens, Wisconsin, on May 26, 1884, he was initially christened Karl Winninger. He left school while quite young (age 8) to ...

98. Ernest Truex

Actor | His Girl Friday

The ultimate milquetoast and ineffectual boss in comedy outings, meek character actor Ernest Truex was a small (5'3"), adenoidal, very well-dressed fellow, a popular avuncular type in later years who enjoyed a seven-decade-long career. He was born September 19, 1889, in Kansas City, Missouri, the ...

99. E.E. Clive

Actor | Bride of Frankenstein

Edward E. Clive was a Welsh-born actor/manager, initially, it seemed, slated for a medical career. After four years, he suddenly elected to abandon his studies at the University of Wales. For the next ten years, he trod the boards in diverse theatrical productions across Britain, becoming adept at ...

100. George Chandler

Actor | The High and the Mighty

After military service during the First World War, Chandler studied at the University of Illinois, financing his studies by playing jazz violin in a band. During the early 1920's, he returned to the vaudeville circuit and began in films from 1928. Most of his early efforts were short one- and ...



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