Sunday, October 25, 2009

William Demarest

William Demarest was born February 27, 1892 and passed away on December 28, 1983. Although best known for his role as Uncle Charley on my three sons, William Demarest appeared as a character actor in more than 140 films.

Prolific character player of the 1930s and 40s, later on TV, typically in cranky but endearing comedy roles. Famed for his ratchety voice and cold-fish stare, he began his career in vaudeville, moved to broadway and made his movie debut in When the Wife's Away in 1926 and worked steadily until 1978. Demarest was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting role in the real-life biography, The Jolson Story (1946).

He played Police Chief Aloysius in It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World. He also appeared in the The Jazz Singer, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek, Palm Beach Story, Sullivan's Travels, My Favorite Spy, The Lady Eve, The Farmer's Daughter, The Great Ziegfeld, Hands Across the Table, and many more films. Like most character actors, most of his early work was uncredited. He was a favorite of director Preston Sturges.

A true classic character actor.

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