Devine in the film A Star Is Born (1937)
|Born||Andrew Vabre Devine
October 7, 1905
Flagstaff, Arizona, U.S.
|Died||February 18, 1977
Orange, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Leukemia|
|Spouse(s)||Dorothy House (1933–77, until his death)|
Devine was born in Flagstaff, Arizona, on October 7, 1905. He grew up in Kingman, Arizona, where his family moved when he was a year old. His father was Thomas Devine Jr., born in 1869 in Kalamazoo County, Michigan. Andy's grandfather Thomas Devine Sr. was born in 1842 in County Tipperary, Ireland, and emigrated to the United States in 1852. Andy's mother was Amy Ward, a granddaughter of Commander James H. Ward, the first officer of the United States Navy killed during the Civil War.
He attended St. Mary and St. Benedict's College and Northern Arizona State Teacher's College (now Northern Arizona University) and was a star football player at Santa Clara University. He also played semiprofessional football under the pseudonym Jeremiah Schwartz. His football experience led to his first sizable film role, in The Spirit of Notre Dame, in 1931.
Devine had an ambition to act, so after college he went to Hollywood, where he worked as a lifeguard at Venice Beach, within easy distance of the studios. He met his wife-to-be, Dorothy House, while filming Doctor Bull at Fox Studios in 1933. They were married on October 28, 1933, in Las Vegas, Nevada, and remained united until his death, on February 18, 1977. They had five children: Andrew Devine, Jr. (born 1934), Patrick Gabriel Devine (born 1935), Susanna Rachel Devine (born 1937), Arthur Matthew Devine (born 1938) and Deborah Catherine Devine (born 1941). Andy Jr. and Patrick are actors; the other children have pursued other careers.
Although it was first thought that his peculiar, wheezy voice would prevent him from moving to the talkies, instead it became his trademark. Devine claimed that his speech resulted from a childhood accident in which he fell while running with a curtain rod in his mouth at the Beale Hotel in Kingman, causing the rod to pierce the roof of his mouth. When he was able to speak again, he had a labored, scratchy, duo-tone voice. A biographer, however, indicated that this was one of several stories Devine fabricated about his voice. His son Tad related in an interview for Encore Westerns Channel (Jim Beaver, reporting from the 2007 Newport Beach Film Festival) that there indeed had been an accident, but he was uncertain if it resulted in his father's unique voice. When asked if he had strange nodes on his vocal cords, Devine replied, "I've got the same nodes as Bing Crosby, but his are in tune."
Devine appeared in more than 400 films and shared with Walter Brennan, another character actor, the rare ability to move with ease from B-movie Western B-movies to feature films. His notable roles included Cookie, Roy Rogers's sidekick, in ten films; a role in Romeo and Juliet (1936), and Danny in A Star Is Born (1937). He appeared in several films with John Wayne, including Stagecoach (1939), Island in the Sky (1953), and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962).
He was a long-time contract player with Universal, which in 1939 paired him with Richard Arlen for a series of fast-paced B-pictures (usually loaded with stock footage) that mixed action and comedy; they made 14 over a two-year period. When Arlen left in 1941, the series continued for another two years, teaming Devine with various actors, often Leo Carrillo.
Most of Devine's characters were reluctant to get involved in the action, but he played the hero in Island in the Sky (1953), as an expert pilot who leads other aviators on an arduous search for a missing airplane. Devine was generally known for his comic roles, but Jack Webb cast him as a police detective in Pete Kelly's Blues (1955), for which Devine lowered his voice and was more serious than usual.
Devine worked extensively in radio and is well remembered for his role as Jingles, Guy Madison's sidekick in The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok, which the two actors reprised on television. Devine appeared over 75 times on Jack Benny's radio show between 1936 and 1942, often in Benny's semiregular series of Western sketches, "Buck Benny Rides Again". Benny frequently referred to him as "the mayor of Van Nuys." In fact, Devine served as honorary mayor of that city, where he lived, preferring to be away from the bustle of Hollywood, from May 18, 1938, to 1957, when he moved to Newport Beach.
