Hugh Herbert in Dames (1934)
|Born||August 10, 1885|
Binghamton, New York, U.S.
|Died||March 12, 1952 66) (aged|
|Spouse(s)||Rose Epstein (1932–1949)|
Hugh Herbert (August 10, 1885 – March 12, 1952) was a motion picture comedian. He began his career in vaudeville and wrote more than 150 plays and sketches.
Born in Binghamton, New York, Herbert "had many serious roles, and for years was seen on major vaudeville circuits as a pathetic old Hebrew."
The advent of talking pictures brought stage-trained actors to Hollywood, and Hugh Herbert soon became a popular movie comedian. His screen character was usually absent-minded and flustered. He would flutter his fingers together and talk to himself, repeating the same phrases: "hoo-hoo-hoo, wonderful, wonderful, hoo hoo hoo!" So many imitators (including Curly Howard of The Three Stooges, Mickey Rooney as Andy Hardy and Etta Candy in the Wonder Woman comic book series) copied the catchphrase as "woo woo" that Herbert himself began to use "woo woo" rather than "hoo hoo" in the 1940s.
Herbert's earliest movies, like Wheeler & Woolsey's feature Hook, Line and Sinker (1930), cast him in generic comedy roles that could have been taken by any comedian. He developed his own unique screen personality, complete with a silly giggle, and this new character caught on quickly. He was frequently featured in Warner Brothers films of the 1930s, including Bureau of Missing Persons , Footlight Parade (both 1933), Dames , Fog Over Frisco , Fashions of 1934 (all 1934), and Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935), as well as A Midsummer Night's Dream (also 1935), a film adaptation of Shakespeare's play. He played leads in "B comedies", notably Sh! The Octopus (1937), a comedy-mystery featuring an exceptional unmasking of the culprit.
Herbert was often caricatured in Warners' Looney Tunes shorts of the 1930s/40s, such as Speaking of the Weather (1937) and The Hardship of Miles Standish (1940). One of the minor characters in the Terrytoons short The Talking Magpies (1946) is also a recognizably Hugh Herbertesque bird. In 1939 Herbert signed with Universal Pictures, where, as at Warners, he played supporting roles in major films and leading roles in minor ones. One of his best-received performances from this period is in the Olsen and Johnson comedy Hellzapoppin' (1941), in which he played a nutty detective.[ citation needed ]
Herbert joined Columbia Pictures in 1943 and became a familiar face in short subjects, with the same actors and directors who made the Stooges shorts. He continued to star in these comedies for the remainder of his life.
Herbert wrote six screenplays, co-writing the screenplays for the films Lights of New York (1928) and Second Wife (1930) and contributing to The Great Gabbo (1929), among others. He acted in a few films co-written by the much more prolific (but unrelated) screenwriter F. Hugh Herbert: Fashions of 1934 (1934), We're in the Money (1935) and Colleen (1936). He also directed one film, He Knew Women (1930).[ citation needed ]
Herbert has a star at 6251 Hollywood Boulevard on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was dedicated February 8, 1960.
Herbert was married to Rose Epstein, who was also known by the name Anita Pam.
Herbert died on March 12, 1952 at the age of 66 from cardiovascular disease in North Hollywood, Los Angeles.
Hugh's brother, Tom Herbert, was a screen comedian who played mildly flustered roles. He is featured in the Warner Brothers short subject Double or Nothing (1940) as his brother Hugh's movie double.[ citation needed ]
Mischa Auer was a Russian-born American actor who moved to Hollywood in the late 1920s. He first appeared in film in 1928. Auer had a long career playing in many of the era's best known films. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1936 for his performance in the screwball comedy My Man Godfrey, which led to further zany comedy roles. He later moved into television and acted in films again in France and Italy well into the 1960s.
Walter Sydney Vinnicombe, known as Wally Patch, was an English actor and comedian. He worked in film, television and theatre.
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 on screen characters whose anger slowly rises in frustrating situations. Kennedy in many of his roles used exasperated facial expressions, performed very deliberately, to convey his rising anger or "burn", often rubbing his hand over his bald head and across his face in an effort to control his temper. One memorable example of his slow-burn comedy technique can be seen in the 1933 Marx Brothers' film Duck Soup in which he plays a sidewalk lemonade vendor who is harassed and increasingly provoked by Harpo and Chico.
Robert Harriot Barrat was an American stage, motion picture, and television character actor.
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.
Charles B. Middleton was an American stage and film actor. During a film career that began at age 46 and lasted almost 30 years, he appeared in nearly 200 films as well as numerous plays. He is perhaps best remembered for his role as the villainous emperor Ming the Merciless in the three Flash Gordon serials made between 1936 and 1940.
Sidney Hickox, A.S.C. was an American film and television cinematographer.
Walter Leland Catlett was an American actor. He made a career of playing excitable, meddlesome, temperamental, and officious blowhards.
Charles Edward Butterworth was an American actor specializing in comedic roles, often in musicals. Butterworth's distinctive voice was the inspiration for the Cap'n Crunch commercials from the Jay Ward studio: voice actor Daws Butler based Cap'n Crunch on the voice of Butterworth.
Paul Causey Hurst was an American actor and director.
Francis Curray McHugh, was an American stage, radio, film and television actor.
Samuel Bischoff was an American film producer who was responsible for more than 400 full-length films, two-reel comedies, and serials between 1922 and 1964.
Roscoe Karns was an American actor who appeared in nearly 150 films between 1915 and 1964. He specialized in cynical, wise-cracking characters, and his rapid-fire delivery enlivened many comedies and crime thrillers in the 1930s and 1940s.
Robert Emmett O'Connor was an American film actor. He appeared in 204 films between 1919 and 1950. He is probably best remembered as the warmhearted bootlegger Paddy Ryan in The Public Enemy (1931) and as Detective Sergeant Henderson pursuing the Marx Brothers in A Night at the Opera (1935). He also appeared as Jonesy, in Billy Wilder's 1950 film Sunset Boulevard. He also made an appearance at the very beginning and very end of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon short Who Killed Who? (1943).
Paul Porcasi was an Italian actor. He appeared in 142 films between 1917 and 1945.
Herbert Halliwell Hobbes was an English actor.
Frederick Hugh Herbert was a playwright, screenwriter, novelist, short story writer, and infrequent film director.
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.
G. Pat Collins, also known as George Pat Collins or Pat Collins was an American actor of the stage and screen.
Tom Herbert was an American character actor of the 1930s and 1940s.