Berton Churchill

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Berton Churchill
Berton Churchill.jpg
Born (1876-12-09)December 9, 1876
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died October 10, 1940(1940-10-10) (aged 63)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1919–1940
Spouse(s) Harriet Gardner (?-1940) (his death) 1 child

Berton Churchill (December 9, 1876 – October 10, 1940) was a Canadian actor.


Born in Toronto, Ontario, as a young man interested in the theater, Churchill appeared in stock companies as early as 1903 and later headed to New York City where he began an acting career that soon put him on the Broadway stage. There, he was one of the earliest members of Actors Equity and sat on the union's Council. In 1919 he was in charge of the New York headquarters during the Equity strike in which fellow Canadian and friend, actress Marie Dressler assumed a major part with him that led to her being blacklisted by the producers.

With the advent of filmmaking in New York Churchill appeared in several motion pictures, and in the 1920s, following the use of sound in film, he moved to Hollywood, California. There, his powerful stage voice and commanding presence landed him numerous supporting roles, usually as the stern or pompous character with such roles as a banker, a State Governor, or a land baron. Much in demand, in more than 125 films Churchill worked for some of the great directors such as Otto Preminger, John Ford, and Frank Capra. As well, he performed with many of the most famous stars of the day such as Bette Davis (The Cabin in the Cotton), Jeanette MacDonald, Tyrone Power, Edward G. Robinson, and Will Rogers. Churchill is perhaps best known for his role as Gatewood, the absconding banker in John Ford's highly acclaimed 1939 film Stagecoach, starring John Wayne.

In 1925, Churchill helped found the Masquers club that led to him and five other actors creating the Screen Actors Guild in 1933.

Churchill died in New York City, of uremic poisoning. His body was returned to the west coast to be interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

Partial filmography[edit]

Berton Churchill in Vagabond Lady (1935)

See also[edit]

External links[edit]