Allen Jenkins

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Allen Jenkins
Allen Jenkins in Havana Widows trailer.jpg
Jenkins in Havana Widows (1933)
Alfred McGonegal

(1900-04-09)April 9, 1900
DiedJuly 20, 1974(1974-07-20) (aged 74)
OccupationActor, singer
Years active1923–1974
Spouse(s)Mary Landee

Allen Curtis Jenkins (born Alfred McGonegal; April 9, 1900 – July 20, 1974) was an American character actor and singer who worked on stage, film, and television.[1]

Life and career[edit]

George Barbier, Willard Robertson, Claude Cooper, Allen Jenkins and William Foran in the original Broadway production of The Front Page (1928)

Jenkins was born on Staten Island, New York, on April 9, 1900.[2] He studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. In his first stage appearance, he danced next to James Cagney in a chorus line for an off-Broadway musical called Pitter-Patter, earning five dollars a week. He also appeared in Broadway plays between 1923 and 1962, including The Front Page (1928). His big break came when he replaced Spencer Tracy for three weeks in the Broadway play The Last Mile.[citation needed]

Jenkins was called to Hollywood by Darryl F. Zanuck and signed first to Paramount Pictures and shortly afterward to Warner Bros. His first role in films came in 1931, when he appeared as an ex-convict in the short Straight and Narrow. He had originated the character of Frankie Wells in the Broadway production of Blessed Event and reprised the role in its film adaptation, both in 1932. With the advent of talking pictures, he made a career out of playing comic henchmen, stooges, policemen, taxi drivers, and other 'tough guys' in numerous films of the 1930s and 1940s, especially for Warner Bros. Allen Jenkins was labeled the "greatest scene-stealer of the 1930s" by The New York Times.[citation needed] In 1959, Jenkins played the role of elevator operator Harry in the comedy Pillow Talk. He was a member of Hollywood's so-called "Irish Mafia", a group of Irish-American actors and friends which included Spencer Tracy, James Cagney, Pat O'Brien and Frank McHugh.[3][4]

Jenkins later voiced the character of Officer Charlie Dibble on the Hanna-Barbera TV cartoon, Top Cat (1961–62). He was a regular on the television sitcom Hey, Jeannie! (1956–57), starring Jeannie Carson and often portrayed Muggsy on the 1950s-1970s CBS series The Red Skelton Show. He was also a guest star on many other television programs, such as The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Mr. & Mrs. North, I Love Lucy, Playhouse 90, The Tab Hunter Show, The Ernie Kovacs Show, Zane Grey Theater, and Your Show of Shows. He had a cameo appearance in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963). Eleven days before his death, he made his final appearance, at the end of Billy Wilder's remake of The Front Page (1974); it was released posthumously.


Jenkins died of lung cancer on July 20, 1974, at age 74. His body was cremated, and the ashes were scattered at sea.[5]

Complete filmography[edit]


Partial television credits[edit]

  • The Abbott and Costello Show (1953, episode "The Actors' Home") as Retired Actors Home Man on Street
  • I Love Lucy (1952–1953) (three episodes) as Policeman/Officer Jenkins/Police Sergeant
  • The Red Skelton Hour (1954–1962) (11 episodes) as Muggsy, a friend of Red Skelton's character Freddie the Freeloader
  • Hey, Jeannie! (1956–57) (26 episodes) as Al Murray, a cabbie
  • Wagon Train (1960, episode "The Horace Best Story") as Mr. Gillespie
  • The Tab Hunter Show (1961, episode "Sultan for a Day") as Frenchy
  • Top Cat (1961–1962) (30 episodes) as Officer Charlie Dibble (voice)
  • The Real McCoys (1962, episode "Army Reunion") as Skinny Howard
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1966, episodes "The Concrete Overcoat Affair: Parts 1 & 2") as Enzo "Pretty" Stilletto
  • Batman (1967, episode "Scat! Darn Catwoman") as Little Al (uncredited)
  • Bewitched (1971–1972) as Janitor / Cabbie / Alex Johnson


  1. ^ Hemming, Roy (1986). The Melody Lingers On: The Great Songwriters and Their Movie Musicals. Newmarket Press. pp. 249, 295. ISBN 978-0937858578. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  2. ^ Nollen, Scott Allen (September 17, 2007). Warners Wiseguys: All 112 Films That Robinson, Cagney and Bogart Made for the Studio. McFarland. p. 11. ISBN 978-0786432622. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  3. ^ Diana Bertolini (April 3, 2012). "Frank McHugh: A Beloved Character Actor Who Played an Important Role in World War II". New York Public Library.
  4. ^ Tom Weaver (January 10, 2014). A Sci-Fi Swarm and Horror Horde: Interviews with 62 Filmmakers. McFarland. p. 8. ISBN 9780786458318.
  5. ^ Wilson, Scott (16 September 2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons (3d ed.). McFarland. p. 376. ISBN 9781476625997. Retrieved February 24, 2019 – via Google Books.

External links[edit]