Edgar Kennedy

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Edgar Kennedy
Edgar Kennedy.jpg
Kennedy in A Star Is Born (1937)
Born(1890-04-26)April 26, 1890
DiedNovember 9, 1948(1948-11-09) (aged 58)
OccupationActor
Years active1911–1948
Spouse(s)Patricia Violet Allwyn (m. 1924; his death)
Edgar Kennedy and Patsy Kelly, In Old California (1942) In old California 1942 movie publicity still.jpg
Edgar Kennedy and Patsy Kelly, In Old California (1942)

Edgar Livingston Kennedy (April 26, 1890 November 9, 1948) was an American comedic film character actor, known as "Slow Burn". [1] [2] A slow burn is an exasperated facial expression, performed very deliberately; Kennedy embellished this by rubbing his hand over his bald head and across his face, in an attempt to hold his temper. Kennedy is best known for a small role as a lemonade vendor in the Marx Brothers film Duck Soup , as well as the many Hal Roach films he appeared in.

Film sequence of images that give the impression of movement

A film, also called a movie, motion picture, moving picture, or photoplay, is a series of still images that, when shown on a screen, create the illusion of moving images. This optical illusion causes the audience to perceive continuous motion between separate objects viewed in rapid succession. The process of filmmaking is both an art and an industry. A film is created by photographing actual scenes with a motion-picture camera, by photographing drawings or miniature models using traditional animation techniques, by means of CGI and computer animation, or by a combination of some or all of these techniques, and other visual effects.

Character actor actor who predominantly plays unusual or eccentric characters

A character actor is a supporting actor who plays unusual, interesting, or eccentric characters. The term, often contrasted with that of leading actor, is somewhat abstract and open to interpretation. In a literal sense, all actors can be considered character actors since they all play "characters", but in the usual sense it is an actor who plays a distinctive and important supporting role.

Lemonade lemon-flavored drink, typically cloudy, still, and nonalcoholic

Lemonade can be any one of a variety of sweetened beverages found throughout the world, but which are traditionally all characterized by a lemon flavor.

Contents

Early years

Kennedy was born on April 26, 1890, in Monterey County, California, to Canadians Neil Kennedy and Annie Quinn. He attended San Rafael High School before taking up boxing. [3] [4] He was a light-heavyweight and once went 14 rounds with Jack Dempsey. After boxing, he worked as a singer in vaudeville, musical comedy and light opera. [3]

Monterey County, California County in California, United States

Monterey County, officially the County of Monterey, is a county located on the Pacific coast of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 415,057. The county seat and largest city is Salinas.

Canadians citizens of Canada

Canadians are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, several of these connections exist and are collectively the source of their being Canadian.

San Rafael High School

San Rafael High School is a public high school located at 150 Third St. in San Rafael, California, United States.

Film career

Making his debut in 1911, [3] [5] Kennedy appeared in about 500 films, [3] [5] working with some of the biggest film comedians in the United States, including Roscoe Arbuckle, Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers, Charley Chase, and the Our Gang series. He was also one of the original Keystone Kops.

Charlie Chaplin British comic actor and filmmaker

Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin was an English comic actor, filmmaker, and composer who rose to fame in the era of silent film. He became a worldwide icon through his screen persona, "The Tramp", and is considered one of the most important figures in the history of the film industry. His career spanned more than 75 years, from childhood in the Victorian era until a year before his death in 1977, and encompassed both adulation and controversy.

Laurel and Hardy American comedy double act

Laurel and Hardy were a comedy duo act during the early Classical Hollywood era of American cinema. The team was composed of Englishman Stan Laurel (1890–1965) and American Oliver Hardy (1892–1957). They became well known during the late 1920s to the mid-1940s for their slapstick comedy, with Laurel playing the clumsy and childlike friend of the pompous bully Hardy. The duo's signature tune is known variously as "The Cuckoo Song", "Ku-Ku", or "The Dance of the Cuckoos". It was played over the opening credits of their films and has become as emblematic of the duo as their bowler hats.

Marx Brothers American comedy troupe

The Marx Brothers were an American family comedy act that was successful in vaudeville, on Broadway, and in motion pictures from 1905 to 1949. Five of the Marx Brothers' thirteen feature films were selected by the American Film Institute (AFI) as among the top 100 comedy films, with two of them in the top twelve. They are widely considered by critics, scholars, and fans to be among the greatest and most influential comedians of the 20th century. The brothers were included in AFI's 100 Years... 100 Stars list of the 25 greatest male stars of Classical Hollywood cinema, the only performers to be inducted collectively.

[1] [6]

Kennedy's burly frame originally suited him for villainous or threatening roles in silent pictures. By the 1920s Kennedy was working for producer Hal Roach, who kept the actor busy playing supporting roles in short comedies. Kennedy starred in one short, A Pair of Tights (1928), in which he plays a tightwad determined to spend as little as possible on a date. His antics with comedian Stuart Erwin are reminiscent of Roach's Laurel and Hardy comedies, produced concurrently. Roach also used Kennedy as a director on half a dozen two-reeler comedies.

Hal Roach Film producer

Harold Eugene Roach Sr. was an American film and television producer, director, and actor who was active from the 1910s to the 1990s. He is best known today for producing the Laurel and Hardy and Our Gang film comedy series.

