Robert Armstrong (actor)
Armstrong in The Ex-Mrs. Bradford (1936)
November 20, 1890|
Saginaw, Michigan, U.S.
|Died||April 20, 1973
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California|
Ethel V. Jones
Claire Louise Frisbie Armstrong
(m.1940-1973; his death)
Robert Armstrong (November 20, 1890 – April 20, 1973) was an American film actor best remembered for his role as Carl Denham in the 1933 version of King Kong by RKO Pictures. He uttered the famous exit quote, "'Twas beauty killed the beast," at the film's end. Months later, he starred as Carl Denham again in the sequel, Son of Kong, released the same year. Sixteen years later, in 1949, Armstrong played a similar role as showman Max O'Hara in another giant ape movie, Mighty Joe Young.
In the 1950s, Armstrong appeared as Sheriff Andy Anderson on Rod Cameron's syndicated western-themed television series, State Trooper. Cameron played the role of Rod Blake, chief investigator for the Nevada Department of Public Safety. Armstrong made four guest appearances on Perry Mason during its nine-year run on CBS: in 1961 he played the title character and murder victim Capt. Bancroft in "The Case of the Malicious Mariner;" in 1962 he played defendant Jimmy West in "The Case of the Playboy Pugilist;" and in 1964 he played murderer Phil Jenks in "The Case of the Accousted Accountant."
Born in Saginaw, Michigan, lived in Bay City, Michigan until about 1902 and moved to Seattle, Washington. Armstrong studied to be a lawyer but gave it up to manage his uncle's touring companies. He attended the University of Washington where he became a member of Delta Tau Delta International Fraternity. In his spare time he wrote plays, which eventually led to him appearing in one of them when it was produced. He served in WWI, and upon his return home after the war, Armstrong discovered his uncle had died while he was away. In 1926 he went to London and appeared for a season on the British stage. Armstrong's silver screen career began in 1928 when he appeared in Pathé's silent drama The Main Event.
Armstrong resembled King Kong producer and adventurer Merian C. Cooper, and Cooper used him in several films as more or less a version of himself (they coincidentally died sixteen hours apart). In 1937 Armstrong starred in With Words and Music (also referred to as The Girl Said No) released by Grand National Films Inc. He also worked throughout the 1930s and 1940s for many film studios. Prior to World War II, in the early 1940s, Universal Pictures released Enemy Agent, about a plot to thwart the Nazis. In the film, Armstrong co-starred with Helen Vinson, Richard Cromwell and Jack La Rue. Later, in 1942, he played again opposite Cromwell in Baby Face Morgan, a notable "B" effort for PRC (Producers Releasing Corporation). Later in that decade, Armstrong played another Carl Denham-like leading character role as "Max O'Hara" in 1949's Mighty Joe Young. This film was yet another stop-motion animation giant gorilla fantasy, made by the same King Kong team of Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack; it was remade by Disney in 1998 starring Charlize Theron.
Although King Kong in 1933 was the pinnacle of Armstrong's acting career, he nonetheless appeared in 127 films between 1927 and 1964.
- Peggy Allenby (August 1920 - April 17, 1925; divorced)
- Ethel V. Jones (June 12, 1926 - July 27, 1931; divorced)
- Gladys Dubois (January 10, 1936 - December 31, 1939; divorced)
- Claire Louise Frisbie (January 1, 1940 - April 20, 1973; his death)
- The Cop (1928)
- The Woman from Hell (1929)
- The Racketeer (1929)
- Be Yourself! (1930)
- The Most Dangerous Game (1932)
- King Kong (1933)
- Son of Kong (1933)
- Search for Beauty (1934)
- Kansas City Princess (1934)
- G Men (1935)
- Remember Last Night? (1935)
- Little Big Shot (1935)
- It Can't Last Forever (1937)
- The Girl Said No (1937)
- Unmarried (1939)
- Service with the Colors (1940)
- Dive Bomber (1941)
- Let's Get Tough! (1942)
- The Mad Ghoul (1943)
- Gangs of the Waterfront (1945)
- Blood on the Sun (1945)
- Fall Guy (1947)
- The Fugitive (1947)
- The Lucky Stiff (1949)
- Mighty Joe Young (1949)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to:|
- Robert Armstrong at the Internet Movie Database
- Robert Armstrong at AllRovi
- Robert Armstrong at the Internet Broadway Database
- Robert Armstrong at Find a Grave
- Robert Armstrong at Virtual History
- http://www.delts.org/about/famousdelts.html Retrieved 2012-02-19