J. Edward Bromberg
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J. Edward Bromberg
Bromberg in Queen of the Amazons (1947)
December 25, 1903
|Died||December 6, 1951 (aged 47)|
|Resting place||Mount Hebron Cemetery, New York City|
|Spouse(s)||Goldie Doberman (1927–?; 3 children)|
Joseph Edward Bromberg (born Josef Bromberger, December 25, 1903 – December 6, 1951) was a Romanian-born American character actor in motion picture and stage productions dating mostly from the 1930s and 1940s.
Born to a Jewish family in Temeschburg (Temesvár), Austria-Hungary (now Timişoara, Romania), Bromberg was 11 months old when his parents, Herman and Josephine Roth Bromberg, emigrated to the United States with him in the second cabin class on the S/S Graf Waldersee, which sailed from Cuxhaven, Germany, 18 March 1905 and arrived at the Port of New York, 31 March. They settled in New York City. After graduating from Stuyvesant High School, he attended City College of New York for two years and then went to work to help pay for acting lessons with the Russian coach Leo Bulgakov, who had trained with Konstantin Stanislavski.
By virtue of his physique, the short, somewhat rotund actor was destined to play secondary roles. Bromberg made his stage debut at the Greenwich Village Playhouse and in 1926 made his first appearance in a Broadway play, Princess Turandot. The following year, Bromberg married Goldie Doberman, with whom he had three children.
Occasionally credited as J.E. Bromberg' and Joseph Bromberg, he performed secondary roles in 35 Broadway productions and 53 motion pictures until 1951. For two decades, Bromberg was highly regarded in the New York theatrical world and was a founding member of the Civic Repertory Theatre (1928–1930) and of the Group Theatre (1931–1940).
Bromberg made his screen debut in 1936 under contract to Twentieth Century-Fox. The versatile actor played a wide variety of roles ranging from a ruthless New York newspaper editor (in Charlie Chan on Broadway) to a despotic Arabian sheik (in Mr. Moto Takes a Chance). Although he spoke with no trace of an accent, he was often called upon to play humble immigrants of various nationalities. When Warner Oland, the actor who played Charlie Chan, died in 1938, Fox considered Bromberg as a suitable replacement, but the role ultimately went to Sidney Toler. Fox began loaning Bromberg to other studios in 1939 and finally dropped him from the roster in 1941. He kept working for various producers, including a stint at Universal Pictures in the mid-1940s.
Bromberg's most outstanding attribute was his facility with sensitive character roles; he could take a standard, undistinguished supporting part and make it unforgettably sympathetic. In Hollywood Cavalcade he portrays Don Ameche's friend who knows he will never get the girl; in Three Sons he is the lowly business associate who longs to be given a partnership; in Easy to Look At he is the once-great couturier now reduced to night watchman.
In September 1950, the anti-communist magazine Red Channels accused Bromberg of being a member of the American Communist Party. Subpoenaed to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in June 1951, Bromberg refused to answer any questions in accordance with his Fifth Amendment rights.
As a result, he was blacklisted from Hollywood. He suffered enormous stress from the ordeal; friends noted that he aged considerably in a very short time. In 1951 Bromberg sought work in England, but died within the year of a heart attack while working in the London play The Biggest Thief in Town. He was just a few weeks short of his forty-eighth birthday.
In 1952, he and seven other Group Theater members were named by Elia Kazan as Communist Party members in testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee.
