Eddie Bracken

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Eddie Bracken
Eddie Bracken.JPG
Edward Vincent Bracken

(1915-02-07)February 7, 1915
DiedNovember 14, 2002(2002-11-14) (aged 87)
  • Actor, comedian, singer
Years active1930–2002
Connie Nickerson
(m. 1939; died 2002)

Edward Vincent Bracken (February 7, 1915 – November 14, 2002) was an American actor. Bracken became a Hollywood comedy legend with lead performances in the films Hail the Conquering Hero and The Miracle of Morgan's Creek both from 1944, both of which have been preserved by the National Film Registry. During this era, he also had success on Broadway, with performances in plays like Too Many Girls (1939).

Bracken's later movie roles include National Lampoon's Vacation (1983), Oscar (1991), Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), and Rookie of the Year (1993).

Life and career[edit]

Howard Freeman and Eddie Bracken 1954

Edward Vincent Bracken was born in Astoria, Queens, New York on February 7, 1915, the son of Joseph L. and Catherine Bracken.[1] Bracken performed in vaudeville at the age of nine and gained fame with the Broadway musical Too Many Girls in a role he reprised for the 1940 film adaptation. He had performed in a short film series called The Kiddie Troupers (one of many Our Gang-like series) prior to that, but that film was his big break. In 1936, Bracken enjoyed success on Broadway with his starring run in the Joseph Viertel play So Proudly We Hail. The military drama, co-starring Richard Cromwell, opened to much fanfare but closed after 14 performances at the 46th Street Theatre.

In the 1940s, director Preston Sturges cast Bracken in two of his best-loved films, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek, opposite Betty Hutton, and Hail the Conquering Hero. Due to the popularity of these films, Eddie Bracken was a household name during World War II. He made numerous radio broadcasts and had his own program, The Eddie Bracken Show.

In 1953, Bracken left Hollywood. He appeared on Broadway in Shinbone Alley; Hello, Dolly!; The Odd Couple; and Sugar Babies. His last appearance on Broadway was in the musical Dreamtime, directed by David Niles at the Ed Sullivan Theater, at the age of 77.

Bracken's extensive television roles between 1952 and 2000 include an episode of The Golden Girls as Rose Nylund's ex-childhood boyfriend from St. Olaf, as well as an episode of Tales from the Darkside playing a stubborn old man who refuses to believe that he has died. After nearly 30 years out of feature films, he returned to perform character roles, including the sympathetic Walley World theme park founder Mr. Roy Walley in National Lampoon's Vacation(1983) and Duncan's Toy Chest toy store owner Mr. Duncan in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992). Bracken also had a long career with Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey, starring in dozens of productions in the 1980s–early 2000s. One high point was their production of Show Boat in which he played Captain Andy Hawkes. This production was broadcast on PBS in 1990. He also played a cameo in Patrick Read Johnson's 1994 film, Baby's Day Out, as one of the veterans in the old soldier's home.

Bracken acted in films with two actors who later became U.S. Presidents: Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump. He co-starred in The Girl from Jones Beach with Reagan in 1949, and Trump played minor parts in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York in 1992.[2]


On November 14, 2002, Eddie Bracken died in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, of complications from an undisclosed surgery at the age of 87.[2] His wife of 63 years, Connie Nickerson, a former actress, died in August 2002, just three months before his death.[1] He met Connie when they performed together in a road company of the Broadway play What a Life in 1938. Together Eddie and Connie had five children: two sons (Michael and David) and three daughters (Judy, Carolyn and Susan).

Hollywood Walk of Fame[edit]

For his contributions to radio and television, Bracken has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 1651 Vine Street and 6751 Hollywood Boulevard respectively.


Stage credits[edit]

Radio appearances[edit]

Year Program Episode/source
1944 Suspense Mystery Radio Play The Visitor[4]
1947 Suspense Mystery Radio Play Elwood[5]
1953 Broadway Playhouse Hail the Conquering Hero[6]


  1. ^ a b Severo, Richard (November 16, 2002). "Eddie Bracken Dies at 87; Acted in Sturges Comedies". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Eddie Bracken, 87, actor, comedian". Chicago Sun-Times. November 17, 2002. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved May 24, 2010.
  3. ^ "Eddie Bracken". Internet Broadway Database.
  4. ^ Blackstone Audio 'Suspense' Vol.2, issued 2015
  5. ^ "Suspense - Elwood" Escape and Suspense. Elwood starring Eddie Bracken, Joseph Kearns, aired on March 6, 1947.
  6. ^ Kirby, Walter (June 21, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 44. Retrieved July 1, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.

External links[edit]