Dennis O'Keefe

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Dennis O'Keefe
Dennis okeefe the kid from texas.jpg
Dennis O'Keefe in The Kid From Texas (1939)
Born Edward Vance Flanagan
(1908-03-29)March 29, 1908
Fort Madison, Iowa, U.S.
Died August 31, 1968(1968-08-31) (aged 60)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Cause of death Lung cancer[1]
Other names Bud Flanagan
Occupation Actor
Years active 1930–1967
Spouse(s) Louise Stanley
(m. 1937; div. 1938)
Steffi Duna
(m. 1940)
Children 1[3]

Dennis O'Keefe (born Edward Vance Flanagan, 29 March 1908 – 31 August 1968) was an American actor.


Born in Fort Madison, Iowa,[4] O'Keefe was the son of Irish vaudevillians working in the United States. As a small child, he joined his parents' act and later wrote skits for the stage.[4] O'Keefe started in films as an extra in the early 1930s and appeared in numerous films under the name Bud Flanagan. After a small but impressive role in Saratoga (1937), Clark Gable recommended O'Keefe to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which signed him to a contract in 1937 and renamed him Dennis O'Keefe. His film roles were bigger after that, starting with The Bad Man of Brimstone (1938) opposite Wallace Beery, and the lead role in Burn 'Em Up O'Connor (1939).

O'Keefe left MGM around 1940 but continued to work in mostly lower budget productions. He often played the tough guy in action and crime dramas, but was also known as a comic actor as well as a dramatic lead.

He gained great attention with a showy role in The Story of Dr Wassell and became a comedy star. He expressed interest in expanding into direction.[5]

In the mid-1940s, he was under a five-year contract to Edward Small.[6] O'Keefe starred in film-noir classics such as T-Men and Raw Deal, both directed by Anthony Mann.

In a 1946 newsreel following Howard Hughes' calamitous plane wreck into a neighbor's Beverly Hills house, O'Keefe can be seen walking through the home inspecting the damage.

In the 1950s, he did some directing and wrote mystery stories. He appeared on NBC's legal drama Justice and on the network's The Martha Raye Show. On October 3, 1957, he was a guest star on another NBC variety show, The Ford Show, starring Tennessee Ernie Ford. From 1957 to 1958, he was the host of Suspicion, a TV series produced by Alfred Hitchcock. From 1959-1960, he was the star of the CBS Television situation comedy, The Dennis O'Keefe Show.


Dennis O'Keefe with Carmen Miranda, in Doll Face (1946).

A heavy cigarette smoker, O'Keefe died of lung cancer in 1968 at the age of sixty at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California and was buried at Wee Kirk O' the Heather, Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale).[4]

Partial filmography[edit]

As Bud Flanagan:

As Dennis O'Keefe:


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  3. ^,5417937&hl=en
  4. ^ a b c "Actor Dennis O'Keefe, 60, Dies; Was Native of Iowa". The Des Moines Register. September 2, 1968. p. 11. Retrieved May 21, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read
  5. ^ "O'Keefe Achieves Stardom; Seeks Director's Post". Los Angeles Times. 12 October 1944. 
  6. ^ Philip K. Scheuer (23 August 1948). "Dennis O'Keefe Costar of Small's 'Dark Page;' Carmen, Wally Reunited". Los Angeles Times. 

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