Demarest in a screenshot of The Palm Beach Story trailer in 1942
|Born||Carl William Demarest
February 27, 1892
Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
|Died||December 27, 1983
Palm Springs, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Prostate cancer; pneumonia|
|Resting place||Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California|
|Spouse(s)||Estelle Collette (?–?)
Lucile Thayer (1939–1983, his death) (1912–2009)
Carl William Demarest (February 27, 1892 – December 27, 1983) was an American character actor, known for playing Uncle Charley in My Three Sons. A veteran of World War I, Demarest became a prolific film and television actor, working on over 140 films, beginning in 1926 and ending in the 1970s. He frequently played crusty but good-hearted roles.
Demarest started in show business working in vaudeville, appearing with his wife as "Demarest and Colette", then moved on to Broadway. Demarest worked regularly with director Preston Sturges, becoming part of a "stock" troupe of actors that Sturges repeatedly cast in his films. He appeared in ten films written by Sturges, eight of which were under his direction, including The Lady Eve, Sullivan's Travels and The Miracle of Morgan's Creek.
Demarest appeared with veteran western film star Roscoe Ates in the 1958 episode "And the Desert Shall Blossom" of CBS's Alfred Hitchcock Presents. In the story line, Ates and Demarest appear as old timers living in the Nevada desert. The local sheriff, played by Ben Johnson, appears with an eviction notice, but he agrees to let the pair stay on their property if they can make a dead rosebush bloom within the next month.
In 1959, Demarest was named the lead actor of the 18-week sitcom Love and Marriage on NBC in the 1959–1960 season. Demarest played William Harris, the owner of a failing music company who refuses to handle popular rock and roll music, which presumably might save the firm from bankruptcy. Joining Demarest on the series were Jeanne Bal, Murray Hamilton and Stubby Kaye.
Demarest appeared as Police Chief Aloysius of the Santa Rosita Police Department in the film It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), as well as on a memorable episode ("What's in the Box") of Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone as a hen-pecked husband driven to the murder of his wife.
His most famous television role was in the ABC and then CBS sitcom My Three Sons from 1965 to 1972, playing Uncle Charley O'Casey. He replaced William Frawley, whose failing health had made procuring insurance impossible. Demarest had worked with Fred MacMurray previously in the films Hands Across the Table (1935), Pardon My Past (1945), On Our Merry Way (1948), and The Far Horizons (1955) and was a personal friend of MacMurray. Also, he worked with Irene Dunn in "Never a Dull Moment"
Demarest received a single Academy Award nomination, for his supporting role in The Jolson Story (1946), playing Al Jolson's fictional mentor. He had previously shared the screen with the real Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer.
Demarest also received an Emmy nomination for the 1968–1969 season of My Three Sons as Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy role.
Demarest has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to motion pictures, bestowed upon him in 1979 by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. In attendance at the ceremony and then later at Musso and Frank's Grill for celebrations were his My Three Sons co-stars Fred MacMurray and wife June Haver, Tina Cole, Stanley Livingston, Barry Livingston and Dawn Lyn.
Personal life and later years
Demarest was married twice. His first wife was his vaudeville partner Estelle Collette (26 October 1886–19 Nov 1968), born Esther Zichlin. Demarest helped raise her daughter from her earlier marriage to poet and novelist Samuel Gordon (10 September 1871 – 10 January 1927), author Phyllis Gordon Demarest (b. 31 March 1908). His second wife was Lucile Thayer (30 Sep 1912–16 Oct 2009), born Lucile Theurer, daughter of Herman Theurer and Lillie Sjoberg, who due to her activism on health issues in the motion picture industry in October 1960 was named California Lay-Chairman of the ANA fundraising campaign.
