Edward Everett Horton
|Edward Everett Horton|
March 18, 1886|
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|Died||September 29, 1970
Encino, California, U.S.
|Other names||E.E. Horton
Edward E. Horton
|Alma mater||Oberlin College|
|Occupation||Actor, singer, dancer|
Horton was born in Brooklyn, twelve years before New York City was consolidated, to Isabella S. (née Diack) and Edward Everett Horton, a compositor for The New York Times. His mother was born in Matanzas, Cuba to Mary Orr and George Diack, immigrants from Scotland. He attended Boys' High School, Brooklyn and Baltimore City College, where he was later inducted into that school's Hall of Fame.
He began his college career at Oberlin College in Ohio. He was asked to leave after an incident where he climbed to the top of the Service Building, and after collecting an audience, threw off a dummy, causing the viewers to think he had jumped. Later, he attended college at Brooklyn Polytechnic and Columbia University, where he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi.
Stage and film career
Horton began his stage career in 1906, singing and dancing and playing small parts in vaudeville and in Broadway productions. In 1919, he moved to Los Angeles, California, where he began acting in Hollywood films. His first starring role was in the comedy Too Much Business (1922), but he portrayed the lead role of an idealistic young classical composer in Beggar on Horseback (1925). In the late 1920s he starred in two-reel silent comedies for Educational Pictures, and made the transition to talking pictures with Educational in 1929. As a stage trained performer, he found more film work easily, and appeared in some of Warner Bros.' early talkies, including The Terror (1928) and Sonny Boy (1929).
Horton initially used his given name, Edward Horton, professionally. His father persuaded him to adopt his full name professionally, reasoning that there might be other actors named Edward Horton, but only one named Edward Everett Horton. Horton soon cultivated his own special variation of the time-honored double take (an actor's reaction to something, followed by a delayed, more extreme reaction). In Horton's version, he would smile ingratiatingly and nod in agreement with what just happened; then, when realization set in, his facial features collapsed entirely into a sober, troubled mask.
Horton starred in many comedy features in the 1930s, usually playing a mousy fellow who put up with domestic or professional problems to a certain point, and then finally asserted himself for a happy ending. He is best known, however, for his work as a character actor in supporting roles. These include The Front Page (1931), Trouble in Paradise (1932), Alice in Wonderland (1933), The Gay Divorcee (1934, the first of several Astaire/Rogers films in which Horton appeared), Top Hat (1935), Danger - Love at Work (1937), Lost Horizon (1937), Holiday (1938), Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), Pocketful of Miracles (1961), It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), and Sex and the Single Girl (1964). His last role was in the comedy film Cold Turkey (1971), in which his character communicated only through facial expressions.
Radio and television
From 1945-47, Horton hosted radio's Kraft Music Hall. An early television appearance came in the play Sham, shown on The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre on 13 December 1948. During the 1950s, Horton worked in television. One of his best remembered appearances is in an episode of CBS's I Love Lucy, in which he is cast against type as a frisky, amorous suitor, broadcast in 1952. In 1960, he guest starred on ABC's sitcom The Real McCoys as J. Luther Medwick, grandfather of the boyfriend of series character Hassie McCoy (Lydia Reed). In the story line, Medwick clashes with the equally outspoken Grandpa Amos McCoy (played by Walter Brennan).
He remains, however, best known to the Baby Boomer Generation as the venerable narrator of Fractured Fairy Tales in The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show (1959–61), an American animated television series that originally aired from November 19, 1959, to June 27, 1964, on the ABC and NBC television networks.
In 1962, he portrayed the character Uncle Ned in three episodes of the CBS television series Dennis the Menace. In 1965, he played the medicine man, Roaring Chicken, in the ABC sitcom F Troop. He echoed this role, portraying Chief Screaming Chicken, on ABC's Batman as a pawn to Vincent Price's Egghead in the villain's attempt to take control of Gotham City.
Death and legacy
Horton's companion for many years was actor Gavin Gordon, who was 15 years his junior. They both appeared (but shared no scenes) in only one film, Pocketful of Miracles (1961). They also appeared together in at least one play, a 1931 production of Noël Coward's Private Lives.
In 1925, Horton purchased several acres in the district of Encino and lived on the property at 5521 Amestoy Avenue until his death. He named the estate, which contained Horton's own house and houses for his brother, his sister and their respective families, Belleigh Acres. In the 1950s, the state of California forced Horton to sell a portion of his property for construction of the Ventura Freeway. The freeway construction left a short stump of Amestoy Avenue south of Burbank Boulevard and shortly after his death, the city of Los Angeles renamed that portion Edward Everett Horton Lane.
