Andy Clyde

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Andy Clyde
Andy Clyde in Red Lights Ahead.jpg
Clyde in Red Lights Ahead (1936)
Andrew Allan Clyde

(1892-03-25)March 25, 1892
Blairgowrie, Perthshire, Scotland
DiedMay 18, 1967(1967-05-18) (aged 75)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting place Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California
Years active19211966
Elsie Maud Tarron
(m. 1932)

Andrew Allan Clyde (March 25, 1892 May 18, 1967), was a Scottish-born American film and television actor whose career spanned some 45 years. In 1921 he broke into silent films as a Mack Sennett comic, debuting in On a Summer Day. He was the fifth of six children of theatrical actor, producer and manager John Clyde. [1] Clyde's brother David and his sister Jean also became screen actors. [2] [3]


Clyde may be best known for his work as California Carlson in the Hopalong Cassidy movie series. He is also known for recurring roles in two television series: the farmer Cully Wilson in CBS's Lassie and as the neighbor George MacMichael on ABC's The Real McCoys .

Acting career

Theatre and film

At age 19, he toured Scotland with Durward Lely & Company, playing Connor Martin in the romantic Irish musical costume drama The Wearin’ o’ the Green. [4] [5] [6] In 1912, [7] Clyde first came to the United States on tour in the Graham Moffat Players, playing the part of Bob Dewar in a vaudeville comedy sketch depicting tenement life in Glasgow called The Concealed Bed. [8] [9] [10] [11] Years later, at the invitation of his close friend James Finlayson, he returned to the United States in 1920 to join producer Mack Sennett's roster of comedians. [12]

Clyde's mastery of makeup allowed him tremendous versatility; he could play everything from grubby young guttersnipes to old crackpot scientists. He hit upon an "old man" characterization in his short comedies, and it was immediately successful. Adopting a gray wig and mustache, he used this makeup for the rest of his short-subject career, and the character was so durable that he literally grew into it. He starred in short comedies longer than any other actor (32 years, 1924–56). [13]

He made a successful transition to sound films while in Mack Sennett's employ. In 1932, when the Sennett studio was facing financial problems, Sennett cut Clyde's salary. Clyde objected and left the studio. Sennett then put the "old man" costume on character actor Irving Bacon. Audiences saw through the masquerade, and Sennett abandoned the character. Educational Pictures, Sennett's distributor, took over the Andy Clyde series, which continued for two more years.

Columbia Pictures launched its short subject department in 1934 and Andy Clyde was one of the first comedy stars signed by producer Jules White. Unlike many of the Columbia short-subject comedians who indulged in broad facial and physical gestures, Clyde was subtler and more economical: his comic timing was so good that he could merely lift an eyebrow, shudder slightly, or mutter "My, my, my" for humorous effect.

Clyde also kept busy as a character actor in feature films. He almost always appeared as a supporting actor: for example, he played a sad provincial constable in the Katharine Hepburn film The Little Minister and Charles Coburn's drinking buddy in The Green Years . He did play a couple of leads for low-budget, independent producers: the comedy Red Lights Ahead (1935) and the western Sundown Riders (1944).

By the 1940s, Clyde had been gravitating toward outdoor and western adventures. Clyde is well remembered for his roles as a comic sidekick. He was most often associated with William Boyd in the Hopalong Cassidy series, as "California Carlson" (a role he also played in the Hopalong Cassidy radio program . He stayed with the Cassidy feature films until the series lapsed in 1948. Clyde also worked on the Hopalong Cassidy "record readers" issued by Capitol Records in the 1950s. [14] Clyde's home studio, Columbia, cast Clyde prominently in feature-length musical westerns of the mid-1940s.

In 1949 Clyde became the comic sidekick to Monogram Pictures' newest cowboy star Whip Wilson. They worked together through 1951. In 1955 Clyde signed with Republic Pictures for two features, a Judy Canova comedy and a John Payne western.

