in the Gold Diggers of 1933 trailer
Edward Arthur Sparkman|
November 19, 1883
Guelph, Ontario, Canada
April 3, 1957 (aged 73)|
Victorville, California, US
|Spouse(s)||Mercedes Cabalerro (1931-1936)|
Ned Sparks (born Edward Arthur Sparkman, November 19, 1883 – April 3, 1957) was a Canadian-born character actor of the American stage and screen. Sparks was known for his deadpan expression and deep, gravelly voice.
Life and career
Born in Guelph, Ontario, Sparks left home at age 16 and attempted to work as a gold prospector on the Klondike Gold Rush. After running out of money, he won a spot as a singer on a traveling musical company's tour. At age 19, he returned to Canada and briefly attended a Toronto seminary. After leaving the seminary, he worked for the railroad and worked in theater in Toronto. In 1907, he left Toronto for New York City to try his hand in the Broadway theatre, where he appeared in his first show in 1912.
While working on Broadway, Sparks developed his trademark deadpan expression while portraying the role of a desk clerk in the play Little Miss Brown. His success on the stage soon caught the attention of MGM's Louis B. Mayer who signed Sparks to a six picture deal. Sparks began appearing in numerous silent films before finally making his "talkie" debut in the 1928 film The Big Noise.
In the 1930s, Sparks became known for portraying dour-faced, sarcastic, cigar-chomping characters. He became so associated with the type that, in 1936, The New York Times reported that Sparks had his face insured for USD$100,000 with Lloyd's of London. The market agreed to pay the sum to any photographer who could capture Sparks smiling (Sparks later admitted that the story was a publicity stunt and he was only insured for $10,000). Sparks was also caricatured in cartoons including the Jack-in-the-Box character in the Disney short Broken Toys (1935), and the jester in Mother Goose Goes Hollywood (1938), a hermit crab in both Tex Avery's Fresh Fish (1939) and Bob Clampett's Goofy Groceries (1941), a chicken in Bob Clampett's Slap Happy Pappy (1940), Friz Freleng's Warner Bros. cartoon Malibu Beach Party (1940), and Tex Avery's Hollywood Steps Out (1940). Sparks also voiced the cartoon characters Heckle and Jeckle from 1947 to 1951.
Sparks appeared in ten stage productions on Broadway and over 80 films. He retired from films in 1947, saying that everyone should retire at 65.
|1915||The Little Miss Brown||Night clerk|
|1919||A Virtuous Vamp||Mr. Bell|
|1920||Good References||Peter Stearns|
|1922||The Bond Boy||Cyrus Morgan|
|1924||The Law Forbids||Clyde Vernon|
|1925||His Supreme Moment||Adrian|
|1925||Seven Keys to Baldpate||Bland|
|1925||Bright Lights||Barney Gallagher|
|1925||The Only Thing||Gibson||Alternative title: Four Flaming Days|
|1925||Soul Mates||Tancred's chauffeur|
|1926||The Auction Block||Nat Saluson|
|1926||Money Talks||Lucius Fenton|
|1926||The Hidden Way||Mulligan|
|1926||When the Wife's Away|
|1927||The Small Bachelor||J. Hamilton Beamish|
|1928||On to Reno||Herbert Holmes|
|1928||The Big Noise||William Howard|
|1928||Alias the Deacon||Slim Sullivan|
|1928||The Magnificent Flirt||Tim|
|1929||The Canary Murder Case||Tony Sheel|
|1929||Nothing But the Truth||Clarence van Dyke|
|1929||Love Comes Along||Happy|
|1929||Street Girl||Happy Winter|
|1930||Double Cross Roads||Happy Max|
|1930||The Devil's Holiday||Charlie Thorne|
|1930||The Fall Guy||Dan Walsh|
|1931||Kept Husbands||Hughie Hanready|
|1931||The Secret Call||Bert Benedict|
|1932||The Miracle Man||Harry Evans||Credited as Ned A. Sparks|
|1932||Blessed Event||George Moxley|
|1932||Big City Blues||"Stacky" Stackhouse|
|1932||The Crusader||Eddie Crane|
|1933||Gold Diggers of 1933||Barney Hopkins|
|1933||Going Hollywood||Bert Conroy||Alternative title: Cinderella's Fella|
|1933||Alice in Wonderland||The Caterpillar|
|1933||Lady for a Day||Happy McGuire|
|1934||Sing and Like It||Toots McGuire|
|1934||Private Scandal||Inspector Riordan|
|1934||Down to Their Last Yacht||Captain "Sunny Jim" Roberts|
|1934||Servants' Entrance||Hjalmar Gnu|
|1934||Imitation of Life||Elmer Smith|
|1934||Sweet Adeline||Dan Herzig|
|1935||Sweet Music||"Ten Percent" Nelson|
|1935||George White's 1935 Scandals||Elmer White|
|1936||The Bride Walks Out||Paul Dodson|
|1937||One in a Million||Daniel "Danny" Simpson|
|1937||Wake Up and Live||Steve Cluskey|
|1937||This Way Please||Inky Wells|
|1939||The Star Maker||Speed King|
|1941||For Beauty's Sake||Jonathan B. Sweet|
|1943||Stage Door Canteen||Cameo as himself|
- Ned Sparks at the Internet Broadway Database
- Kear, Lynn; King, James (2012). Evelyn Brent: The Life and Films of Hollywood’s Lady Crook. McFarland. p. 207. ISBN 9780786454686. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
- Foster (2003), pp.971-972
- Foster (2003). pp.973, 977
- Foster (2003), p.980
- Lucas, Ralph. "Ned Sparks". northernstars.ca. Archived from the original on June 6, 2010. Retrieved October 1, 2008.
- "Milestones". Time. 1957-04-15. Retrieved 2008-10-01.
- Foster, Charles (2003). Once Upon a Time in Paradise: Canadians in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Dundurn Press Ltd. ISBN 1-55002-464-7.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ned Sparks.|