from the trailer for the film Goodbye Again (1933)
|Born||Warren William Krech
December 2, 1894
Aitkin, Minnesota, U.S.
|Died||September 24, 1948
Hollywood, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Helen Barbara Nelson (1923-1948; his death)|
||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (August 2014)|
Family and Early life
Warren William Krech's family originated in Tennstedt, Saxony, Germany with his grandfather, Ernst Wilhelm Krech.
Born in 1819, Ernst fled Germany in 1848 during the Revolution, and went first to France, was ordained, but was later deprived of this status, and emigrated to the United States.
He wed Mathilde Grow in 1851, and had six children, one of which - Freeman E. Kerch - was Warren's father, was born in 1856.
Around the age of 25, Freeman moved to Aitkin, a small town in Minnesota, where he bought a newspaper, 'The Aitkin Age.'in 1885.
He fell in love with Frances Potter, daughter of a merchant, and were married September 18, 1890,
Frances very soon become pregnant, but her first child would die just days after its birth. Warren was born December 2, 1894.
His interest in acting would be ignited in 1903, when Samuel Hodgeden, an entrepeneur, built an opera house in Aitkin.
As a teen, Warren was involved in sports, and this interest continued throughout his adult life.
Warren was an avid amateur inventor, and held a patent on the first lawn vacuum, which would become a useful tool for many landscapers decades after his death.
After high school, Warren was uncertain what he wanted to do with his life, and felt pressure to go into journalism, but after initial hesitation to bring this up to his father, he was surprised when he gave Warren his support.
As his senior year at AADA was coming to an end, the First World War had begun, and Warren enlisted. He was moved from base to base, in charge of training new men at various locations, and in 1918, was moved to Fort Dix near New York City, in New Jersey.
While in New York, he met his future wife, Helen Barbara Nelson, who was 17 years his senior, and in October 1918, packed up to leave for France, and enter the war.
This lasted until early 1919, after which he began working on his acting career, and in 1923, he and Helen were married.
During his time in New York, Warren soon made a name for himself on Broadway and appeared in his first play in 1920.
In total, William appeared in 22 plays during his time on Broadway, in which he played many diverse roles, but had only one major role, in the play The Town That Forgot God.
After moving from Broadway to Hollywood in 1931, he reached his peak as a leading man in early 1930s films.
William began as a contract player at Warner Bros. and quickly became a star during what's now known as the 'Pre-Code' period, in which he developed a reputation for portraying ruthless, amoral businessmen (Under 18, Skyscraper Souls, The Match King, Employees Entrance), lawyers (The Mouthpiece, Perry Mason), and charlatans (The Mind Reader).
These roles were considered controversial, as this was the period of the Great Depression, with high unemployment, and audiences tended to jeer the businessmen, who were portrayed as predators.
William did play some sympathetic roles, including "Dave The Dude" in Frank Capra's Lady for a Day, a loving father and husband cuckolded by Ann Dvorak's character in Three on a Match (1932), Julius Caesar in Cecil B. DeMille's Cleopatra (1934; starring Claudette Colbert in the title role), and with Colbert again the same year as her character's love interest in Imitation of Life (1934). He played the swashbuckling musketeer d'Artagnan in The Man in the Iron Mask (1939). William was the first to portray Erle Stanley Gardner's fictional defense attorney Perry Mason on the big screen and starred in four Perry Mason mysteries. He played Raffles-like reformed jewel thief The Lone Wolf in eight films for Columbia Pictures beginning with The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt (1939), and as Detective Philo Vance in two of the series films (1934's The Dragon Murder Case and 1939's comedic The Gracie Allen Murder Case).
Other roles include Mae West's manager in Go West, Young Man (1936), a jealous District Attorney in another James Whale film, Wives Under Suspicion (1938), copper-magnate Jesse Lewisohn in 1940's Lillian Russell, the evil Jefferson Carteret in Arizona (also 1940), sympathetic Dr. Lloyd in The Wolf Man (1941), Brett Curtis in cult director Edgar G. Ulmer's modern day version of Hamlet, 1945's Strange Illusion, and as Laroche-Mathieu in The Private Affairs of Bel Ami (1947), which would be William's last film.
Although on-screen William was an actor audiences loved to hate, Warren was a private man, and off-screen, Warren and his wife, Helen kept out of the limelight outside of his work.
Warren and Helen remained a couple throughout his entire adult life.
