George E. Stone
May 18, 1903
|Died||May 26, 1967 64) (aged|
|Resting place||Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery|
(m. 1937;div. 1938)
(m. 1946;div. 1948)
George E. Stone (born Gerschon Lichtenstein; May 18, 1903 – May 26, 1967) was a Polish-born American character actor in films, radio, and television.
Stone was born Gerschon Lichtenstein in Łódź, [ citation needed ]Congress Poland, into a Jewish family. He sailed from the Port of Hamburg, Germany, as a steerage passenger on board the S/S President Grant, which arrived at the Port of New York on May 29, 1913; at Ellis Island, he passed federal immigrant inspection with his two sisters and a brother.
As an actor, Stone first attracted attention (as "Georgie Stone") in the 1927 silent film 7th Heaven , where he played the local street thug The Sewer Rat; audiences remembered his slight build and very expressive face. He made a successful transition to talking pictures in Warner Bros.' Tenderloin , speaking in a pleasant, slightly nasal tenor. Stone was then typecast in streetwise roles, often playing a Runyonesque mobster or a gangland boss's assistant, notably as Rico Bandello's right-hand man Otero in the gangster classic Little Caesar (1931). He adopted a dapper pencil moustache for these screen roles. One of his most famous appearances was in the classic musical 42nd Street (1933), in which wiseguy Stone assesses a promiscuous chorus girl: "She only said 'no' once, and then she didn't hear the question!" His one starring film (as George E. Stone) was the Universal Pictures gangster comedy The Big Brain (1933).
In 1939, comedy producer Hal Roach hired Stone for his film The Housekeeper's Daughter . It was a difficult role: Stone had to play a mentally retarded murderer in a sweet, sympathetic manner. Stone went clean-shaven, emphasizing a boyish, innocent look, and played the part so sensitively that Roach often cast him in other films. In 1942, Stone burlesqued Hirohito in Roach's wartime comedy The Devil with Hitler .Stone repeated his Japanese characterization, this time dramatically, in the 1942 film Little Tokyo, U.S.A. ; he played the Japanese agent, Kingoro.
George E. Stone's most familiar role was "The Runt", loyal sidekick to adventurous ex-criminal Boston Blackie in Columbia Pictures' action-comedy series. Stone was supposed to perform with Chester Morris in the first film of the series, Meet Boston Blackie , but was sidelined by a virus. Actor Charles Wagenheim filled in for him, and Stone joined the series in the second entry, Confessions of Boston Blackie . Stone's performances in the Blackies were well received, and he enthusiastically played scenes for laughs, doing dialects, disguising in women's clothes, posing as a child, or reacting in wide-eyed amazement or frustration to each story's twists and turns. Both Chester Morris and George E. Stone reprised their screen roles for one year in the Boston Blackie radio series. Illness struck Stone again in 1948, forcing him to bow out of the last Boston Blackie picture, Boston Blackie's Chinese Venture (released in 1949); he was replaced by Sid Tomack.
Even in his smallest roles, Stone made an impression. In the 1945 newspaper-themed feature Midnight Manhunt , he plays a murder victim who doesn't say a word but expires eloquently. Another tiny role has Stone contributing to the perennial holiday favorite Miracle on 34th Street – but not in the film. He appears in the coming-attractions trailer, as an openly cynical screenwriter confronted by a bossy movie producer.
Stone made guest appearances in movies and television through the 1950s, in situation comedies ( The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show ) and action-adventure shows ( Adventures of Superman , as mob leader "Big George"). When it came to playing tough guys, Stone could be just as convincing as the biggest, brawniest men. In the feature film The Man with the Golden Arm , Stone is the vindictive mobster who has been cheated at cards, and attacks dealer Frank Sinatra's friend Arnold Stang in a brutal fistfight.
Stone's vision deteriorated in the late 1950s, limiting him to walk-on roles or undemanding character parts. He played nervous stool pigeon "Toothpick Charlie" in Billy Wilder's comedy hit Some Like It Hot , and became a TV regular in the popular Perry Mason series, appearing in 44 episodes in the minor role of the court clerk, and two additional episodes in other roles.
One of Stone's closest friends was reporter-humorist Damon Runyon. Stone often appeared in movie adaptations of Runyon's work. In Stone's last film, Pocketful of Miracles (1961), directed by Frank Capra, he played the uncredited role of a blind beggar.
Throughout his career, Stone was sidelined by illness. In 1936, he had pneumonia and lost out on a film role. Later illnesses forced him to miss the first and the last of the Boston Blackie pictures. In the early 1950s began losing his sight to the point of almost total darkness in both eyes. He told The Daily Mirror in November 1958, “To me, it meant the end of everything I’d taken for granted.” In 1958, he underwent surgery to save his sight.In fact, his sight was so limited by the time that he played the county clerk on Perry Mason that he had to be led around the set by his co-stars.