- Princess Turandot (1926) - Tartaglia and as Ishmael
- House of Connelly (1931) - Duffy
- Night Over Taos (1932) - Pablo Montoya
- Both Your Houses (1933) - Wingblatt
- Men in White (1933) - Dr. Hochberg
- Gold Eagle Guy (1934) - Guy Button
- Awake and Sing! (1935) - Uncle Morty
- Jacobowsky and the Colonel (1945) - Szabuniewicz
- The Big Knife (1949) - Marcus Hoff
- Under Two Flags (1936) - Col, Ferol
- Sins of Man (1936) - Anton Engel
- The Crime of Dr. Forbes (1936) - Dr. Eric Godfrey
- Girls' Dormitory (1936) - Dr. Spindler
- Star for a Night (1936) - Doctor Spelimeyer
- Ladies in Love (1936) - Franz Brenner
- Reunion (1936) - Charles Renard
- Stowaway (1936) - Judge Booth
- Fair Warning (1937) - Matthew Jericho
- Seventh Heaven (1937) - Aristide the Astrologer
- That I May Live (1937) - Tex Shapiro
- Charlie Chan on Broadway (1937) - Murdock
- Second Honeymoon (1937) - Herbie
- The Baroness and the Butler (1938) - Zorda
- Sally, Irene and Mary (1938) - Pawnbroker
- Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938) - Dr. Hill
- Four Men and a Prayer (1938) - General Torres
- One Wild Night (1938) - Norman
- Mr. Moto Takes a Chance (1938) - Rajah Ali
- I'll Give a Million (1938) - Editor
- Suez (1938) - Prince Said
- Jesse James (1939) - Mr. Runyan
- Wife, Husband and Friend (1939) - Rossi
- Three Sons (1939) - Abe Ullman
- Hollywood Cavalcade (1939) - Dave Spingold
- Strange Cargo (1940) - Flaubert
- The Return of Frank James (1940) - George Runyan
- The Mark of Zorro (1940) - Don Luis Quintero
- Dance Hall (1941) - Max Brandon
- Hurricane Smith (1941) - 'Eggs' Bonelli
- The Devil Pays Off (1941) - Arnold DeBrock
- Pacific Blackout (1941) - Pickpocket
- Invisible Agent (1942) - Karl Heiser
- Halfway to Shanghai (1942) - Major Vinpore
- Life Begins at Eight-Thirty (1942) - Sid Gordon
- Reunion in France (1942) - Durand
- Tennessee Johnson (1942) - Coke
- Lady of Burlesque (1943) - S.B. Foss
- Phantom of the Opera (1943) - Amiot
- Son of Dracula (1943) - Professor Lazlo
- Chip Off the Old Block (1944) - Blaney Wright
- Voice in the Wind (1944) - Dr. Hoffman
- Salome, Where She Danced (1945) - Prof. Max
- The Missing Corpse (1945) - Henry Kruger
- Easy to Look At (1945) - Gustav
- Pillow of Death (1945) - Julian Julian
- Tangier (1945) - Alec Rocco
- The Walls Came Tumbling Down (1946) - Ernst Helms
- Cloak and Dagger (1946) - Trenk
- Queen of the Amazons (1947) - Gabby
- Arch of Triumph (1948) - Hotel Manager at the Verdun
- A Song Is Born (1948) - Dr. Elfini
- I Shot Jesse James (1949) - Kane
- Guilty Bystander (1950) - Varkas (final film role)
- Liebman, Roy (2017). Broadway Actors in Films, 1894–2015. McFarland. pp. 38–39. ISBN 9781476626154. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
- Chase, Dick (June 10, 1938). "Story of J. Edward Bromberg, Screen Character Actor". The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle. Wisconsin, Milwaukee. p. 9. Retrieved June 2, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Guide to the J. Edward Bromberg Papers, 1924-1951" (PDF). The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-06-11. Retrieved 2007-11-01.
- Cones, John. Motion Picture Biographies: The Hollywood Spin on Historical Figures. pp. 21 and 37. ISBN 9781628941166.
- "J. Edward Bromberg". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on 3 June 2018. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to J. Edward Bromberg.|
- J. Edward Bromberg at the Internet Broadway Database
- J. Edward Bromberg on IMDb
- J. Edward Bromberg at Find a Grave
- J. Edward Bromberg papers, 1924-1951, held by the Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
- Museum of the City of New York 1933 photo of J. Edward Bromberg (standing) with Grouip Theatre members