He was often described as shy, and one costar - Joan Blondell - went so far as to say; '(he)...was an old man — even when he was a young man.'
|1922||The Town that Forgot God||Eben|
|1923||Plunder (serial)||Mr. Jones|
|1931||Honor of the Family||Captain Boris Barony|
|Expensive Women||Neil Hartley|
|Under 18||Raymond Harding|
|1932||The Woman from Monte Carlo||Lieutenant d'Ortelles|
|Beauty and the Boss||Baron Josef von Ullrich|
|The Mouthpiece||Vincent "Vince" Day|
|The Dark Horse||Hal Samson Blake|
|Skyscraper Souls||David "Dave" Dwight|
|Three on a Match||Robert Kirkwood|
|The Match King||Paul Kroll|
|1933||Just Around the Corner (short film)||Mr. Sears|
|Employees' Entrance||Kurt Anderson|
|The Mind Reader||"Chandra" Chandler|
|Gold Diggers of 1933||J. Lawrence Bradford|
|Goodbye Again||Kenneth L. "Ken" Bixby|
|Lady for a Day||Dave the Dude|
|Upper World||Alexander "Alex" Stream|
|Dr. Monica||John Braden|
|The Dragon Murder Case||Philo Vance|
|The Case of the Howling Dog||Perry Mason|
|Imitation of Life||Stephen "Steve" Archer|
|The Secret Bride||Robert "Bob" Sheldon|
|1935||Living on Velvet||Walter "Gibraltar" Pritcham|
|The Case of the Curious Bride||Perry Mason|
|Don't Bet on Blondes||Oscar "Odds" Owen|
|The Case of the Lucky Legs||Perry Mason|
|The Widow from Monte Carlo||Major Allan Chepstow|
|1936||Times Square Playboy||Victor "Vic" Arnold|
|Satan Met a Lady||Ted Shane|
|The Case of the Velvet Claws||Perry Mason|
|Stage Struck||Fred Harris|
|Go West, Young Man||Morgan|
|1937||Outcast||Dr. Wendell Phillips / Phil Jones|
|Midnight Madonna||Blackie Denbo|
|The Firefly||Colonel de Rouchemont|
|Madame X||Bernard Fleuriot|
|1938||Arsène Lupin Returns||Steve Emerson|
|The First Hundred Years||Harry Borden|
|Wives Under Suspicion||District Attorney Jim Stowell|
|1939||The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt||Michael Lanyard|
|The Gracie Allen Murder Case||Philo Vance|
|The Man in the Iron Mask||d'Artagnan|
|Day-Time Wife||Bernard "Barney" Dexter|
|1940||The Lone Wolf Meets a Lady||Michael Lanyard|
|Lillian Russell||Jesse Lewisohn|
|The Lone Wolf Strikes||Michael Lanyard|
|The Lone Wolf Keeps a Date||Michael Lanyard|
|1941||Trail of the Vigilantes||Mark Dawson / George Trent|
|The Lone Wolf Takes a Chance||Michael Lanyard|
|Wild Geese Calling||Blackie Bedford|
|Secrets of the Lone Wolf||Michael Lanyard|
|The Wolf Man||Dr. Lloyd|
|1942||Wild Bill Hickok Rides||Harry Farrel|
|1943||One Dangerous Night||Michael Lanyard|
|Passport to Suez||Michael Lanyard|
|1945||Strange Illusion||Brett Curtis|
|1946||Fear||Police Capt. Burke|
|1947||The Private Affairs of Bel Ami||Laroche-Mathieu|
|1920||Mrs. Jimmie Thompson||Edgar Blodgett|
|1921||John Hawthorne||John Hawthorne|
|We Girls||Doctor Tom Brown|
|1924||The Wonderful Visit||Sir John Gotch, K.B.E.|
|Expressing Willie||George Cadwalder|
|The Blue Peter||David Hunter|
|1926||Twelve Miles Out||Gerald Fey|
|Easter One More Day||Elis|
|Fanny[disambiguation needed]||Joe White|
|1928||Paradise||Dr. Achilles Swain|
|Veils||Mr. Robert Sloan|
|The Golden Age||The Stranger|
|1929||Sign of the Leopard||Captain Leslie|
|Let Us Be Gay||Bob Brown|
|1930||Out of a Blue Sky||Paul Rana|
|Stepdaughters of War||Geoffrey Hilder|
|1931||The Vinegar Tree||Max Lawrence|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Warren William.|
- Warren William at the Internet Broadway Database
- Warren William at the Internet Movie Database
- Photographs and literature
- Warren William at Find a Grave
- Warren William: Magnificent Scoundrel of Pre-Code Hollywood