Robert Greig

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the politician, see Robert Greig (politician).
For the agriculturalist, see Robert Blyth Greig.
Robert Greig
Robert Greig.jpg
Publicity photo from Sullivan's Travels (1941)
Born (1879-12-27)December 27, 1879
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Died June 27, 1958(1958-06-27) (aged 78)
Los Angeles, U.S.
Years active 1928–1949

Robert Greig (December 27, 1879 – June 27, 1958) was an Australian-American actor who appeared in more than 100 films between 1930 and 1949, usually as the dutiful butler.


Greig was born near Melbourne, in 1878, and made his Broadway debut in 1928[1] in an operetta, Countess Maritza.[2] His next production was the Marx Brothers' comedy, Animal Crackers,[3] in which he portrayed "Hives" the butler. He reprised the role in the 1930 film version. Animal Crackers[4] became his film debut and set the pattern for much of his career, as he was often cast as a butler or other servant.[5][6]

Although he appeared in several other productions on Broadway, the last in 1938,[1] after his film debut Greig worked steadily in films.[5] He worked again with the Marx Brothers in 1932's Horse Feathers, in which he played a biology professor,[7] and was featured in the 1932 short Jitters the Butler. Notable films in which he broke out of butler-mode were Cockeyed Cavaliers (1934) starring Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey,[8] in which Greig played the "Duke of Weskit", as Uncle John to Irene Dunne's Theodora in Theodora Goes Wild (1936), and Algiers (1938),[9] in which he was "Giraux", the wealthy and gross protector of Hedy Lamarr.[6]

In the 1940s, Greig was part of Preston Sturges' unofficial "stock company" of character actors, appearing in six films written and directed by Sturges.[10] His performances in Sullivan's Travels, The Lady Eve and The Palm Beach Story, in which he played a member of the "Ale & Quail Club", were among his best.[6]

Greig's last film was Bride of Vengeance, a 1949 Paulette Goddard vehicle, in which he played the uncredited part of a "Councillor."[11]


Greig died in Los Angeles on June 27, 1958 at the age of 78: he is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.[12]

Partial filmography[edit]

Chico Marx, Greig, and Harpo Marx in his film debut, Animal Crackers (1930)


External links[edit]