Devine also worked in television. He hosted a children's TV show, Andy's Gang, on NBC from 1955 to 1960. During this time, he also made multiple appearances on NBC's The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford. He played Hap on the TV series Flipper, also on NBC, in the 1960s. He starred in an episode of The Twilight Zone entitled "Hocus-Pocus and Frisby", playing the part of Frisby, a teller of tall tales who impresses a group of gullible alien kidnappers. He was a guest star on many television shows in the 1950s and 1960s, including the role of Jake Sloan in the 1961 episode "Big Jake" of the acclaimed NBC anthology series The Barbara Stanwyck Show. He also played Honest John Denton in the episode "A Horse of a Different Cutter" of the short-lived ABC series The Rounders.
He made a cameo appearance as Santa Claus in an episode of the live-action Batman TV series in the 1960s. The episode, entitled "The Duo Is Slumming", was originally broadcast on December 22, 1966, three days before Christmas. In this role he directly addressed the viewers, wishing them a Merry Christmas.
Devine made his stage debut in 1957 with his portrayal of Cap’n Andy in Guy Lombardo’s production of Show Boat at the Jones Beach Theatre, in Wantagh, Long Island. In 1973, he went to Monroe, Louisiana, at the request of George C. Brian, an actor and filmmaker who headed the theater department at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, to perform in Show Boat.
Devine was a pilot and owned a flying school, Provo Devine, that trained flyers for the government during World War II.
The main street of his hometown of Kingman was renamed Andy Devine Avenue. His career is highlighted in the Mohave Museum of History and Arts in Kingman, and there is a star in his honor on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In popular culture
- That's My Daddy (1927) as sailor (uncredited)
- Finders Keepers (1928) as doughboy and gate guard (uncredited)
- We Americans (1928) as Pat O'Dougal
- Lonesome (1928) as Jim's friend
- Noah's Ark (1928) as extra (uncredited)
- Red Lips (1928) as a sophomore and as Professor Fountain
- Naughty Baby (1928) as Joe Cassidy
- Why Be Good? (1929) as young man at boiler (uncredited)
- The Divine Lady (1929) as extra (uncredited)
- Hot Stuff (1929) as Bob
- His Lucky Day (1929) as roadhouse thug (uncredited)
- Dames Ahoy! (1930) as Marine at dance contest (uncredited)
- Shooting Straight (1930) as kibitzer (uncredited)
- A Soldier's Plaything (1930) as doughboy (uncredited)
- The Criminal Code (1931) as Cluck, the convict with a knife (uncredited)
- Heroes of the Flames (1931) as fireman
- Danger Island (1931) as Briney
- The Spirit of Notre Dame (1931) as Truck McCall
- Three Wise Girls (1932) as Jimmy Callahan, the chauffeur
- Law and Order (1932) as Johnny Kinsman
- The Impatient Maiden (1932) as Clarence Howe
- Destry Rides Again (1932) as stagecoach passenger (scene deleted) (uncredited)
- Man Wanted (1932) as Andy Doyle
- Radio Patrol (1932) as Pete Wiley
- Fast Companions (1932) as Information Kid
- The Man from Yesterday (1932) as Steve Hand
- Tom Brown of Culver (1932) as Mac
- The All American (1932) as Andy Moran
- The Cohens and Kellys in Trouble (1933) as Andy Moran
- Song of the Eagle (1933) as Mud
- The Big Cage (1933) as Scoops
- Horse Play (1933) as Andy
- Midnight Mary (1933) as Sam
- Doctor Bull (1933) as Larry Ward, the soda jerk
- Saturday's Millions (1933) as Andy Jones
