Erik Rhodes (actor, born 1906)
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February 10, 1906
|Died||February 17, 1990 (aged 84)|
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Oklahoma|
Erik Rhodes (born Ernest Sharpe; 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 the popular dancing team of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers: The Gay Divorcee (1934) and Top Hat (1935).
The son of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest A. Sharpe, he was born at El Reno, Indian Territory, now Oklahoma, Rhodes attended Central High School and the University of Oklahoma. While he was a student at the university, he earned a scholarship that enabled him to spend a year in New York studying voice.
Rhodes started performing on the Broadway stage in A Most Immoral Lady (1928) using his birth name, Ernest R. 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).[note 1]
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". In 1946, he was called in to take over a role in the Vernon Duke musical Sweet Bye and Bye during its tryout, but the show closed before reaching Broadway.
On radio, Rhodes was heard regularly on the variety show 51 East 51st. Among his television appearances, he performed in the variety program Wonder Boy and played the role of murder victim Herman Albright in the 1961 Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Violent Vest."
- Give Her a Ring (1934) – Otto Brune
- The Gay Divorcee (1934) – Rodolfo Tonetti
- Charlie Chan in Paris (1935) – Max Corday
- A Night at the Ritz (1935) – Leopold Jaynos
- The Nitwits (1935) – George Clark
- Old Man Rhythm (1935) – Frank Rochet
- Top Hat (1935) – Alberto Beddini
- Another Face (1935) – Grimm – Assistant Director
- Two in the Dark (1936) – Carlo Gheet
- Chatterbox (1936) – Mr. Archie Fisher
- Special Investigator (1936) – Benny Gray
- One Rainy Afternoon (1936) – Count Alfredo Donstelli
- Second Wife (1936) – Dave Bennet
- Smartest Girl in Town (1936) – Baron Enrico Torene
- Criminal Lawyer (1937) – Bandini
- Woman Chases Man (1937) – Henri Saffron
- Music for Madame (1937) – Spaghetti Nadzio
- Fight for Your Lady (1937) – Anton Spadissimo
- Beg, Borrow or Steal (1937) – Lefevre
- The Canary Comes Across (1938, Short) – Canary Dillon
- Meet the Girls (1938) – Maurice Leon
- Mysterious Mr. Moto (1938) – David Scott-Frensham
- Say It in French (1938) – Irving
- Dramatic School (1938) – Georges Mounier
- On Your Toes (1939) – Konstantin Morrisine
- Hollywood The Golden Years: The RKO Story (1987, TV Series documentary) – Himself
- The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre (1948, Episode: "Mirage in Manhattan")
- Appointment with Adventure (1955, Episode: "Escape from Vienna")
- Perry Mason (1961, Episode: "The Case of the Violent Vest") – Herman Albright
- "Midwest". The Oklahoma News. Oklahoma, Oklahoma City. January 27, 1935. p. 13. Retrieved April 23, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Erik Rhodes, 84; Comedian, Actor". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. February 21, 1990. p. 18. Retrieved April 23, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Erik Rhodes". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on April 23, 2020. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
- Bergen, Ronald (February 23, 1990). "A really funny 'funny foreigner'". The Guardian. England, London. p. 39. Retrieved April 23, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
- Wallace, Kenneth G. (January 20, 1966). "'Remains To Be Seen' Is A Hit". The Morning Call. New Jersey, Paterson. p. 25. Retrieved April 23, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
- Bolton, Whitney (December 15, 1963). "Comedians rally As 'Forum' readies Visit to Forrest". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. p. 100. Retrieved April 24, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
- Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-7864-4513-4.
- Erik Rhodes at the Internet Broadway Database Retrieved on 2009-01-24
- Erik Rhodes on IMDb Retrieved on 2009-01-24
- "Erik Rhodes". Find a Grave. Retrieved January 24, 2009.
- Erik Rhodes papers, 1923–1979 (bulk 1950-1960s), held by the Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts