Edward Everett Horton
|Edward Everett Horton|
March 18, 1886|
Brooklyn, New York City
New York, U.S.
|Died||September 29, 1970
Encino, California, U.S.
|Other names||E.E. Horton
|Alma mater||Oberlin College|
Edward Everett Horton (March 18, 1886 – September 29, 1970) was an American character actor. He had a long career in film, theater, radio, and television, especially in the arena of voice work for animated cartoons. He is remembered for his work in the films of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
Horton was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Isabella S. Diack and Edward Everett Horton. His mother was born in Matanzas, Cuba to Mary Orr and George Diack, immigrants from Scotland. Horton attended the Boys' High School, Brooklyn, and Baltimore City College high school in Baltimore, Maryland, where he was inducted into that school's Hall of Fame. He began his college career at Oberlin College in Ohio. He was asked to leave after an incident where he climbed to the top of the Service Building, and after collecting an audience, threw off a dummy, causing the viewers to think he had jumped. Later, he attended college at Brooklyn Polytechnic and Columbia University, where he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi.
Stage and film career
Horton started his stage career in 1906, singing and dancing and playing small parts in Vaudeville and in Broadway productions. In 1919, he moved to Los Angeles, California, where he began acting in Hollywood films. His first starring role was in the comedy Too Much Business (1922), and he portrayed the lead role of an idealistic young classical composer in Beggar on Horseback (1925). In the late 1920s he starred in two-reel silent comedies for Educational Pictures, and made the transition to talking pictures with Educational in 1929. As a stage trained performer, he found more film work easily, and appeared in some of Warner Bros.' early talkies, including The Hottentot and Sonny Boy (1929).
Horton originally went under his given name, Edward Horton. His father persuaded him to adopt his full name professionally, reasoning that there might be other actors named Edward Horton, but only one named Edward Everett Horton.
Horton's screen character was instantly defined from his earliest talkies: pleasant and dignified, but politely hesitant when faced with a potentially embarrassing situation. Horton soon cultivated his own special variation of the time-honored double take (an actor's reaction to something, followed by a delayed, more extreme reaction). In Horton's version, he would smile ingratiatingly and nod in agreement with what just happened; then, when realization set in, his facial features collapsed entirely into a sober, troubled mask.
Horton starred in many comedy features in the 1930s, usually playing a mousy fellow who put up with domestic or professional problems to a certain point, and then finally asserted himself for a happy ending. He is best known, however, for his work as a character actor in supporting roles. These include The Front Page (1931), Trouble in Paradise (1932), Alice in Wonderland (1933), The Gay Divorcee (1934), Top Hat (1935, one of several Astaire/Rogers films in which Horton appeared), Danger - Love at Work (1937), Lost Horizon (1937), Holiday (1938), Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), Pocketful of Miracles (1961), It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), and Sex and the Single Girl (1964). He last appeared in a non-speaking role in Cold Turkey (1971).
Radio and television
From 1945 to 1947, Horton hosted radio's Kraft Music Hall. An early television appearance came in Sham. During the 1950s, Horton worked in television. One of his most famous appearances is on an episode of CBS's I Love Lucy, in which he is cast against type as a frisky, amorous suitor. (Horton, a last-minute replacement for another actor, received a special, appreciative credit in this episode.) In 1960, he guest starred on ABC's sitcom The Real McCoys as J. Luther Medwick, grandfather of the boyfriend of series character Hassie McCoy (Lydia Reed). In the story line, Medwick clashes with the equally outspoken Grandpa Amos McCoy (Walter Brennan).
He remains, however, best known to the Baby Boomer Generation as the venerable narrator of "Fractured Fairy Tales" in The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, an American animated television series that originally aired from November 19, 1959, to June 27, 1964, on the ABC and NBC television networks.
In 1962, he portrayed the character Uncle Ned in three episodes of the CBS television series Dennis the Menace. In 1965, he played the medicine man, Roaring Chicken, in the ABC sitcom F Troop. He echoed this role, portraying Chief Screaming Chicken, on ABC's Batman as a pawn to Vincent Price's Egghead in the villain's attempt to take control of Gotham City.
Death and influence
Horton's companion for many years was actor Gavin Gordon, who was 15 years his junior. They appeared together in only one film, Pocketful of Miracles (1961).
In 1925, Horton purchased several acres in the district of Encino and lived on the property at 5521 Amestoy Avenue until his death. He named the estate, which contained Horton's own house and houses for his brother, his sister and their respective families, Belleigh Acres. In the 1950s, the state of California forced Horton to sell a portion of his property for construction of the Ventura Freeway. The freeway construction left a short stump of Amestoy Avenue south of Burbank Boulevard and shortly after his death, the city of Los Angeles renamed that portion Edward Everett Horton Lane. For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Horton has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6427 Hollywood Boulevard.
|1923||Ruggles of Red Gap||Ruggles||Credited as Edward Horton|
|1924||Helen's Babies||Uncle Harry|
|1929||Ask Dad||Dad||Short film|
|Sonny Boy||Crandall Thorpe|
|The Aviator||Robert Steele|
|1930||Wide Open||Simon Haldane|
|1931||Kiss Me Again||René||Alternative title: Toast of the Legion|
|Lonely Wives||Richard Smith/Felix, the Great Zero|
|The Front Page||Roy V. Bensinger|
|Smart Woman||Billy Ross|
|1932||Trouble in Paradise||François Filiba|
|1933||Soldiers of the King||Sebastian Marvello|
|A Bedtime Story||Victor Dubois|
|Alice in Wonderland||The Hatter|
|Design for Living||Max Plunkett|
|It's a Boy||Dudley Leake|
|1934||Kiss and Make-Up||Marcel Caron|
|Ladies Should Listen||Paul Vernet|
|The Merry Widow||Ambassador Popoff|
|The Gay Divorcee||Egbert Fitzgerald|
|1935||The Private Secretary||Reverend Robert Spalding|
|The Devil Is a Woman||Governor Don "Paquitito" Paquito|
|Little Big Shot|
|All the King's Horses||Count Josef von Schlapstaat|
|Going Highbrow||Augie Winterspoon|
|Top Hat||Horace Hardwick|
|1936||Man in the Mirror||Jeremy Dilke|
|1937||Lost Horizon||Alexander P. Lovett|
|Shall We Dance||Jeffrey Baird|
|Danger - Love at Work||Howard Rogers|
|Hitting a New High|
|The King and the Chorus Girl|
|The Great Garrick||Tubby|
|1938||Bluebeard's Eighth Wife||The Marquis De Loiselle|
|College Swing||Hubert Dash|
|Holiday||Professor Nick Potter|
|1939||That’s Right You’re Wrong||Tom Village|
|The Gang's All Here||Treadwell|
|1941||Ziegfeld Girl||Noble Sage|
|Here Comes Mr. Jordan||Messenger 7013|
|1942||The Magnificent Dope||Horace Hunter|
|I Married an Angel||Peter|
|Springtime in the Rockies||McTavish|
|1943||Forever and a Day||Sir Anthony Trimble-Pomfret|
|Thank Your Lucky Stars||Farnsworth|
|The Gang's All Here||Peyton Potter|
|1944||Arsenic and Old Lace||Mr. Witherspoon|
|Brazil||Everett St. John Everett|
|The Town Went Wild||Everett Conway|
|1945||Lady on a Train||Mr. Haskell|
|1947||Down to Earth||Messenger 7013|
|1947||Her Husband's Affairs|
|1957||The Story of Mankind||Sir Walter Raleigh|
|1961||Pocketful of Miracles||Hudgins|
|1963||One Got Fat||Narrator||Short subject|
|It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World||Cameo as Mr. Dinckler|
|1964||Sex and the Single Girl||The Chief|
|1967||The Perils of Pauline||Caspar Coleman|
|1971||Cold Turkey||Hiram C. Grayson (non-speaking role)||Released posthumously|
|1949||The Ford Theatre Hour||Sheridan Whiteside||1 episode|
|1952||I Love Lucy||Mr. Ritter||1 episode|
|1956||General Electric Theater||Mr. Parkinson||1 episode|
|1957||Playhouse 90||Mr. Carver||1 episode|
|1959–1964||The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends||Many Roles||All episodes|
|1960||The Real McCoys||Mr. Medwick||1 episode|
|1962||Mr. Smith Goes to Washington||Senator Crabtree||1 episode|
|1962–1963||Dennis the Menace||Ned Matthews||3 episodes|
|1963||Our Man Higgins||Rawley||"Who's on First?" with Don Drysdale|
|1965||Burke's Law||Wilbur Starlington||1 episode|
|1965–1966||F Troop||Roaring Chicken||6 episodes|
|1966||Batman||Chief Screaming Chicken||episodes 47 and 48|
|1969||It Takes a Thief||Lord Pelham-Gifford||1 episode|
|1970||Nanny and the Professor||Professor Clarendon||1 episode|
|1971||The Governor & J.J.||Doc Simon||2 episodes|
- Slide, Anthony (13 November 1998). Eccentrics of Comedy. Scarecrow Press. p. 65. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
- Fowler, James (12 April 1997). "Horton's House Grew with Film Career". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
- "Edward Everett Horton, Jr.". Ancestry.com. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
- Bernstein, Neil (2008). "Notable City College Knights". Baltimore: Baltimore City College Alumni Association.
- Aliperti, Cliff (7 December 2011). "Edward Everett Horton – Biography of the Beloved Character Actor". Immortal Ephemera. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
- Desowitz, Bill (27 August 1999). "Something 'Fractured,' Something New". Los Angeles Times (LATimes.com). Retrieved 2013-09-06.
- "Edward Everett Horton's Encino Ranch Estate and the 101 Freeway; How A Celebrity Lost His Ranch to Suburbanization". San Fernando Valley Blog. 4 April 2012. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
Media related to Edward Everett Horton at Wikimedia Commons
- Edward Everett Horton at the Internet Broadway Database
- Edward Everett Horton at the Internet Movie Database
- Edward Everett Horton at the TCM Movie Database
- Edward Everett Horton on SilentMajority.com
- Edward Everett Horton at Find a Grave
- Edward Everett Horton at Virtual History