After suffering a major stroke in 1966 which left him bedridden and unable to speak, Stone spent the majority of his last year of life at the Motion Picture Country Home until he died May 26, 1967. His resting place is at Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery.[ citation needed ]
For his contributions to motion pictures, Stone received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 8, 1960. The star is located at 6932 Hollywood Boulevard,between North Orange Drive and North Highland Avenue, across the street from Grauman's Chinese Theatre, now known as TCL Chinese Theatre.
Andrew Vabre Devine was an American character actor known for his distinctive raspy, crackly voice and roles in Western films, including his role as Cookie, the sidekick of Roy Rogers in 10 feature films. He also appeared alongside John Wayne in films such as Stagecoach (1939), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and How the West Was Won. He is also remembered as Jingles on the TV series The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok from 1951 to 1958, as Danny McGuire in A Star Is Born (1937), and as the voice of Friar Tuck in the Disney Animation Studio film Robin Hood (1973).
George Francis "Gabby" Hayes was an American actor. He began as something of a leading man and a character player, but he was best known for his numerous appearances in B-Western film series as the bewhiskered, cantankerous, misogynistic, but ever-loyal and brave comic sidekick of the cowboy stars Hopalong Cassidy and Roy Rogers.
William Gilbert Barron, known professionally as Billy Gilbert, was an American actor and comedian. He was known for his comic sneeze routines. He appeared in over 200 feature films, short subjects and television shows beginning in 1929.
Edgar Livingston Kennedy was an American comedic character actor who appeared in at least 500 films during the silent and sound eras. Professionally, he was known as "Slow Burn", owing to his ability to portray characters whose anger slowly rose in frustrating situations.
Charlie Hall was an English film actor. He is best known as the "Little Nemesis" of Laurel and Hardy. He performed in nearly 50 films with them, making Hall the most frequent supporting actor in the comedy duo's productions.
Tom Tyler was an American actor known for his leading roles in low-budget Western films in the silent and sound eras, and for his portrayal of superhero Captain Marvel in the 1941 serial film The Adventures of Captain Marvel. Tyler also played Kharis in 1940's The Mummy's Hand, a popular Universal Studios monster film.
Franklin Pangborn was an American comedic character actor famous for playing small but memorable roles with comic flair. He appeared in many Preston Sturges movies as well as the W. C. Fields films International House, The Bank Dick, and Never Give a Sucker an Even Break. For his contributions to motion pictures, Pangborn received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1500 Vine Street on February 8, 1960.
Thomas Aloyisus Kennedy was an American actor known for his roles in Hollywood comedies from the silent days, with such producers as Mack Sennett and Hal Roach, mainly supporting lead comedians such as the Marx Brothers, W. C. Fields, Mabel Normand, Shemp Howard, Laurel and Hardy, and the Three Stooges. Kennedy also played dramatic roles as a supporting actor.
Dorothy Karolyn Granger was an American actress best known for her roles in short subject comedies in Hollywood.
Thomas Donald Meek was a Scottish-American actor. He first performed publicly at the age of eight and began appearing on Broadway in 1903.
Lucien Littlefield was an American actor who achieved a long career from silent films to the television era. He was noted for his versatility, playing a wide range of roles and already portraying old men before he was of voting age.
John Farrell MacDonald was an American character actor and director. He played supporting roles and occasional leads. He appeared in over 325 films over a four-decade career from 1911 to 1951, and directed forty-four silent films from 1912 to 1917.
Wheeler Oakman was an American film actor.
Clarence Muse was an American actor, screenwriter, director, singer, and composer. He was the first African American to appear in a starring role in a film, 1929's Hearts in Dixie. He acted for 50 years, and appeared in more than 150 films. He was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1973.
Billy Bevan was an Australian-born vaudevillian, who became an American film actor. He appeared in more than 250 American films between 1916 and 1950.
John Miljan was an American actor. He appeared in more than 200 films between 1924 and 1958.
Edward James Nugent was an American film and stage actor.
Maurice Black was an American character actor known for his portrayal of mobsters. He appeared in more than 100 films from 1928 to 1938, when he died of pneumonia, four days after his 47th birthday. He was married to Edythe Raynore.
Samuel Rufus McDaniel was an American actor who appeared in over 210 television shows and films between 1929 and 1950. He was the older brother of actresses Etta McDaniel and Hattie McDaniel.
Charles Cahill Wilson was an American screen and stage actor. He appeared in numerous films during the Golden Age of Hollywood from the late 1920s to late 1940s.