Alan Mowbray

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Alan Mowbray
Alan Mowbray in Topper Takes a Trip trailer.jpg
from the trailer for Topper Takes a Trip (1939)
Born Alfred Ernest Allen
(1896-08-18)18 August 1896
London, England
Died 25 March 1969(1969-03-25) (aged 72)
Hollywood, California, USA
Years active 1931–1969
Spouse(s) Lorraine Carpenter (1927-69) (his death) 2 children

Alan Mowbray MM (18 August 1896 – 25 March 1969) was an English stage and film actor who found success in Hollywood.

Born Alfred Ernest Allen in London, England, he served with distinction the British Army in World War I, being awarded the Military Medal for bravery. He began as a stage actor, making his way to the United States where he appeared in Broadway plays and toured the country as part of a theater troupe.

As Alan Mowbray, he made his film debut in 1931, going on to a career primarily as a character actor in more than 140 films including the sterling butler role in the comedy Merrily We Live, and playing the title role in the TV series The Adventures of Colonel Flack. During World War II, he made a memorable appearance as the Devil in the Hal Roach propaganda comedy The Devil with Hitler. He appeared in some two dozen guest roles on various television series.

Mowbray was a founding member of the Screen Actors Guild, with outside interests that led to membership in Britain's Royal Geographic Society.

He played the title role in the DuMont TV series Colonel Humphrey Flack, which first appeared in 1953-1954 and then was revived in 1958-1959. In the 1954-1955 television season Mowbray played Mr. Swift, the drama coach of the character Mickey Mulligan, in NBC's short-lived situation comedy The Mickey Rooney Show: Hey, Mulligan.

Mowbray died of a heart attack in 1969 in Hollywood and was interred in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.

Raymond Chandler on Mowbray[edit]

Novelist and screenwriter Raymond Chandler alludes to Mowbray's screen persona in his pulp fiction story 'Mandarin's Jade' (1937):

“The Philip Courtney Prendergast’s lived on one of those wide, curving streets where the houses seem to be too close together for their size and the amount of money they represent…the house had an English slate roof and a porte-cochère, some nice imported trees, a trellis with a bougainvillea. It was a nice place and not loud. But Beverly Hills is Beverly Hills, so the butler had wing collar and an accent like Alan Mowbray.”[1]

Partial filmography[edit]

TV appearances[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Chandler, 1937


Cited in footnotes[edit]

  • Chandler, Raymond T. 1937. ‘Mandarin’s Jade’ originally published in Dime Detective Magazine, November, 1937. Republished in Raymond Chandler: Collected Stories. 2002. Everyman’s Library, Alfred A. Knopf, New York. P. 667.