Willard Waterman in Wagon Train, 1961
Willard Lewis Waterman
August 29, 1914
Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Died||February 2, 1995 80) (aged|
Burlingame, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Skylawn Memorial Park in San Mateo, California|
|Spouse(s)||Mary Anna Theleen (1937-1995; his death); 2 children|
Willard Lewis Waterman (August 29, 1914, Madison, Wisconsin – February 2, 1995,Burlingame, California) was a character actor in films, TV and on radio, remembered best for replacing Harold Peary as the title character of The Great Gildersleeve at the height of that show's popularity.
In the mid 1930s, Waterman attended the University of Wisconsin, where he joined Theta Chi, acted in student plays, and was a friend of Uta Hagen. His growing interest in theater put an end to his original plan to be an engineer, and he gained experience in radio at the university's station, WHA.
Waterman replaced Harold Peary, on "The Great Gildersleeve," radio program after Peary was unable to convince sponsor and show owner Kraft Cheese to allow him an ownership stake in the show. Impressed with better capital-gains deals CBS was willing to offer performers in the high-tax late 1940s, he decided to move from NBC to CBS during the latter's famous talent raids. Kraft, however, refused to move the show to CBS and hired Waterman to replace Peary as the stentorian Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve.
He also began his radio career at WIBA in Madison, singing in a quartet that performed "musical interludes between programs,"and came to NBC in Chicago in early 1936.
There he met and replaced Peary on The Tom Mix Ralston Straight Shooters . Not only did the two men become longtime friends, but Waterman—who actually looked as though he could have been Peary's sibling, and whose voice was a near-match for Peary's—refused to appropriate the half-leering, half-embarrassed laugh Peary had made a Gildersleeve trademark. He stayed with The Great Gildersleeve from 1950 to 1957 on radio and in a short-lived television series syndicated in 1955.
During World War II, Waterman worked in war production [ clarification needed ] in the Nash-Kelvinator plant in Kenosha, Wisconsin.[ citation needed ]
At the same time he was heard as Gildersleeve, Waterman had a recurring role as Mr. Merriweather in the short-lived but respected radio comedy vehicle for Ronald Colman and his wife Benita Hume, The Halls of Ivy . Waterman's pre-Gildersleeve radio career, in addition to Tom Mix, had included at least one starring vehicle, a short-lived situation comedy, Those Websters ,that premiered in 1945.
He had radio roles between the mid 1930s and 1950 on such shows as Chicago Theater of the Air (variety) and Harold Teen (comedy), plus four soap operas: Girl Alone ,The Guiding Light , Lonely Women , The Road of Life and Kay Fairchild, Stepmother.
Waterman is remembered for his role as Claude Upson in the 1958 film Auntie Mame .He was also seen in Riding High , Three Coins in the Fountain , and The Apartment .
Waterman was in two Broadway productions of the musical Mame (the 1966 original and the 1983 revival) and the 1973 Broadway revival of The Pajama Game . He also toured in the national companies of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum .
Waterman's later career included a variety of film and TV supporting roles on such shows as a short-lived television adaptation of The Great Gildersleeve, Vacation Playhouse, Lawman , My Favorite Martian , The Eve Arden Show (four episodes from 1957-1958 as Carl Foster), 77 Sunset Strip , Bonanza , The Dick Van Dyke Show , Guestward Ho! , F Troop , and Dennis the Menace , in which he played the lovable grocer, Mr. Quigley. Between 1957 and 1959, he appeared five times as Mac Maginnis in the ABC sitcom The Real McCoys starring Walter Brennan.
Waterman was all but retired from acting after 1973, although in 1980 he appeared in the "Boss and Peterson" radio commercial for Sony, for which he received a Clio Award.
In 1937, Waterman was a founding member of the radio union known as the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. One obituary noted, "He was believed to be the only person to have served as a member of the union's board of directors in four different locales: Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York."
Waterman died of bone marrow disease February 2, 1995, at his home in Burlingame, California,and is interred at Skylawn Memorial Park in San Mateo, California. He was survived by his wife, Mary Anna (née Theleen), two daughters, three granddaughters, and a great-granddaughter.