- Chance at Heaven (1933) as Al
- The Poor Rich (1934) as Andy
- Upper World (1934) as Oscar
- Stingaree (1934) as Howie
- Let's Talk It Over (1934) as Gravel
- Million Dollar Ransom (1934) as Careful
- Gift of Gab (1934) as John P. McDougal, the waiter
- Wake Up and Dream (1934) as Joe Egbert, aka Egghead
- The President Vanishes (1934) as Valentine Orcott
- Hell in the Heavens (1934) as Sgt. "Ham" Davis
- Straight from the Heart (1935) as Edwards
- Hold 'Em Yale (1935) as Liverlips
- Chinatown Squad (1935) as George Mason
- The Farmer Takes a Wife (1935) as Elmer Otway
- Way Down East (1935) as Hi Holler
- Fighting Youth (1935) as Cy Kipp
- Coronado (1935) as Pinky Falls
- Small Town Girl (1936) as George Brannan
- Romeo and Juliet (1936) as Peter, a servant of Juliet's nurse
- Yellowstone (1936) as Pay-Day
- The Big Game (1936) as Pop Andrews
- Flying Hostess (1936) as Joe Williams
- Mysterious Crossing (1936) as Carolina
- A Star Is Born (1937) as Danny McGuire
- The Road Back (1937) as Willy
- Double or Nothing (1937) as Half Pint
- You're a Sweetheart (1937) as Daisy Day
- In Old Chicago (1937) as Pickle Bixby
- Doctor Rhythm (1938) as Officer Lawrence O'Roon
- Yellow Jack (1938) as Charlie Spill
- Men with Wings (1938) as Joe Gibbs
- Personal Secretary (1938) as "Snoop" Lewis
- Swing That Cheer (1938) as Doc Saunders
- The Storm (1938) as Swede Hanzen
- Strange Faces (1938) as Hector Hobbs
- Stagecoach (1939) as Buck
- The Spirit of Culver (1939) as Tubby
- Never Say Die (1939) as Henry Munch
- Mutiny on the Blackhawk (1939) as Slim Collins
- Tropic Fury (1939) as Tynan ('Tiny') Andrews
- Legion of Lost Flyers (1939) as "Beef" Brumley
- Geronimo (1939) as Sneezer
- The Man from Montreal (1939) as Constable "Bones" Blair
- Danger on Wheels (1940) as "Guppy" Wexel
- Little Old New York (1940) as Commodore
- Buck Benny Rides Again (1940) as Andy
- Torrid Zone (1940) as Wally Davis
- Hot Steel (1940) as Matt Morrison
- Black Diamonds (1940) as Tolliver Higgenbotham
- When the Daltons Rode (1940) as Ozark
- Margie (1940) as cameo
- The Leather Pushers (1940) as Andy Adams
- The Devil's Pipeline (1940) as Andy Jennings
- Trail of the Vigilantes (1940) as Meadows
- Lucky Devils (1941) as Andy Tompkins
- Mutiny in the Arctic (1941) as Andy Adams
- The Flame of New Orleans (1941) as first sailor
- Men of the Timberland (1941) as Andy Jensen
- Raiders of the Desert (1941) as Andy "Hammer" McCoy
- A Dangerous Game (1941) as Andy McAllister
- Badlands of Dakota (1941) as Spearfish
- The Kid from Kansas (1941) as Andy
- South of Tahiti (1941) as Moose
- Road Agent (1941) as Andy
- North to the Klondike (1942) as Klondike
- Unseen Enemy (1942) as Detective Sam Dillon
- Escape from Hong Kong (1942) as Blimp
- Danger in the Pacific (1942) as Andy Parker
- Top Sergeant (1942) as Andy Jarrett
- Timber (1942) as Arizona
- Between Us Girls (1942) as Mike Kilinsky
- Sin Town (1942) as "Judge" Eustace Vale
- Rhythm of the Islands (1943) as Eddie Dolan
- Frontier Badmen (1943) as Slim, a cowhand
- Corvette K-225 (1943) as Walsh
- Crazy House (1943) as Andy Devine
- Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944) as Abdullah
- Follow the Boys (1944) as Andy Devine (uncredited)
- Ghost Catchers (1944) as Horsehead
- Babes on Swing Street (1944) as Joe Costello
- Bowery to Broadway (1944) as Father Kelley
- Frisco Sal (1945) as Bunny
- Sudan (1945) as Nebka
- That's the Spirit (1945) as Martin Wilde Sr.
