Charles Butterworth (actor)

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Charles Butterworth
Butterworth in Second Chorus.jpg
Charles Butterworth in Second Chorus (1940)
Born (1896-07-26)July 26, 1896
South Bend, Indiana, U.S.
Died June 14, 1946(1946-06-14) (aged 49)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death
automobile accident
Resting place
St. Joseph Valley, South Bend, Indiana
Other names Charlie Butterworth
Occupation Stage and film actor
Years active 1926-1944
Spouse(s) Ethel Kenyon (February 1932-1939)

Charles Butterworth (July 26, 1896 – June 14, 1946) was an American actor specializing in comedy roles, often in musicals. In his obituary, he was described as "the man who could not make up his mind".[1] Butterworth's distinct voice was the inspiration for the Cap'n Crunch commercials from the Jay Ward studio. Voice actor Daws Butler based Cap'n Crunch on the voice of Butterworth.[2]


He once worked on a newspaper but was fired and then rehired when it was found out that he was courting the daughter of a big local advertiser. He also worked in the legal profession before going on stage and becoming a comedian in vaudeville in 1924.

One of Butterworth's more memorable film roles was in the Irving Berlin musical This is the Army (1943) as the bugle-playing Private Eddie Dibble. He generally was a supporting actor, e.g., to Mae West in Every Day's a Holiday; to the Andrews Sisters in What's Cookin'?, Give out, Sisters, and Always a Bridesmaid; to Jeanette MacDonald in The Cat and the Fiddle and Love Me Tonight; to Myrna Loy in Penthouse; to Lew Ayres in My Weakness; to Laurel and Hardy and Jimmy Durante in Hollywood Party; to Clark Gable, Robert Montgomery, and Joan Crawford in Forsaking All Others; to Irene Dunne and Robert Taylor in Magnificent Obsession; to Carole Lombard and Fred MacMurray in Swing High, Swing Low; to Bob Hope in Thanks for the Memory; and to Fred Astaire, Paulette Goddard, and Burgess Meredith in Second Chorus. However, he had top billing in We Went to College (1936), played the title role in Baby Face Harrington (1935), and shared top billing (as the Sultan) with Ann Corio in The Sultan's Daughter (1944).

He is credited with the quip "Why don't you slip out of those wet clothes and into a dry martini?" from Every Day's a Holiday.[3] In Forsaking All Others, when Clark Gable, quoting Benjamin Franklin, said, "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise," Butterworth replied, "Ever take a good look at a milkman?"


Butterworth was killed in an automobile accident on June 13, 1946, when he lost control of his car on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles and crashed.[4] For his contribution to the motion picture industry he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7030 Hollywood Blvd.

Partial filmography[edit]


  1. ^ Butterworth, Film Comedian, 49 Killed In Hollywood When Auto Hits Lamp Post, New York Times, June 14, 1946
  2. ^ Charles Butterworth biography, New York Times
  3. ^ Ralph Keyes, The Quote Verifier, p33 (Macmillan 2006), ISBN 978-0-312-34004-9
  4. ^ Brettell, Andrew; King, Noel; Kennedy, Damien; Imwold, Denise (2005). Cut!: Hollywood Murders, Accidents, and Other Tragedies. Leonard, Warren Hsu; von Rohr, Heather. Barrons Educational Series. p. 262. ISBN 0-7641-5858-9. 

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