Through the years Andy Clyde was still starring in his two-reel comedies for Columbia, where he had been making six shorts annually. This was modified in 1942 to four per year, then in 1945 to three per year, and finally in 1947 to two per year, which became Clyde's standard schedule for the next nine years. These reductions were not due to any loss in Clyde's popularity; gradual budget cuts forced the studio to make fewer short subjects. From the mid-1940s, the studio was able to produce lower-budgeted remakes, editing older scenes into the new ones. You Were Never Uglier (1944), for example, was remade in 1952 as Hooked and Rooked, with Andy Clyde and Emmett Lynn repeating their roles in the new sequences, but with new female co-stars replacing the vintage-1944 players. Clyde was such an audience favorite that he continued to star in Columbia shorts through 1956, when his last theatrical film was released (the short subject Pardon My Nightshirt). With his history of 79 Columbia shorts, he outlasted every comedian on the Columbia payroll except The Three Stooges. [15]

Television career

Clyde began working in the new TV industry in 1952, making guest appearances in established series. He appeared in Rod Cameron's syndicated series City Detective . On The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse and Studio 57 in 1954 and 1955, respectively, he portrayed Tom Harper in the episode "Santa's Old Suit," with co-star Jane Darwell. Clyde guested in several other early series as well, including The People's Choice , Soldiers of Fortune , My Little Margie , The Bob Cummings Show , and (as a crafty rural detective) Lock Up .

He appeared in two children's programs: as Colonel Jack in four episodes of Circus Boy and as Homer Tubbs in four segments of ABC's western series The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin .

In 1959, Clyde portrayed millionaire "Andrew C. Cooley" in the CBS fantasy drama The Millionaire . In 1961, on CBS's The Andy Griffith Show , Clyde played Frank Myers, an eccentric old man whom the town tries to evict in the episode "Mayberry Goes Bankrupt". In 1964, Clyde reunited with Walter Brennan for one episode of the new ABC series, The Tycoon .

In 19621963, Clyde portrayed Dr. Parkinson in three episodes of the NBC medical drama Dr. Kildare , starring Richard Chamberlain.

Clyde often worked in TV westerns. In Rory Calhoun's CBS western series The Texan , he played Wild Jack Hastings in "The Troubled Town" and in additional segments as the character Andy Miles. Clyde further guest-starred in such westerns as Wagon Train , Tales of the Texas Rangers , The Restless Gun , Jefferson Drum , Buckskin , Fury , Shotgun Slade , and The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (as Billy Buckett). In 1959, Clyde played Captain Gibbs in two segments of the ABC/Warner Brothers western series Colt .45 . As "Scatterbrain Gibbs", he appeared with Tol Avery as Barnes in "Queen of Dixie"; in the story line, series character Christopher Colt (Wayde Preston) is aboard a Mississippi River gambling boat and encounters a ring of counterfeiters. Clyde subsequently played "Captain Gibbs" in the episode "Yellow Terror", with Brad Dexter in the role of John Barker. Clyde and Denver Pyle were cast in the 1960 episode "The Man Who Wanted Everything" of the ABC western drama The Man from Blackhawk , starring Robert Rockwell as a roving insurance investigator. On CBS's long-running western series Gunsmoke , Clyde portrayed Poney Thompson in "Snakebite" in 1958 and Henry Squires in "Durham Bull" in 1962.

As series regular or semi-regular

Andy Clyde worked steadily in four TV series. It is for these series that he is best known among TV fans. In 1957 he became a recurring cast member of The Real McCoys as George MacMichael, the friendly neighbor of "Grandpa Amos McCoy" (Walter Brennan). Clyde worked well opposite Brennan, with the devious Amos usually entangling George in his latest ideas between games of checkers.

Clyde as George MacMichael, charmed by Joan Blondell as the McCoys' Aunt Win Joan Blondell Andy Clyde Real McCoys 1963.JPG
Clyde as George MacMichael, charmed by Joan Blondell as the McCoys' Aunt Win

In 1959, concurrently with the McCoys series, Clyde joined the Lassie series as the eccentric farmer and nature lover Cully Wilson, the friend to Timmy Martin, portrayed by child actor Jon Provost. After the Martin family was written out of the series, Cully became the dog's temporary guardian in several episodes before the series shifted to a forest-ranger format.