Waterman has a star in the Radio section of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
|1949||Flame of Youth||Steve Miller|
|1949||Free for All||Commander H.C. Christie|
|1950||No Man of Her Own||Jack Olsen||Uncredited|
|1950||Ma and Pa Kettle Go to Town||J.J. Schumacher||Uncredited|
|1950||Riding High||Arthur Winslow|
|1950||Father of the Bride||Vincent Dixon - Engagement Party Guest||Uncredited|
|1950||Mystery Street||A Mortician|
|1950||Hit Parade of 1951||Oilman||Uncredited|
|1950||Mrs. O'Malley and Mr. Malone||Mr. Ogle|
|1950||Watch the Birdie||Mayor||Uncredited|
|1951||Fourteen Hours||Mr. Harris||Uncredited|
|1951||Francis Goes to the Races||Exerciser||Uncredited|
|1951||Darling, How Could You!||Theatre Manager|
|1951||Sunny Side of the Street||John 'J.R.' Stevens|
|1952||Has Anybody Seen My Gal?||Dr. Wallace||Uncredited|
|1953||It Happens Every Thursday||Myron Trout|
|1953||Half a Hero||Charles McEstway|
|1954||Three Coins in the Fountain||Mr. Hoyt||Uncredited|
|1955||Three for the Show||TV Show Moderator||Uncredited|
|1955||How to Be Very, Very Popular||Speaker|
|1956||Hollywood or Bust||Manager Neville||Uncredited; final Martin & Lewis film|
|1958||Auntie Mame||Claude Upson|
|1960||The Apartment||Mr. Vanderhoff|
|1962||The Joey Bishop Show||Johnathan Flint.||1 episode|
|1962||Walk on the Wild Side||Man Listening to Speech||Uncredited|
|1963||My Favorite Martian||Mr. Trimble||Episode- There is No Cure for the Common Martian|
|1964||Get Yourself a College Girl||Senator Hubert Morrison|
|1972||Hail||Vice President||(final film role)|
|1948||Screen Guild Players||Up in Central Park|
The Great Gildersleeve is a radio situation comedy broadcast in the United States from August 31, 1941 to 1958. Initially written by Leonard Lewis Levinson, it was one of broadcast history's earliest spin-off programs. The series was built around Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve, a regular character from the radio situation comedy Fibber McGee and Molly. The character was introduced in the October 3, 1939, episode of that series. Actor Harold Peary had played a similarly named character, Dr. Gildersleeve, on earlier episodes. The Great Gildersleeve enjoyed its greatest popularity in the 1940s. Peary played the character during its transition from the parent show into the spin-off and later in four feature films released at the height of the show's popularity.
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Harold (Hal) Peary was an American actor, comedian and singer in radio, films, television, and animation. His most memorable role is as Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve, which began as a supporting character on radio's Fibber McGee and Molly in 1938. The character proved to be so popular with audiences by 1941 that Peary got his own radio comedy show, The Great Gildersleeve, the first known spin-off hit in American broadcasting history.
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The year 1936 saw a number of significant events in radio broadcasting.
Those Websters was a radio situation comedy series starring Willard Waterman and Constance Crowder as George and Jane Webster. The program was launched in New York and then moved to Chicago for a short spell before finishing its run from Hollywood.
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Gildersleeve on Broadway is a 1943 American film starring Harold Peary as his radio character The Great Gildersleeve. It is the third of four Gildersleeve features, others were The Great Gildersleeve (1942), Gildersleeve's Bad Day (1943), Gildersleeve's Ghost (1944).
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The Harold Peary Show is a radio situation comedy broadcast in the United States September 17, 1950-June 13, 1951 on CBS. Some sources refer to the program as Honest Harold or The Hal Peary Show.
The Great Gildersleeve is a 1942 American comedy film directed by Gordon Douglas. Based on the popular NBC radio series The Great Gildersleeve created by Leonard L. Levinson, which ran from 1941 to 1950, this was the first of four films in the Gildersleeve's series produced and distributed by RKO Radio Pictures. The screenplay was written by Jack Townley and Julien Josephson, and the film stars Harold Peary and Jane Darwell. Other films in the series were Gildersleeve's Bad Day (1943), Gildersleeve on Broadway (1943), Gildersleeve's Ghost (1944).
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Gildersleeve's Ghost is a 1944 American comedy film directed by Gordon Douglas from an original screenplay by Robert E. Kent. It is the fourth and final film in the Gildersleeve's series, all of which were produced and distributed by RKO Radio Pictures, based on the popular NBC radio program, The Great Gildersleeve, created by Leonard L. Levinson. Released on September 6, 1944, the film stars Harold Peary, Marion Martin, Richard LeGrand, Amelita Ward, Freddie Mercer, and Margie Stewart.
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