Bob Bailey (actor)

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Bob Bailey
Bob Bailey.jpg
Bailey in 1937
Robert Bainter Bailey

(1913-06-13)June 13, 1913
DiedAugust 13, 1983(1983-08-13) (aged 70)
Resting placeChapel of the Pines Crematory
OccupationRadio and film actor
Years active1928–1964
Spouse(s)Glorianna Royston (1936–?)

Bob Bailey (born Robert Bainter Bailey; June 13, 1913 – August 13, 1983) was an American actor who performed mostly on radio but also appeared in films.

Early years[edit]

Bailey's parents were actor Edwin B. Bailey and actress Grace Lockwood Bailey, both of whom performed in early 1900s stock theater. He made his first appearance on stage with his mother when he was 10 days old. He took his middle name from actress Fay Bainter, who was his godmother. He began performing in his parents' stock company when he was 4 years old and continued to work there until he was 15.[1]


At age 15, Bailey worked in a wild-west carnival as both a barker and an actor. He went on to work at other places as an usher, a waiter, and a guide at an automobile exhibit, among other jobs.[1]

Bailey first worked in radio in Chicago. His mother had left the stage for the newer medium, and she helped him find work on soap operas. He moved to St. Louis when he was offered a job at radio station KWK, but he resumed acting when an executive at KWK made him the head of the station's stock company.[1]

In 1936, Bailey went back to Chicago to get married and to perform with the Chicago Theater of the Air. He remained in Chicago until he had to go to the West Coast for some programs in 1942.[1]

One of Bailey's earliest roles on radio was that of the title character in the comedy serial Mortimer Gooch (1936–37) on CBS.[2]: 366  In the early 1940s Bailey was regularly featured on network radio programs originating from Chicago. He played the boyfriend of the title character's sister in That Brewster Boy[3] and the father of the title character in Meet Corliss Archer.[4] He played Bob Jones in Kitty Keene, Inc..[2]

He was signed in 1943 by 20th Century-Fox and appeared in seven feature films; the first two (in which he was most prominent) starred Laurel and Hardy.[5] After the studio failed to renew Bailey's one-year contract, he returned to radio.

Starting in 1946, Bailey starred as freelance detective George Valentine in the radio drama Let George Do It,[6] but he is best remembered as the title character in the long-running radio series Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar. The program ran from 1949 to 1962 (it and Suspense were the last CBS radio drama series on the air until the CBS Radio Mystery Theater began in 1974) and featured the exploits of "America's fabulous freelance insurance investigator"; Bailey starred as Johnny from 1955 to 1960[7] and wrote the script for the December 22, 1957 episode "The Carmen Kringle Matter" using the pen name "Robert Bainter".[8]

With CBS devoting more money to television and wanting to reduce costs, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar relocated to New York in 1960 and Bailey, unwilling to relocate, was dismissed. Having performed in almost 500 episodes, he had made the role his own. With the end of his involvement, the show wound down over the following two years (with two different actors) before being taken off the air in 1962, by which time Bailey had virtually given up acting.[citation needed]

Near the end of the 1962 film Birdman of Alcatraz, he can be seen as one of the reporters gathered around Burt Lancaster and Edmond O'Brien. Bailey's role was only a bit, and most of his dialogue was dubbed by another actor.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

In 1936, Bailey married Glorianna Royston, a model.[1]

Last years and death[edit]

Bailey struggled with alcoholism, but did overcome his addiction. He ended up working in a rehab facility helping others with similar struggles. After suffering a stroke he was in a rest home for the last ten years of his life. He died in Lancaster, California, aged 70, on August 13, 1983.


Year Title Role Notes
1943 Jitterbugs Chester Wright
1943 The Dancing Masters Grant Lawrence
1944 Tampico Second Mate Watson
1944 The Eve of St. Mark Corporal Tate
1944 Ladies of Washington Dr. Stephen Craig
1944 Wing And A Prayer Ensign Paducah Holloway
1944 Sunday Dinner For A Soldier Kenneth Normand
1953 No Escape Detective Bob
1955 Not as a Stranger Charlie – Patient in Recovery Ward Uncredited
1958 The Line Up Staples
1962 Birdman of Alcatraz Reporter on Dock Uncredited
1964 A Tiger Walks First Reporter at Hotel Desk Uncredited


  1. ^ a b c d e Niemeyer, Harry (October 22, 1944). "Lost His Job as Movie Usher". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. St. Louis, MO. p. 58. Retrieved April 17, 2020 – via
  2. ^ a b Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924–1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 190. ISBN 978-0-7864-4513-4.
  3. ^ "President Will Speak On Labor Day Broadcast". The Fresno Bee The Republican. August 31, 1941. p. 10. Retrieved March 28, 2015 – via open access
  4. ^ "She's In Again". The Mason City Globe-Gazette. January 28, 1943. p. 2. Retrieved March 28, 2015 – via open access
  5. ^ MacGillivray, Scott, Laurel & Hardy from the Forties Forward (Second Edition), iUniverse, 2009.
  6. ^ Dunning, J.: "Tune in Yesterday", Prentice-Hall, 1976
  7. ^ Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio (Revised ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 741–743. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. Retrieved December 1, 2019. 742 Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar Bob Bailey as Johnny Dollar.
  8. ^ "He wrote some episodes of Fury, which starred Peter Graves and Johnny Diamond, along with a black horse, under his alternate pen-name of Robert B. Bailey". Retrieved January 24, 2018.

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