William Gargan

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William Gargan
William Gargan in Black Fury trailer.jpg
from the trailer for the film Black Fury (1935).
Born (1905-07-17)July 17, 1905
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Died February 17, 1979(1979-02-17) (aged 73)
Died in flight between New York and San Diego
Cause of death
heart attack
Resting place
Holy Cross Cemetery (San Diego), California
Years active 1925–1958
Spouse(s) Mary Kenny (1928–1979) (his death)
1949 promotional photo of Gargan for Martin Kane, Private Eye

William Gargan (July 17, 1905 – February 17, 1979) was an American film, television and radio actor.


He was born William Dennis Gargan on July 17, 1905 in Brooklyn, New York. He was the younger brother of actor Edward Gargan, whose birthday July 17 he shared.

Gargan played character roles in many Hollywood productions, including two appearances as detective Ellery Queen, but was best known for his role as Detective Martin Kane in the 1949–51 radio-television series, Martin Kane, Private Eye, sponsored by U.S. Tobacco. He also appeared as a private detective in the NBC radio show Barrie Craig, Confidential Investigator, which ran from 1951 to 1955. He then starred in 39 episodes of The New Adventures of Martin Kane, a syndicated series premiering September 14, 1957, and distributed in Europe by United Artists Television for Ziv Television Programs.

On leaving school, Gargan became a salesman of bootleg whiskey to New York speakeasies and then joined a detective agency. While visiting his brother on a musical comedy stage, he was offered a stage job which he accepted. He began his stage career in Aloma of the South Seas and later his film career in Misleading Lady.

He was cast in a number of stereotypical Irish parts in films playing policemen, priests, reporters, and blustering adventurers. In 1945 he played Joe Gallagher in The Bells of St. Mary's, starring Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman.

Gargan's career came to an end in 1958 when he developed throat cancer, and doctors were forced to remove his larynx in 1960. Speaking through an artificial voice box, Gargan became an activist and spokesman for the American Cancer Society, often warning about the dangers of smoking.[1]


He died aged 73 on February 17, 1979, on a flight between New York and San Diego. He was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery, San Diego, California.[2]

Partial filmography[edit]


  1. ^ Reinehr, Robert C. and Swartz, Jon D. (2010). The A to Z of Old Time Radio. Scarecrow Press. p. 107. 
  2. ^ William Gargan at Find a Grave

External links[edit]