Ernest Truex

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Ernest Truex
Ernest Truex 1.jpg
Born (1889-09-19)September 19, 1889
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
Died June 26, 1973(1973-06-26) (aged 83)
San Diego County, California, U.S.
Cause of death Heart attack
Occupation Actor
Years active 1913–1966
Spouse(s) Julia Mills (?-?) (her death)
Mary Jane Barrett (?-?) (divorced)
Sylvia Field (1937-1973, his death)
Children Philip, James, and Barry Truex

Ernest Truex (September 19, 1889 – June 26, 1973) was an American actor of stage, film, and television.


Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Truex started acting at age five and toured through Missouri at age nine as "The Child Wonder in Scenes from Shakespeare". His Broadway debut came in 1908, and he performed in several David Belasco plays and portrayed the titled role in the 1915 musical Very Good Eddie. In 1927, he created the role of Bill Paradene in Good Morning, Bill, adapted by P. G. Wodehouse based on a play by Ladislaus Fodor.[1]

He made his film debut in 1913, but did not work in film full-time for another twenty years. He tended to play "milquetoast" characters and in The Warrior's Husband he played a "nance". In the 1938 The Adventures of Marco Polo, he played Marco Polo's comical assistant, opposite Gary Cooper.

Early in television, Truex guest starred on CBS's Faye Emerson's Wonderful Town. In 1949, Truex played Caspar Milquetoast on the DuMont Television Network's Program Playhouse Series. From 1953 to 1954, he co-starred with a young Brandon deWilde in Jamie on ABC. He played aging Grandpa McHummer striking a bond with young Jamie, his recently orphaned grandson.

In later life, he became known for playing elderly men on television in works such as Justice, Mr. Peepers, Hazel, and Father Knows Best. He had the main role in the "Kick the Can" episode of Rod Serling's original The Twilight Zone (with his son Barry). In another Twilight Zone episode, "What You Need", he played a traveling peddler who just happened to have exactly what people needed just before they knew they needed it.

He starred in the first season (1958 – 1959) of CBS's The Ann Sothern Show as Jason Macauley, the manager of the swank Bartley House hotel in New York City. Reta Shaw played his domineering wife, Flora. In 1960, Truex appeared with Harpo Marx in the episode "Silent Panic" of CBS's anthology series The DuPont Show with June Allyson. He guest starred on the CBS sitcom, Dennis the Menace, with Jay North as the series lead.


His first wife was Julia Mills with whom he had two sons, Philip in 1920 and James in 1922. Philip had an acting career until the early 1950s. Philip Truex's most famous performance is the title role in Alfred Hitchcock's The Trouble with Harry as Harry, the corpse dragged all over the countryside by several other characters in this film.

A widower, he married stage actress Mary Jane Barrett, appearing with her in New York in such plays as The Third Little Show, (1931), The Hook-Up (1935), and Fredericka (1937). They had one child, Barry Truex, who had a brief acting career of his own. In 1934, Truex directed, co-produced, and starred in the play Sing and Whistle, which co-starred actress Sylvia Field who would later become his third wife upon his divorce from Mary Jane Barrett.


On June 26, 1973, Truex died of a heart attack at the age of 83.

Partial filmography[edit]


  1. ^ "Occasional Performers in Plum's Plays". Wooster Sauce/By the Way 59: 2. March 2015. 

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