Edward Everett Horton Lane ends at Burbank Boulevard. On the other side of the boulevard is a bus stop also named for Edward Everett Horton, between bus stops at Aldea and Balboa.
|1923||Ruggles of Red Gap||Ruggles||Credited as Edward Horton|
|1924||Helen's Babies||Uncle Harry|
|Poker Faces||Jimmy Whitmore|
|1929||Ask Dad||Dad||Short film|
|Sonny Boy||Crandall Thorpe|
|The Hottentot||Sam Harrington|
|The Aviator||Robert Steele|
|1930||Wide Open||Simon Haldane|
|1931||Kiss Me Again||René||Alternative title: Toast of the Legion|
|Lonely Wives||Richard Smith/Felix, the Great Zero|
|The Front Page||Roy V. Bensinger|
|Smart Woman||Billy Ross|
|1932||Trouble in Paradise||François Filiba|
|1933||Soldiers of the King||Sebastian Marvello|
|A Bedtime Story||Victor Dubois|
|It's a Boy||Dudley Leake|
|Alice in Wonderland||The Hatter|
|Design for Living||Max Plunkett|
|1934||Easy to Love||Eric|
|Kiss and Make-Up||Marcel Caron|
|Ladies Should Listen||Paul Vernet|
|The Merry Widow||Ambassador Popoff|
|The Gay Divorcee||Egbert Fitzgerald|
|1935||All the King's Horses||Count Josef von Schlapstaat|
|The Devil Is a Woman||Governor Don "Paquitito" Paquito|
|Going Highbrow||Augie Winterspoon|
|Top Hat||Horace Hardwick|
|The Private Secretary||Reverend Robert Spalding|
|Little Big Shot||Mortimer|
|1936||The Man in the Mirror||Jeremy Dilke|
|1937||Lost Horizon||Alexander P. Lovett|
|The King and the Chorus Girl||Count Humbert Evel Bruger|
|Shall We Dance||Jeffrey Baird|
|Danger - Love at Work||Howard Rogers|
|The Great Garrick||Tubby|
|Hitting a New High||Lucius B. Blynn|
|1938||Bluebeard's Eighth Wife||The Marquis De Loiselle|
|College Swing||Hubert Dash|
|Holiday||Professor Nick Potter|
|1939||The Gang's All Here||Treadwell|
|That’s Right You’re Wrong||Tom Village|
|1941||Ziegfeld Girl||Noble Sage|
|Here Comes Mr. Jordan||Messenger 7013|
|1942||The Magnificent Dope||Horace Hunter|
|I Married an Angel||Peter|
|Springtime in the Rockies||McTavish|
|1943||Forever and a Day||Sir Anthony Trimble-Pomfret|
|Thank Your Lucky Stars||Farnsworth|
|The Gang's All Here||Peyton Potter|
|1944||Arsenic and Old Lace||Mr. Witherspoon|
|Brazil||Everett St. John Everett|
|The Town Went Wild||Everett Conway|
|San Diego, I Love You||Philip McCooley|
|1945||Lady on a Train||Mr. Haskell|
|1946||Faithful in My Fashion||Hiram Dilworthy|
|1947||Down to Earth||Messenger 7013|
|Her Husband's Affairs||J. B. Cruikshank|
|1957||The Story of Mankind||Sir Walter Raleigh|
|1961||Pocketful of Miracles||Hudgins|
|1963||One Got Fat||Narrator||Short subject|
|It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World||Mr. Dinckler|
|1964||Sex and the Single Girl||The Chief|
|1967||The Perils of Pauline||Caspar Coleman|
|1971||Cold Turkey||Hiram C. Grayson (non-speaking role)||Released posthumously|
|1949||The Ford Theatre Hour||Sheridan Whiteside||1 episode|
|1952||I Love Lucy||Mr. Ritter||1 episode|
|1956||General Electric Theater||Mr. Parkinson||1 episode|
|1957||Playhouse 90||Mr. Carver||1 episode|
|1959–1964||The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends||Many Roles||All episodes|
|1960||The Real McCoys||Mr. Medwick||1 episode|
|1962||Mr. Smith Goes to Washington||Senator Crabtree||1 episode|
|1962–1963||Dennis the Menace||Ned Matthews||3 episodes|
|1963||Our Man Higgins||Rawley||"Who's on First?" with Don Drysdale|
|1965||Burke's Law||Wilbur Starlington||1 episode|
|1965–1966||F Troop||Roaring Chicken||6 episodes|
|1966||Batman||Chief Screaming Chicken||episodes 47 and 48|
|1969||It Takes a Thief||Lord Pelham-Gifford||1 episode|
|1969||2000 Years Later||Evermore|
|1970||Nanny and the Professor||Professor Clarendon||1 episode|
|1971||The Governor & J.J.||Doc Simon||2 episodes|
|1952||Musical Comedy Theater||On an Island with You|
- Slide, Anthony (November 13, 1998). Eccentrics of Comedy. Scarecrow Press. p. 65. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
- Fowler, James (April 12, 1997). "Horton's House Grew with Film Career". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
- "Actor Edward Everett Horton Dies at 84". Dayton Beach Morning Journal. October 1, 1970.
- "Edward Everett Horton, Jr.". Ancestry.com. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
- Bernstein, Neil (2008). "Notable City College Knights". Baltimore, MD: Baltimore City College Alumni Association.
- Aliperti, Cliff (December 7, 2011). "Edward Everett Horton – Biography of the Beloved Character Actor". Immortal Ephemera. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
- Desowitz, Bill (August 27, 1999). "Something 'Fractured,' Something New". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
- "Stars and Talkies of Hollywood". The Spokesman-Review. October 27, 1931. p. 5.
- "Edward Everett Horton's Encino Ranch Estate and the 101 Freeway; How A Celebrity Lost His Ranch to Suburbanization". San Fernando Valley Blog. 4 April 2012. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
- Kirby, Walter (March 16, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 44. Retrieved May 23, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
Media related to Edward Everett Horton at Wikimedia Commons