Frank Albertson

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Frank Albertson
The Brat (1931) 1.jpg
Publicity still with Albertson (left) on the left for The Brat (1931)
Born Francis Healey Albertson
(1909-02-02)February 2, 1909
Fergus Falls, Minnesota, U.S.
Died February 29, 1964(1964-02-29) (aged 55)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1923–1964
Spouse(s) Virginia Shelley (1931–1943; divorced); 2 children
Grace Gillern (1943–1964; his death); 3 children

Frank Albertson (February 2, 1909 – February 29, 1964) was an American character actor who made his debut in a minor part in Hollywood at age thirteen. He had supporting roles in classics such as It's a Wonderful Life (1946) and Psycho (1960).

His last appearance was on The Andy Griffith Show, in which he played a Marine commander completing an inspection. The episode aired on May 19, 1964, three months after Albertson died.

Life and career[edit]

Francis Healey Albertson was a native of Fergus Falls, Minnesota, the first child of Frank B. and Mary (née Healey) Albertson. He spent his childhood first in nearby Frazee,[1] and later in Puyallup, Washington.[2] As a young man in Los Angeles, he worked as a laboratory assistant in a photographic shop, which resulted in contacts leading to his acting career.[3]

Albertson made well over one hundred appearances (1923–1964) in movies and television. In his early career he often sang and danced in such films as Just Imagine (1930) and A Connecticut Yankee (1931). He was featured in Alice Adams (1935) as the title character's brother, and in Room Service (1938) he played opposite the Marx Brothers. He served in the U.S. Army Air Forces' First Motion Picture Unit making training films during World War II. As he aged he moved from featured roles to supporting and character parts—in his later career he can be seen as Sam Wainwright, the businessman fond of saying "Hee-Haw" in the movie It's a Wonderful Life (1946).

Albertson portrayed future U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt in the 1956 episode "Rough Rider" of the CBS western television series My Friend Flicka. He guest starred in the early NBC western series The Californians and twice in the David Janssen crime drama Richard Diamond, Private Detective.

He was cast in 1959 and 1962 in different roles on Walter Brennan's sitcom The Real McCoys. In 1960, he appeared as General Devery in the episode "Strange Encounter" of the ABC/Warner Brothers western series Colt .45.[4]

In 1960, he played the wealthy rancher Tom Cassidy at the beginning of Psycho (1960) who provides the $40,000 in cash that Janet Leigh's character later steals. In the 1960-61 television season, he played the character Mr. Cooper in five episodes of the CBS sitcom Bringing Up Buddy, starring Frank Aletter. In 1964, Albertson was cast as Jim O'Neal in the episode "The Death of a Teacher" of the NBC education drama Mr. Novak. One of his final screen appearances was as "Sam," the bewildered mayor of Sweet Apple, Ohio, in the 1963 film musical Bye Bye Birdie.[5]


Albertson died in his sleep at his home in Santa Monica, California, on February 29, 1964, aged 55. He was survived by his second wife, Grace Gillern Albertson, and his five children from his two marriages.[3]

For contributions to the motion picture industry, Frank Albertson was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6754 Hollywood Boulevard.[6]

Partial filmography[edit]


  1. ^ 1910 United States Census; Census Place: Frazee, Becker, Minnesota; Roll: T624_689; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 0003; Image: 728; FHL Number: 1374702.
  2. ^ 1920 United States Census;Census Place: Puyallup, Pierce, Washington; Roll: T625_1937; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 226; Image: 1048.
  3. ^ a b Pasadena Star-News, March 3, 1964, p. 16
  4. ^ "Frank Albertson". IMDb. Retrieved January 8, 2013. 
  5. ^ Full Cast of Bye Bye Birdie at the Internet Movie Database
  6. ^ "Hollywood Walk of Fame - Frank Albertson". Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved February 14, 2017. 

External links[edit]