From 1960 to 1962, Clyde was cast as the farmer Pa McBeam in five episodes of the NBC western series The Tall Man , starring Barry Sullivan and Clu Gulager. Judy Nugent plays McBean's daughter, June. In three episodes, Olive Sturgess played daughter May McBeam. In "The Reluctant Bridegroom" (February 18, 1961), Ellen Corby is featured as Hannah Blossom, a potential mail order bride, for Pa McBeam. Through a fraudulent letter written by the McBeam daughters, Hannah is lured to Lincoln, New Mexico, the setting of the series, to seek out the potential husband. In "Substitute Sheriff" (January 6, 1962), the McBeam daughters enlist their father as an acting sheriff in a scheme to thwart the seizure of their property for right-of-way by the railroad. Bob Hastings appears in this episode as J. S. Chase.

In 1964-65 Clyde appeared as Grandpa Jim Anderson in five episodes of the ABC military comedy No Time for Sergeants , starring Sammy Jackson. The series was inspired by an earlier Andy Griffith film of the same name.

Personal life

On September 23, 1932, Clyde married Elsie Maud Tarron, a former member of the Sennett Bathing Beauties, [12] in Ontario in San Bernardino County, California. Jules White recalled that Clyde became a father in middle age, and was devastated when his son, John Allan Clyde, died of meningitis at age nine. [16]

Clyde was close friends with Ben Turpin, serving as the witness at Turpin's second marriage [17] and a pallbearer at his funeral. [18]

He became a naturalized United States citizen on September 24, 1943. [19]

Clyde continued to perform on television until his death of natural causes on May 18, 1967. [13] His remains are interred at Glendale's Forest Lawn Memorial Park. [20]


On February 8, 1960, Clyde received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6758 Hollywood Boulevard, for his contribution to the motion pictures industry. [21] [22]

Selected filmography

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  2. David Clyde: Stage and film actor, Helensburgh Heritage. Retrieved 2012-01-29.
  3. Jean Clyde: Stage actress, Helensburgh Heritage. Retrieved 2012-01-29.
  4. "DURWARD LELY AT BATHGATE". West Lothian Courier. August 18, 1911. p. 4.
  5. "AUCHTERARDER". Strathearn Herald. August 19, 1911. p. 6.
  6. "MARKINCH". Fifeshire Advertiser. February 17, 1912. p. 10.
  7. "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924", database with images, FamilySearch (  : 16 August 2019), Andrew A. Clyde, 1912.
  8. "THE VAUDEVILLE WEEK IN FRISCO: Orpheum, San Francisco, July 1". The Billboard. July 13, 1912. p. 12.
  9. "NEW VAUDEVILLE ACTS: Graham Moffat's Players, in 'The Concealed Bed', Keith's Union Square, Evening, Oct. 21". The New York Clipper. October 26, 1912. p. 14.
  10. "VAUDEVILLE AND BURLESQUE NEWS: Keith's Union Square, New York, Oct. 24". The Billboard. November 2, 1912. p. 10.
  11. "AMUSEMENTS: Temple Theater". Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. February 11, 1913.
  12. 1 2 Andy Clyde: Film star, Helensburgh Heritage. Retrieved 2012-01-29.
  13. 1 2 Okuda, Ted; Watz, Edward; (1986). The Columbia Comedy Shorts, McFarland & Company, Inc., p. 206. ISBN   0-89950-181-8
  14. Hall, Roger. "Alan Livingston and The Capitol Record Readers". Archived from the original on August 31, 2011. Retrieved April 2, 2009.
  15. Okuda and Watz, p. 69.
  16. David Bruskin. Behind the Three Stooges: The White Brothers ISBN   1-882766-00-8.
  17. "California, County Marriages, 1850–1952, Bernard Turpin and Babette Dietz, 08 Jul 1926". FamilySearch. Los Angeles, United States, county courthouses, California; FHL microfilm 2,074,649. Retrieved January 25, 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  18. "Veterans of Films Honor Ben Turpin". Prescott Evening Courier. July 4, 1940. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  19. "California, Southern District Court (Central) Naturalization Index, 1915–1976, Andrew Allan Clyde, 1943". FamilySearch. Los Angeles, Los Angeles, United States, National Archives and Records Service, Los Angeles Branch, Laguna Niguel; FHL microfilm 1,562,035. Retrieved January 25, 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  20. Wilson, Scott. Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed.: 2 (Kindle Locations 25047-25048). McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. Kindle Edition.
  21. "Andy Clyde | Hollywood Walk of Fame". Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  22. "Andy Clyde". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 18, 2016.