- When the Wife's Away (1926)
- Finger Prints (1927)
- Don't Tell the Wife (1927)
- The Gay Old Bird (1927)
- Matinee Ladies (1927)
- A Million Bid (1927)
- Simple Sis (1927)
- The Black Diamond Express (1927)
- What Happened to Father? (1927)
- The First Auto (1927)
- The Bush Leaguer (1927)
- A Sailor's Sweetheart (1927)
- The Jazz Singer (1927)
- A Reno Divorce (1927)
- Sharp Shooters (1928)
- A Girl in Every Port (1928)
- The Escape (1928)
- Pay as You Enter (1928)
- Five and Ten Cent Annie (1928)
- The Butter and Egg Man (1928)
- The Crash (1928)
- Fog Over Frisco (1934)
- Many Happy Returns (1934)
- The Circus Clown (1934) (scenes deleted)
- Fugitive Lady (1934)
- After Office Hours (1935)
- The Casino Murder Case (1935)
- The Murder Man (1935)
- Bright Lights (1935)
- Diamond Jim (1935)
- Hands Across the Table (1935)
- White Lies (1935)
- The Great Ziegfeld (1936)
- Wedding Present (1936)
- Love on the Run (1936)
- Charlie Chan at the Opera (1936)
- Mind Your Own Business (1936)
- Time Out for Romance (1937)
- Don't Tell the Wife (1937)
- Oh Doctor (1937)
- The Hit Parade (1937)
- The Great Hospital Mystery (1937)
- The Great Gambini (1937)
- Easy Living (1937)
- Blonde Trouble (1937)
- Wake Up and Live (1937)
- Big City (1937)
- Rosalie (1937)
- Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938)
- Romance on the Run (1938)
- One Wild Night (1938)
- Josette (1938)
- Peck's Bad Boy with the Circus (1938)
- While New York Sleeps (1938)
- The Great Man Votes (1939)
- King of the Turf (1939)
- Miracles for Sale (1939)
- Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
- Little Men (1940)
- The Great McGinty (1940)
- Christmas in July (1940)
- The Farmer's Daughter (1940)
- Ride on Vaquero (1941)
- The Lady Eve (1941)
- Dressed to Kill (1941)
- All Through the Night (1941)
- Sullivan's Travels (1942)
- The Palm Beach Story (1942)
- Life Begins at Eight-Thirty (1942)
- Pardon My Sarong (1942)
- The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944)
- Once Upon a Time (1944)
- Hail the Conquering Hero (1944)
- Pardon My Past (1945)
- Along Came Jones (1945)
- The Jolson Story (1946)
- The Perils of Pauline (1947)
- The Sainted Sisters (1948)
- On Our Merry Way (1948)
- Whispering Smith (1948)
- Jolson Sings Again (1949)
- Red, Hot and Blue (1949)
- When Willie Comes Marching Home (1950)
- The Strip (1951)
- Excuse My Dust (1951)
- Escape from Fort Bravo (1953)
- Dangerous When Wet (1953)
- Here Come the Girls (1953)
- Jupiter's Darling (1955)
- The Private War of Major Benson (1955)
- Hell on Frisco Bay (1955)
- The Far Horizons (1955)
- Lucy Gallant (1955)
- Sincerely Yours (1955)
- It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)
- Viva Las Vegas (1964)
- That Darn Cat (1965)
- Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark (1973)
- Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976)
- A Night at Coffee Dan's (1927)
- Amateur Night (1927)
- The Night Court (1927)
- Seeing Things (1930)
- The Run Around (1932)
- Make Room for Daddy as Mr. Daly in 5 episodes (1957–1958)
- The Rebel as Ulysses Bowman in "The Hope Chest (1960)
- Love and Marriage as William Harris (1959–1960)
- Going My Way as Marty in "The Slasher" (1963)
- Bonanza as Enos Milford in the episode "The Hayburner" (1963)
- Bonanza as Angus Tweedy in the episode "Old Sheba" (1964)
- The Twilight Zone as Joe Britt in the episode "What's in the Box?" (1964)
- My Three Sons as Uncle Charley O'Casey (215 episodes, 1965–1972)
- McMillan and Wife as Uncle Cyrus [Two Dollars on Trouble to Win] S2/Ep07 (1973)
|1940||Stars over Hollywood||The Town Constable|
- Obituary Variety, January 4, 1984.
- Kaufman, Dave (1968). TV 69: Who's Who, What's What in the New TV Season (mass market paperback). New York: Signet. p. 129.
- "The Classic TV Archive: Love and Marriage". Geocities/Television City/Stage. Retrieved January 10, 2009.[dead link]
- Palm Springs Walk of Stars by date dedicated
- "Vaudeville News". Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
- California Death Index
- Jewish Chronicle of London, January 14, 1927 issue and June 14, 1907 issue. Obituary of her first husband Samuel Gordon (b. 10 September 1871 Buk, Bavaria, German Empire, m. 12 June 1907 Miss Esther Zichlin, “a violinist of great promise. There was one child of the marriage, a daughter.”, d. 10 January 1927 in Wandsworth, London, England).
- Jewish Chronicle of London, April 3, 1908 issue.
- Lucille T. Demarest in the U.S. Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014
- Year: 1920; Census Place: Wellsville, Cache, Utah; Roll: T625_1861; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 33; Image: 991. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. (NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA. Note: Enumeration Districts 819-839 are on roll 323 (Chicago City).
- Lillie Sjoberg marriage record
- American Nurse Association 1960 fundraiser announcement
- William Demarest at Find a Grave
- "Those Were the Days". Nostalgia Digest 39 (1): 32–41. Winter 2013.
- William Demarest at the Internet Movie Database
- William Demarest at the Internet Broadway Database
- William Demarest at AllMovie