Huntz Hall

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Huntz Hall
Huntzhall.jpg
BornHenry Richard Hall
(1920-08-15)August 15, 1920[1]
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedJanuary 30, 1999(1999-01-30) (aged 78)
North Hollywood, California, U.S.
OccupationActor
Years active1935–1994
Spouse(s)
Elsie May Anderson (m. 1940–1944)
(divorced)
Leslie Wright (m. 1948–1953)
(divorced)
Leah Hall (m. 1966–1999)
(his death)[2]
ChildrenReverend Gary Hall & Stevie Hall

Henry Richard "Huntz" Hall (August 15, 1920[1] – January 30, 1999) was an American radio, theatrical, and motion picture performer noted primarily for his roles in the "Dead End Kids" movies, such as Angels with Dirty Faces (1938), which gave way to the "Bowery Boys" movie franchise, a prolific and highly successful series of comedies in the 1940s and 1950s.

Life and career[edit]

Hall was born in 1920 in New York City[3] to Joseph Patrick Hall, an Irish immigrant air-conditioner repairman, and his wife Mary Ellen (Mullen).[1] The 14th of 16 children, he was nicknamed "Huntz" because of his Teutonic-looking nose.[4][5][6][7]

Hall attended Catholic schools[6] and started performing on radio at age 5.[8]

He appeared on Broadway in the 1935 production of Dead End, a play written and directed by Sidney Kingsley.[9] Hall was then cast along with the other Dead End Kids in the 1937 film Dead End, directed by William Wyler and starring Humphrey Bogart.[10]

Hall served in the United States Army during World War II. In 1943, he appeared in the USN training film "Don't Kill your Friends" as the moronic Ensign Dilbert the Pilot who, because of his carelessness and cavalier attitude, manages to kill a civilian and three servicemen.

Dilbert: Dont Kill Your Friends, 1943

In 1948, Hall was arrested for possession of marijuana, but his 1949 trial resulted in a hung jury.[11]

Hall later played the increasingly buffoonish Horace DeBussy "Sach" Jones in 48 "Bowery Boys" films, gaining top billing when his longtime partner, Leo Gorcey, left the series in 1956. Hall and Gorcey reunited in Second Fiddle to a Steel Guitar (1966) and The Phynx (1969).

He also appeared in other films, The Return of Doctor X (1939), including the war film A Walk in the Sun (1945), Gentle Giant (1967), Herbie Rides Again (1974), and The Manchu Eagle Murder Caper Mystery (1975) opposite Gabriel Dell, another former Bowery Boy.

In 1967, he became one of the celebrities featured on the cover of The Beatles' album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. In 1971, he co-starred along with Art Metrano, Jamie Farr and others in a sit-com on American TV, "The Chicago Teddy Bears". His plans to produce a movie series, "The Ghetto Boys" (a take on the "Bowery Boys"), fell through. In 1973, Hall took part in Princess Grace of Monaco's Council for Drug Abuse which was part of the Catholic Office of Drug Education.[12]

In 1976, he appeared alongside other Hollywood veteran stars in Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood and in 1977 he played movie mogul Jesse Lasky in Ken Russell's film Valentino. His later films included roles in Gas Pump Girls (1979) and The Escape Artist (1982), the latter of which reunited him again with Gabriel Dell. His final film appearance was in Auntie Lee's Meat Pies in 1993. He then performed in dinner theater productions before retiring in 1994.[8]

Behind Sach: The Huntz Hall Story by Jim Manago, published by BearManor Media in 2015, is the first biography of Hall.

Death[edit]

Hall died from congestive heart failure on January 30, 1999 at the age of 78 in North Hollywood, California. He was interred in a niche at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Leonard Getz in his 2006 book From Broadway to the Bowery published by McFarland & Company uses August 15 but the more authoritative Social Security Death Index uses August 18, 1920. The Independent uses August 15, 1919 and the New York Times lists his age as 78 which would make his birth year 1920. Walker and Roat's biography use 1919. As with many actors, their resumes conflict with more official documents submitted to the government.
  2. ^ Florida Marriage Index
  3. ^ Social Security Death Index
  4. ^ Huntz Hall, Allmovie
  5. ^ Leonard Getz (2006). From Broadway to the Bowery. McFarland & Company. ISBN 0-7864-2535-0.
  6. ^ a b Vallance, Tom (1999-03-03). "Huntz Hall". London: The Independent. Retrieved May 17, 2010. Henry Richard Hall (Huntz Hall), actor: born New York 15 August 1919; married four times (one son); died Los Angeles 30 January 1999.
  7. ^ "Huntz Hall". IMDB. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
  8. ^ a b c Michael T. Kaufman (February 2, 1999). "Huntz Hall, Perpetual Youth In 'Bowery' Films, Dies at 78". New York Times. Retrieved June 28, 2010. Huntz Hall, who for 20 years played the slow-witted sidekick of Leo Gorcey in more than 80 Bowery Boys, Dead End Kids and East Side Kids movies, died on Saturday in Los Angeles. He was 78. The cause was cardiac disease, his family said.
  9. ^ "Huntz Hall". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  10. ^ "Dead End (1937)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  11. ^ Vallance, Tom (February 3, 1999). "Obituary: Huntz Hall". The Independent. London.
  12. ^ David Ragan. "Who's Who in Hollywood 1900-1976", Arlington House, 1976, p. 176.

External links[edit]