Stuart Erwin American actor of stage, film, and television

Stuart Erwin was an American actor of stage, film, and television.

In 1930, Edgar Kennedy was featured by RKO-Pathe in a pair of short-subject comedies, Next Door Neighbors and Help Wanted, Female. Kennedy's characterization of a short-tempered householder was so effective that RKO built a series around it. The "Average Man" comedies starred Kennedy as a blustery, stubborn guy determined to accomplish a household project or get ahead professionally, despite the meddling of his featherbrained wife (usually Florence Lake), her freeloading brother (originally William Eugene, then Jack Rice) and his dubious mother-in-law (Dot Farley). Kennedy pioneered the kind of domestic situation comedy that later became familiar on television. Each installment would end with Edgar embarrassed, humbled or defeated, looking at the camera and doing his patented slow burn. The Edgar Kennedy Series, with its theme song "Chopsticks", became a standard part of the movie-going experience: Kennedy made six "Average Man" shorts a year for 17 years. In 1938, Kennedy worked as a straight man for British comedian Will Hay in Hey! Hey! USA .

Florence Lake American actress

Florence Lake was an American actress best known as the leading lady in most of the Edgar Kennedy comedy shorts.

Jack Rice was an American actor best known for appearing as the scrounging, freeloading brother-in-law in Edgar Kennedy's series of short domestic comedy films at the RKO studio, and also as "Ollie" in around a dozen of Columbia Pictures's series of the Blondie comic strip.

Dot Farley American actress

Dot Farley was an American film actress. She appeared in 280 films between 1910 and 1950. Mainly known for her roles in short comedies, prolific with Mack Sennett in the silent days; she was later notable as the mother-in-law of Edgar Kennedy in most of his series of short films at the RKO studios. She was born in Chicago, Illinois and died in South Pasadena, California.

Kennedy became so identified with frustration that practically every studio hired him to play hotheads. He often played dumb cops, detectives, and even a prison warden; sometimes he was a grouchy moving man, truck driver, or blue-collar workman. His character usually lost his temper at least once. In Diplomaniacs, Kennedy presides over an international tribunal, where Wheeler & Woolsey want to do something about world peace. "Well, ya can't do anything about it here", yells Kennedy, "this is a peace conference!" Kennedy, established as the poster boy for frustration, even starred in an instructional film titled The Other Fellow, in which loudmouthed roadhog Edgar always vents his anger on other drivers (each one played by Kennedy as well), little realizing that, to them, he is "the other fellow." [7]

Wheeler & Woolsey

Wheeler & Woolsey were an American vaudeville comedy double act who performed together in comedy films from the late 1920s until Robert Woolsey's death in 1938. The team comprised Bert Wheeler (1895–1968) of New Jersey and Robert Woolsey (1888–1938) of California.

Perhaps his most unusual roles were as a puppeteer in the detective mystery The Falcon Strikes Back and as a philosophical bartender inspired to create exotic cocktails in Harold Lloyd's last film, The Sin of Harold Diddlebock (1947). He also played comical detectives opposite two titans of acting: John Barrymore in Twentieth Century (1934) and Rex Harrison in Unfaithfully Yours (1948); in the latter, he tells conductor Harrison that "Nobody handles Handel like you handle Handel."

Death

Kennedy died of throat cancer at the Motion Picture Hospital, San Fernando Valley on 9 November 1948. [5] [8] His body was interred at the Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, Los Angeles County, California.

Selected filmography

As actor:

As director:

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References

  1. 1 2 "Death of Kennedy Recalls Actor's 1945 Visit Here". The Evening Independent. November 10, 1948. Retrieved February 14, 2012.
  2. Heffernan, Harold (October 3, 1939). "Edgar Kennedy Charges Film Heroes Steal His Stuff". The Calgary Herald. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "Edgar Kennedy, Film Actor, Dies". St. Petersburg Times. November 10, 1948. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
  4. Swenson, Bette (May 24, 1945). "Movie Funny Man Declares He's Really Serious Fellow". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved February 14, 2012.
  5. 1 2 3 "Actor Edgar Kennedy Dies of Throat Cancer". The Pittsburg Press. November 10, 1948. Retrieved February 14, 2012.
  6. Lahue, Kalton (1971); Mack Sennett's Keystone: The man, the myth and the comedies; New York: Barnes; ISBN   978-0-498-07461-5; p. 194
  7. Edgar Kennedy in "The Other Fellow," on YouTube
  8. "Edgar Kennedy Dies". Herald-Journal. November 10, 1948. Retrieved February 14, 2012.
  9. "Good Housewrecking" (1933), Edgar Kennedy on YouTube
  10. "Will Power" (1936), Edgar Kennedy (short) on YouTube
  11. "Private Snuffy Smith" (1942), Edgar Kennedy, Bud Duncan on YouTube
  12. A full digital copy of Kennedy's 1943 short film Hold Your Temper, co-starring Irene Ryan (later "Granny" on the television sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies ), is available for viewing on YouTube. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
  13. "Radio Rampage" (1944), Edgar Kennedy (short) on YouTube