Robert Middlemass

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Robert Middlemass
Robert Middlemass in The Black Raven (1943).jpg
Middlemass in The Black Raven (1943)
Born(1883-09-03)September 3, 1883
DiedSeptember 10, 1949(1949-09-10) (aged 66)
  • Actor
  • playwright
Years active19101947

Robert Middlemass (September 3, 1883 September 10, 1949) was an American playwright and stage actor, and later character actor with over 100 film appearances, usually playing detectives or policemen. [1]



Middlemass was born in New Britain, Connecticut. He graduated from Harvard University in 1909 and initially went into the insurance business, but soon went on the stage, joining the Castle Square Theatre stock company in Boston. He debuted on Broadway in September 1914 in The Bludgeon at the Maxine Elliott Theatre. [2]

His best known play was a one-act melodrama written with Holworthy Hall (real name H.E. Porter, a college roommate) titled The Valiant , which was also made into a film of the same name in 1929, [1] [3] and as The Man Who Wouldn't Talk in 1940. The play became a favorite for amateur and local theater groups [4] [5] and is still performed today. [6]

Middlemass moved to Los Angeles around 1935 and began appearing in films. He died there in 1949.

Select theatre credits

Robert Middlemass (center) as Captain Seaver of the New York police, grilling a suspect in Small Miracle (1934) Small-Miracle-Stage-4.jpg
Robert Middlemass (center) as Captain Seaver of the New York police, grilling a suspect in Small Miracle (1934)

Selected filmography

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  1. 1 2 (13 Feb 1937). Mrs. Susan C. Middlemass, The New York Times
  2. Sexennial Report Class of 1909 Harvard College, pp. 201-02 (1915) (self report from Middlemass)
  3. Jones, Ken D., et al. Character People, p. 146 (1976) (full text not available online) ("Robert Middlemass appeared as a character actor in many films in the 1930s and 1940s, but he is known best as the author of The Valiant, a famous one-act play")
  4. (23 Sept 2009). Holworthy Hall, Skaneateles (blog)
  5. McCulloh, T.H. (8 Nov 1995). THEATER REVIEWS : 'Valiant' Locked in Another Era; No Reprieve in Execution, Los Angeles Times
  6. (28 Jan 2014). Student-directed "The Valiant" slated for SFA's Downstage Theatre, Stephen F. Austin University News (example of more recent performance)
  7. (13 April 1926). How Sleight of Hand Helped Actor to Act, The Sun (New York) , p. 28 col. 7
  8. The Valiant, McClure's (March 1921)