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Publicity photo of Ruggles from his guest appearance on Dick Powell Theatre (1963)
|Born||Charles Sherman Ruggles
February 8, 1886
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Died||December 23, 1970
Saint John's Health Center
|Cause of death||Cancer|
|Resting place||Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale|
|Spouse(s)||Adele Rowland (1914–1921) (divorced)
Marion LaBarba (1942–1970) (divorced)
Charles Sherman “Charlie” Ruggles (February 8, 1886 – December 23, 1970) was a comic American character actor. In a career spanning six decades, Ruggles appeared in close to 100 feature films, often in mild-mannered and comic roles. He was also the elder brother of director, producer, and silent actor Wesley Ruggles (1889–1972).
Charlie Ruggles was born in Los Angeles, California in 1886. Despite training to be a doctor, Ruggles soon found himself on the stage, appearing in a stock production of Nathan Hale in 1905. At Los Angeles's Majestic Theatre, he played the romantic lead Private Jo Files in L. Frank Baum and Louis F. Gottschalk's musical, The Tik-Tok Man of Oz in 1913. He moved to Broadway to appear in Help Wanted in 1914. His first screen role came in the silent Peer Gynt the following year. Throughout the 1910s and 1920s Ruggles continued to appear in silent movies, though his passion remained the stage, appearing in long-running productions such as The Passing Show of 1918, The Demi-Virgin and Battling Butler. His most famous stage hit was one of his last before a twenty-year hiatus, Queen High, produced in 1930.
From 1929, Ruggles appeared in talking pictures. His first was Gentleman of the Press in which he played a comic, alcoholic newspaper reporter. Throughout the 1930s he was teamed with comic actress Mary Boland in a string of domestic farces, notably If I Had a Million, Six of a Kind, Ruggles of Red Gap, and People Will Talk; Boland was the domineering wife and Ruggles the mild-mannered husband. Ruggles is best remembered today as the big-game hunter in Bringing Up Baby and billionaire Michael J. 'Mike' O'Connor in It Happened on Fifth Avenue . In other films he often played the "comic relief" character in otherwise straight films. In all, he appeared in about 100 movies.
In 1949, Ruggles halted his film career to return to the stage and to move into television. He was the headline character in the TV series The Ruggles, a family comedy in which he played a character also called Charlie Ruggles, and The World of Mr. Sweeney. He guest starred on NBC's The Martha Raye Show and portrayed a time-traveling librarian in "Man From 1997," a 1956 science fiction episode of the television anthology series Conflict; the show featured James Garner in a pivotal early supporting role. In 1961, Ruggles was cast in "Hassie's European Tour", in which he portrays a wealthy neighbor who offers to finance a European trip for series character Hassie McCoy (Lydia Reed) on ABC's The Real McCoys, starring Walter Brennan.
Ruggles returned to the big screen in 1961, playing Charles McKendrick in The Parent Trap and Mackenzie Savage in The Pleasure of His Company. In the latter film, he reprised the role for which he had won a Tony Award in 1959. In 1963 he memorably played the grandfather of silent star Corinne Griffith in Papa's Delicate Condition. Griffith herself had written the book of her early life on which the film is based. Ruggles had a recurring guest role on The Beverly Hillbillies in the mid-1960s as Lowell Redlings Farquhar, father-in-law of Milburn Drysdale (Raymond Bailey). Ruggles also played Aunt Clara's (Marion Lorne) old flame, the warlock Hedley Partridge, as well as a Mr. Caldwell, whose company marketed soup, in the television series Bewitched. Ruggles also played Congressman John Canfield on an episode of The Andy Griffith Show called "Aunt Bee, The Swinger", and appeared as a driving instructor on The Munsters.
Both of his marriages, to Adele Rowland (1914–1921) and Marion LaBarba (1942–1970), ended in divorce.
Ruggles died of cancer at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California on December 23, 1970 at the age of 84. He is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California in the Garden of Memory, L-1007 near his brother, Wesley Ruggles.
He has 3 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for his contributions to motion pictures on 6200 Hollywood Boulevard, one for his radio work on 6300 Hollywood Boulevard, and one for television is on 1600 Vine Street.
- The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1914)
- Hushing the Scandal (1915)
- The Majesty of the Law (1915)
- Peer Gynt (1915)
- The Reform Candidate (1915)
- The Heart Raider (1923)
- Gentlemen of the Press (1929)
- The Lady Lies (1929)
- The Battle of Paris (1929)
- Young Man of Manhattan (1930)
- Roadhouse Nights (1930)
- Charley's Aunt (1930)
- Queen High (1930)
- Honor Among Lovers (1931)
- The Smiling Lieutenant (1931)
- One Hour with You (1932)
- 70,000 Witnesses (1932)
- This Is the Night (1932)
- Love Me Tonight (1932)
- Trouble in Paradise (1932)
- If I Had a Million (1932) with W. C. Fields, Gary Cooper, Charles Laughton, etc.
- Goodbye Love (film) (1930)
- Murders in the Zoo (1933)
- Girl Without a Room (1933)
- Six of a Kind (1933) with W. C. Fields, George Burns, and Gracie Allen
- Murder in the Private Car (1934)
- Ruggles of Red Gap (1935) with Charles Laughton and Zasu Pitts
- The Big Broadcast of 1936 (1935)
- Anything Goes (1936) with Bing Crosby and Ethel Merman
- Hearts Divided (1936)
- Service de Luxe (1938)
- Bringing Up Baby (1938) with Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant
- His Exciting Night (1938) with Maxie Rosenbloom and Stepin Fetchit
- Night Work (1939)
- Public Deb No. 1 (1940)
- The Invisible Woman (1940)
- The Farmer's Daughter (1940) with Martha Raye
- Honeymoon for Three (1941)
- Friendly Enemies (1942)
- Three Is a Family (1944)
- The Doughgirls (1944)
- Incendiary Blonde (1945)
- A Stolen Life (1946) with Bette Davis and Glenn Ford
- Gallant Journey (1946)
- It Happened on 5th Avenue (1947)
- Ramrod (1947)
- The Lovable Cheat (1949)
- Ben and Me (1953) (voice) Ben Franklin
- The Bells of St. Mary's (1959) (TV)
- All in a Night's Work (1961) with Dean Martin and Shirley MacLaine
- The Parent Trap (1961)
- Papa's Delicate Condition (1963) with Jackie Gleason
- I'd Rather Be Rich (1964)
- Bewitched (1965) (TV, 1 episode)
- The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1965) (TV, 1 episode)
- The Ugly Dachshund (1966)
- Follow Me, Boys! (1966)
|1942||Suspense||The Burning Court|
|1942||Philip Morris Playhouse||Friendly Enemies|
- Bewitched, 'Help, Help, Don't Save Me' (ABC, 1964), script by Danny Arnold & Sol Saks
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- "Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, CA". www.nndb.com. Retrieved 2015-12-28.
- "Charlie Ruggles (1886 - 1970) - Find A Grave Memorial". www.findagrave.com. Retrieved 2015-12-28.
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- "Bruce Guthrie Photos: CA -- Glendale -- Forest Lawn Memorial Park". bguthriephotos.com. Retrieved 2015-12-28.
- "Charles Ruggles". latimes.com. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
- "Those Were the Days". Nostalgia Digest 38 (3): 32–39. Summer 2012.
- "Playhouse Presents Stars in Radio Adaptation of "Friendly Enemies"". Harrisburg Telegraph. June 20, 1942. p. 22. Retrieved August 4, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
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