February 4, 1889|
San Francisco, California, U.S.
|Died||November 14, 1960
Woodland Hills, California, U.S.
Cause of death
|Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City|
Life and career
Catlett was born in San Francisco, California. He started on stage in 1906 and film in 1912, then went back to stage and did not return to films until 1929. He made a career by playing excitable, officious blowhards.
Catlett made a handful of silent film appearances but his film career did not catch on until the advent of talking pictures allowed movie-goers to see his full comic repertoire. Three of his most remembered roles were as the stage manager given to distraction by James Cagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy, the local constable who throws the entire cast in jail and winds up there himself in the Howard Hawks classic screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby, and as Morrow, the drunken poet in the restaurant who "knows when [he's] been a skunk" and takes Longfellow Deeds on a "bender" in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. In 1939, he appeared in the musical film Married in Hollywood. He played John Barsad in the 1935 David O. Selznick production of A Tale Of Two Cities starring Ronald Colman. He also provided the voice of Foulfellow the Fox in the 1940 Disney animated film Pinocchio.
Catlett also appeared as hotel resort tycoon 'Timber Applegate' in the musical film Lady, Let's Dance which starred ice skating sensation 'Belita' and James Ellison. Audiences seemed to enjoy seeing unpleasant things happen to Catlett onscreen. In the drama Manpower, Catlett supplies comedy relief as a hospital patient who has spent months in traction with both arms and both legs broken. On the day of his release, he slips on the hospital steps, and is once again put in traction, with both arms and both legs broken. In the 1950s, he appeared in films like Disney's Davy Crockett, Friendly Persuasion and Beau James.
- Walter Catlett at the Internet Movie Database
- Walter Catlett at the Internet Broadway Database
- Walter Catlett at Find a Grave