Pat O'Brien Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (1)  | Trivia (19)  | Personal Quotes (5)

Overview (4)

Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Died in Santa Monica, California, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameWilliam Joseph Patrick O'Brien
Height 5' 11" (1.8 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Although he came to be called "Hollywood's Irishman in Residence"--and, along with good friends James Cagney, Allen Jenkins, Frank McHugh and a few others were called "The Irish Mafia"--and he often played Irish immigrants, Pat O'Brien was US-born and -bred. As a young boy the devoutly Roman Catholic O'Brien considered entering the seminary to study for the priesthood, but although he often played a Father, Monsignor or Bishop, he never actually followed through and entered the seminary. And although never a policeman, in movies he often wore the cop's badge and, although in real life he had no discernible Irish accent, he could pour on the "brogue" when the role called for it.

Pat O'Brien excelled in roles as beneficent men but could also give convincing performances as wise guys or con artists. He was a most popular film star during the 1930s and 1940s. Over almost five decades, he co-starred in nine films with Cagney, including his own screen swansong, Ragtime (1981).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Bill Takacs <kinephile@aol.com>

Family (1)

Spouse Eloise Taylor (23 January 1931 - 15 October 1983)  (his death)  (4 children (3 of them adopted))

Trivia (19)

Interred at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, CA.
He and his wife had one biological child and three adopted children: Sean O'Brien, Terry O'Brien, Brigid O'Brien and Mavourneen O'Brien.
Politically, he was extremely right-wing.
Had been playing Walter Burns in "The Front Page" on Broadway before being tapped to appear in the 1931 film (The Front Page (1931)). The studio, confusing Burns with the other lead role, Hildy Johnson, offered O'Brien the latter role, assuming it was the one he had played onstage. He took the job, not informing them of their mistake.
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume One, 1981-1985, pages 607-608. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998.
His final acting role was as a guest star in an episode of Happy Days (1974). The series was set in Milwaukee, WI, which was O'Brien's hometown.
He wore a toupee.
Formed his own production company in 1944, which made only one film: Secret Command (1944).
First met his lifelong friend Spencer Tracy when Tracy enrolled at Milwaukee's Marquette Academy in 1917.
Had appeared with James Cagney in nine films: Here Comes the Navy (1934), Devil Dogs of the Air (1935), The Irish in Us (1935), Ceiling Zero (1936) Boy Meets Girl (1938), Angels with Dirty Faces (1938), The Fighting 69th (1940), Torrid Zone (1940) and Ragtime (1981).
Was awarded two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: for Motion Pictures at 1531 Vine St. and for Television at 6240 Hollywood Blvd.
Attended Marquette Academy and Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI.
Met his wife Eloise while appearing at the Selwyn Theatre in Chicago in 1927.
Appeared in three Oscar Best Picture nominees: The Front Page (1931), Here Comes the Navy (1934) and Flirtation Walk (1934).
Alumnus of the AADA (American Academy of Dramatic Arts), Class of 1922.
Appeared in three films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: The Front Page (1931), Knute Rockne All American (1940) and Some Like It Hot (1959).
Mentioned in Rise and Shine (1941).
Member and 1st Vice-President (beneeth President Gene Buck) of the Catholic Actors Guild of America (1945).

Personal Quotes (5)

[on Knute Rockne] He was not only a great coach but also an extraordinary human being, and I felt privileged, humble, trying to convey the glory and the humanness that was "Rock". And there were frightening moments when I briefly felt as if I were Knute Rockne.
[in 1982] I despise the Method, as do Helen Hayes, Laurence Olivier and as [John Barrymore] surely would have. I think the Method has ruined an awful lot of potentially fine actors. Look, the theatre is nothing but a mystique. It's nebulous. You get the part, you study your lines, you see what you can do with it and, finally, you evolve yourself into the part. But the Method--be a window, be a door . . . what's that got to do with anything?
Womens pictures (so-called) are talky pictures. Their use of the cigarette and the telephone break the talk, talk, talk of soap-opera storytelling.
I am not a loner, not a solitary. I liked people, crowds, activities, so I didn't stay in dark corners. I made friends
John Ford, the old master, is the orderly type. Working for him is like being part of a ballet. He hardly ever moves the camera, but composes his shots like a master painter, a [Rembrandt van Rijn] or [Edgar Degas]. The actor becomes part of the scene. Ford lets the action swirl past his lens. But the reality of his seamen, miners, dust-bowlers, horse soldiers or Wesrern heroes, when he is at his best, is a literature that the screen rarely gets. Working for him one feels a special pride. Lewis Milestone is a bouncing camera mover. For him the seeing eye is all. He stands the camera on its head, rolls it, rushes it, brings it in on the run. The actors are part of the scenery, and they must fight to survive, come alive while he catches them on the run. Neither men are static directors. They don't care for too much talk in their script, or stage business over meaningless chatter.

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