- Frontier Gal (1945) as Big Ben
- Canyon Passage (1946) as Ben Dance
- The Michigan Kid (1947) as Buster
- Bells of San Angelo (1947) as Sheriff Cookie Bullfincher
- The Vigilantes Return (1947) as Andy
- Springtime in the Sierras (1947) as Cookie Bullfincher
- Slave Girl (1947) as Ben, the fat sailor
- On the Old Spanish Trail (1947) as Constable Cookie Bullfincher
- The Fabulous Texan (1947) as Elihu Mills
- The Gay Ranchero (1948) as Cookie Bullfincher
- Old Los Angeles (1948) as Sam Bowie
- Under California Stars (1948) as Cookie Bullfincher and Alf Bullfincher
- The Gallant Legion (1948) as Windy Hornblower
- Eyes of Texas (1948) as Cookie Bullfincher
- Night Time in Nevada (1948) as Cookie Bullfincher
- Grand Canyon Trail (1948) as Cookie Bullfincher
- The Far Frontier (1948) as Judge Cookie Bullfincher
- The Last Bandit (1949) as Casey Brown
- The Traveling Saleswoman (1950) as Waldo
- Never a Dull Moment (1950) as Orvie
- The Red Badge of Courage (1951) as the cheery soldier
- New Mexico (1951) as Sergeant Garrity
- Slaughter Trail (1951) as Sgt. Macintosh
- Montana Belle (1952) as Pete Bivins
- Island in the Sky (1953) as Willie Moon
- Thunder Pass (1954) as Injun
- Pete Kelly's Blues (1955) as George Tenell
- Around the World in 80 Days (1956) as first mate of the 'S. S. Henrietta'
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960) as Mr. Carmody
- Two Rode Together (1961) as Sgt. Darius P. Posey
- The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) as Link Appleyard
- How the West Was Won (1962) as Cpl. Peterson
- It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) as Sheriff of Crockett County
- Zebra in the Kitchen (1965) as Branch Hawksbill
- The Ballad of Josie (1967) as Judge Tatum
- The Road Hustlers (1968) as Sheriff Estep
- The Over-the-Hill Gang (1969) as Judge Amos Polk
- The Phynx (1970) as Andy Devine
- Myra Breckinridge (1970) as Coyote Bill
- The Over-the-Hill Gang Rides Again (1970 TV movie) as Amos Polk
- Robin Hood (1973) as Friar Tuck and as a badger (voice)
- Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976) as priest in Dog Pound
- A Whale of a Tale (1976) as Captain Andy
- The Mouse and His Child (1977) as the frog (voice)
- Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok - 112 episodes (1951-1958) as Deputy Marshal Jingles P. Jones
- Andy's Gang (1955-1960) as Host
- Wagon Train - episode - The Jess MacAbee Story (1959) as Jess MacAbee
- The Twilight Zone - episode 95 - Hocus-Pocus and Frisby (1962) as Frisby
- Flipper 5 episodes (1964-1965) as Hap Gorman
- Batman - episode - The Duo is Slumming (1966) as Santa (uncredited)
- Bonanza - episode - A Girl Named George (1968) as Roscoe
- Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color - episodes - Ride a Northbound Horse: Parts 1 & 2 (1969)
- Gunsmoke - episode - Stryker (1969) as Jed Whitlow
- Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color - episodes - Smoke: Parts 1 & 2 (1970) as Mr. Stone
- Alias Smith and Jones - episode - The Men that Corrupted Hadleyburg (1972) as Sheriff Bintell
- Andy Devine, Western Character, Dead at 71. Fairbanks Daily News Miner, February 19, 1977. p. A6.
- Corneau, Ernest N. (1969). The Hall of Fame of Western Film Stars. Christopher Publishing House. p. 234. ISBN 978-0815801245.
- "New Movie Features C.M.A. Background". Culver-Union Township Public Library. Retrieved July 22, 2010.
- Frances Lane. "Prairie Tales". Screen Stars, April 1946, p. 72. Retrieved July 22, 2010.
- "Froggy the Gremlin". Froggy the Gremlin. Archived from the original on 7 February 2011. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- Stanley, John. "Andy Devine, Professional Sidekick". Arizona Republic, January 28, 2014.
- "Andy Devine Named 'Mayor'." Los Angeles Times, May 10, 1938.
- Collura, Joe. "Big Man, Bigger Talent". Classic Images, June 25, 2009.
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