Erik Rhodes (actor, born 1906)
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2013)|
February 10, 1906
El Reno, Oklahoma Territory, U.S.
|Died||February 17, 1990
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Emala Rhodes (1972–1984) (her death)|
Erik Rhodes (February 10, 1906 – February 17, 1990) was an American film and Broadway singer and actor. He is best remembered today for appearing in two classic Hollywood musical films with popular dancing team of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, The Gay Divorcee (1934) and Top Hat (1935).
Born Ernest Sharpe at El Reno, Indian Territory, now Oklahoma, USA, Rhodes started performing on the Broadway stage in A Most Immoral Lady (1928) using his birth name Ernest Sharpe. This was followed by two musicals The Little Show (1929) and Hey Nonny Nonny! (1932).
He first used the name Erik Rhodes when he appeared on Broadway in Gay Divorce (1932) and again in London in 1933. In this show, he gave a memorable comic portrayal of a spirited, feather-brained, thick-accented Italian character that impressed RKO executives enough to bring him to Hollywood to reprise the role in the film version, The Gay Divorcee (1934).
His last film in the pre-war years was On Your Toes (1939). By the end of the war, he was very socially active in New York City often seen with Baron Nicolas de Gunzburg, his onetime companion, and the Nordstrom Sisters at popular watering holes such as the Stork Club and 21 Club.
Between 1947 and 1964, he was back on Broadway in The Great Campaign, Dance Me a Song, Collector's Item, Shinbone Alley, Jamaica, How to Make a Man, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. In the Cole Porter musical Can-Can, he appeared as a lecherous art critic, and introduced the song "Come Along With Me".
Among his television appearances, he played the role of murder victim Herman Albright in the 1961 Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Violent Vest."
He married his wife Emala in 1972 and they lived in New York City until the early 1980s. He died of pneumonia in Oklahoma City at age 84 and is interred with his wife in the El Reno Cemetery in El Reno, Oklahoma.
- The Gay Divorcee (1934)
- Give Her a Ring (1934)
- Top Hat (1935)
- Another Face (1935)
- Old Man Rhythm (1935)
- The Nitwits (1935)
- A Night at the Ritz (1935)
- Charlie Chan In Paris (1935)
- Smartest Girl in Town (1936)
- Second Wife (1936)
- One Rainy Afternoon (1936)
- Special Investigator (1936)
- Chatterbox (1936)
- Two in the Dark (1936)
- Beg, Borrow or Steal (1937)
- Fight for Your Lady (1937)
- Music for Madame (1937)
- Woman Chases Man (1937)
- Criminal Lawyer (1937)
- Dramatic School (1938)
- Say It in French (1938)
- Mysterious Mr. Moto (1938)
- Meet the Girls (1938)
- The Canary Comes Across (1938)
- On Your Toes (1939)
- Hollywood The Golden Years: The RKO Story (1987)
- The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre "Mirage in Manhattan" (1948)
- Appointment with Adventure "Escape from Vienna" (1955)
- Perry Mason "The Case of the Violent Vest" (1961)
- The different spellings of Gay Divorce (Broadway play, 1932) and The Gay Divorcee (film, 1934) are not a typographic error. When the film was made, film censors objected to the description of a divorce as "gay" (in the traditional meaning of the word — happy, cheerful). Hence, the title change.
- Erik Rhodes at the Internet Broadway Database Retrieved on 2009-01-24
- Erik Rhodes at the Internet Movie Database Retrieved on 2009-01-24
- Erik Rhodes at Internet Off-Broadway Database
- "Erik Rhodes". Find a Grave. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
- Erik Rhodes papers, 1923-1979 (bulk 1950-1960s), held by the Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts