William Gargan

Last updated
William Dennis Gargan
William Gargan in Black Fury trailer.jpg
from the trailer for the film Black Fury (1935).
Born(1905-07-17)July 17, 1905
DiedFebruary 17, 1979(1979-02-17) (aged 73)
Died in flight between New York City and San Diego
Resting place Holy Cross Cemetery (San Diego), California
Years active1925–1958
Spouse(s)Mary Kenny (1928–1979) (his death)
1949 promotional photo of Gargan for Martin Kane, Private Eye Wgargan.jpg
1949 promotional photo of Gargan for Martin Kane, Private Eye

William Dennis Gargan (July 17, 1905 February 17, 1979) was an American film, television and radio actor. He was the 5th recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award in 1967 [1] , and nominated for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor in 1941 for his role as Joe in 'They Knew What They Wanted'.

<i>They Knew What They Wanted</i> (film) 1940 film by Garson Kanin

They Knew What They Wanted is a 1940 film directed by Garson Kanin, written by Robert Ardrey, and starring Carole Lombard, Charles Laughton and William Gargan. It is based on the 1924 Pulitzer Prize winning play They Knew What They Wanted by Sidney Howard. For his performance Gargan was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Contents

Early years

Gargan was born in Brooklyn, New York. He was the younger brother of actor Edward Gargan, whose birthday July 17 he shared. His father was a detective, and his mother was a teacher. He graduated from St. James School in Brooklyn. [2]

Brooklyn Borough in New York City and county in New York state, United States

Brooklyn is the most populous borough of New York City, with an estimated 2,648,771 residents in 2017. Named after the Dutch village of Breukelen, it borders the borough of Queens at the western end of Long Island. Brooklyn has several bridge and tunnel connections to the borough of Manhattan across the East River, and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge connects Staten Island. Since 1896, Brooklyn has been coterminous with Kings County, the most populous county in the U.S. state of New York and the second-most densely populated county in the United States, after New York County.

New York (state) State of the United States of America

New York is a state in the Northeastern United States. New York was one of the original thirteen colonies that formed the United States. With an estimated 19.54 million residents in 2018, it is the fourth most populous state. To distinguish the state from the city with the same name, it is sometimes called New York State.

Edward Gargan American actor

Edward Gargan was an American film and television actor, one of the most prolific bit players in the history of the movies.

On leaving school, Gargan became a salesman of bootleg whiskey to New York speakeasies and then joined a detective agency.

Rum-running illegal business of smuggling alcoholic beverages

Rum-running, or bootlegging, is the illegal business of transporting (smuggling) alcoholic beverages where such transportation is forbidden by law. Smuggling usually takes place to circumvent taxation or prohibition laws within a particular jurisdiction. The term rum-running is more commonly applied to smuggling over water; bootlegging is applied to smuggling over land.

Stage

While visiting his brother on a musical comedy stage, he was offered a stage job which he accepted. He began his stage career in Aloma of the South Seas [2]

Film

Gargan's first movie was Rain [2] later he played in Misleading Lady and had character roles in many Hollywood productions, including two appearances as detective Ellery Queen.

Ellery Queen is a crime fiction pseudonym created in 1929 by Frederic Dannay and Manfred Bennington Lee, and later used by other authors under Dannay and Lee's supervision. Dannay and Lee's main fictional character, whom they also named Ellery Queen, is a mystery writer in New York City who helps his police inspector father solve baffling murders. Most of the more than thirty novels and several short story collections in which Ellery Queen appeared as a character were written by Dannay and Lee, and were among the most popular American mysteries published between 1929 and 1971. From 1961, Dannay and Lee also commissioned other authors to write crime thrillers under the Ellery Queen authorial name, but not featuring Ellery Queen as a character.

He was cast in a number of stereotypical Irish parts in films playing policemen, priests, reporters, and blustering adventurers. In 1945 he played Joe Gallagher in The Bells of St. Mary's , starring Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman.

Irish people Ethnic group with Celtic and other roots, native to the island of Ireland, with shared history and culture

The Irish are a Celtic nation and ethnic group native to the island of Ireland, who share a common Irish ancestry, identity and culture. Ireland has been inhabited for about 12,500 years according to archaeological studies. For most of Ireland's recorded history, the Irish have been primarily a Gaelic people. Viking invasions of Ireland during the 8th to 11th centuries established the cities of Dublin, Wexford, Waterford, Cork and Limerick. Anglo-Normans conquered parts of Ireland in the 12th century, while England's 16th/17th-century (re)conquest and colonisation of Ireland brought a large number of English and Lowland Scots people to parts of the island, especially the north. Today, Ireland is made up of the Republic of Ireland and the smaller Northern Ireland. The people of Northern Ireland hold various national identities including British, Irish, Northern Irish or some combination thereof.

<i>The Bells of St. Marys</i> 1945 film by Leo McCarey

The Bells of St. Mary's (1945) is an American drama film, produced and directed by Leo McCarey and starring Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman. Written by Dudley Nichols and based on a story by Leo McCarey, the film is about a priest and a nun who, despite their good-natured rivalry, try to save their school from being shut down. The character Father O'Malley had been previously portrayed by Crosby in the 1944 film Going My Way, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. The film was produced by Leo McCarey's production company, Rainbow Productions.

Bing Crosby American singer and actor

Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby was an American singer and actor. The first multimedia star, Crosby was a leader in record sales, radio ratings, and motion picture grosses from 1931 to 1954. His early career coincided with recording innovations that allowed him to develop an intimate singing style that influenced many male singers who followed him, including Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Dick Haymes, and Dean Martin. Yank magazine said that he was "the person who had done the most for the morale of overseas servicemen" during World War II. In 1948, American polls declared him the "most admired man alive", ahead of Jackie Robinson and Pope Pius XII. Also in 1948, Music Digest estimated that his recordings filled more than half of the 80,000 weekly hours allocated to recorded radio music.

In 1935, Gargan went to England and made several films there. [2]

In 1940, Gargan was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Joe, the foreman, in They Knew What They Wanted . [3]

Radio

Gargan was best known for his role as private detective Martin Kane in the 1949–51 radio-television series, Martin Kane, Private Eye , sponsored by U.S. Tobacco. He also appeared as a private detective in the NBC radio show Barrie Craig, Confidential Investigator , which ran from 1951 to 1955.

Television

Gargan starred in 39 episodes of The New Adventures of Martin Kane, a syndicated series premiering September 14, 1957, and distributed in Europe by United Artists Television for Ziv Television Programs.

Later years

Gargan's acting career came to an end in 1958 when he developed throat cancer, and doctors were forced to remove his larynx in 1960. [4] Speaking through an artificial voice box, Gargan became an activist and spokesman for the American Cancer Society, often warning about the dangers of smoking. [5] In 1964, Mutual of Omaha presented its annual Criss Award to Gargan for "his inspirational self-rehabilitation efforts and his outstanding contributions to established rehabilitation programs." [6]

No longer able to act, he formed William Gargan Productions, making traditional films and television movies in Hollywood. [7]

Family

Gargan had a wife, Mary, and two sons, Leslie and Barrie. [8]

Death

He died of heart attack aged 73 on February 17, 1979, on a flight between New York City and San Diego. He was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery, San Diego, California.

Partial filmography

Radio appearances

YearProgramEpisode/source
1943 Philip Morris Playhouse Roberta [9]

Book

Gargan's autobiography, Why Me? was published by Doubleday in 1969. [10] A reviewer described the book as "a compelling story of the life, faith and courage of a man who as an actor was a notable success." [11]

Related Research Articles

Ralph Bellamy American actor

Ralph Rexford Bellamy was an American actor whose career spanned 62 years on stage, film, and television. During his career, he played leading roles as well as supporting roles, garnering acclaim and awards, including an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for The Awful Truth (1937).

Douglass Dumbrille Canadian-American actor

Douglass Rupert Dumbrille was a Canadian actor and one of the Canadian pioneers in early Hollywood.

Leon Ames actor

Leon Ames was an American film and television actor. He is best remembered for playing father figures in such films as Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) with Judy Garland as one of his daughters, Little Women (1949), On Moonlight Bay (1951), and By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1953). The fathers whom Ames portrayed were often somewhat stuffy and exasperated by the younger generation, but ultimately kind and understanding. His most famous role came as DA Kyle Sackett from the film The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946).

Charley Grapewin American actor

Charles Ellsworth Grapewin was an American vaudeville performer, circus performer, writer and a stage and silent and sound actor, and comedian who was best known for portraying Uncle Henry in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's The Wizard of Oz (1939) as well as Grandpa Joad in The Grapes of Wrath (1940), Jeeter Lester in Tobacco Road (1941) and California Joe in They Died With Their Boots On (1941). He usually portrayed elderly folksy-type characters in a rustic setting, in all appearing in over 100 films.

Edward Arnold (actor) American actor

Edward Arnold was an American actor.

Edward Brophy American actor and comedian

Edward Santree Brophy was an American character actor and comedian. Small of build, balding, and raucous-voiced, he frequently portrayed dumb cops and gangsters, both serious and comic.

Robert Barrat actor

Robert Harriot Barrat was an American stage, motion picture, and television character actor.

Douglas Fowley actor

Douglas Fowley was an American movie and television actor in more than 240 films and dozens of television programs, He is probably best remembered for his role as the frustrated movie director Roscoe Dexter in Singin' in the Rain (1952), and for his regular supporting role as Doc Holliday in The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp. He is the father of rock and roll musician and record producer Kim Fowley.

George Chandler American film and television actor

George Chandler was an American actor who starred in over 140 feature films, usually in smaller supporting roles, and he is perhaps best known for playing the character of Uncle Petrie Martin on the television series Lassie.

Hobart Cavanaugh American actor

Hobart Cavanaugh was an American character actor in films and on stage.

Joe Sawyer was a Canadian film actor. He appeared in more than 200 films between 1927 and 1962, and was sometimes billed under his birth name. He was born in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Minor Watson actor

Minor Watson was a prominent character actor. He appeared in 111 movies made between 1913 and 1956. His credits included Boys Town (1938), Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), Kings Row (1942), Guadalcanal Diary (1943), Bewitched (1945), The Virginian (1946), and The Jackie Robinson Story (1950)

James Burke (actor) American actor

James Burke was an American film and television actor born in New York City. He made his stage debut in New York around 1912 and went to Hollywood in 1933. He made over 200 film appearances during his career between 1932 and 1964. He was often cast as a police officer, usually a none-too-bright one, such as his role as Sergeant Velie in Columbia Pictures' Ellery Queen crime dramas in the early 1940s. Burke can also be seen in The Maltese Falcon, At the Circus, Lone Star, and many other films. One of his memorable roles is his portrayal of a rowdy rancher in the 1935 comedy Ruggles of Red Gap.

Robert Homans American actor

Robert Edward Homans was an American actor who entered films in 1923 after a lengthy stage career.

Jack La Rue American actor

Jack La Rue was an American film and stage actor.

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.

William Newell (actor) American film actor

William M. Newell was an American film actor.

Charles C. Wilson (actor) American actor

Charles Cahill Wilson was an American character actor whose career began in the silent film era and extended into the late 1940s.

Ray Walker was an American actor, born Warren Reynolds Walker in Newark, New Jersey, who starred in Baby Take a Bow (1934), Hideaway Girl (1936), The Dark Hour (1936), The Unknown Guest (1943) and It's A Wonderful Life (1946).

References

  1. https://www.sagawards.org/nominees/life-achievement-award-recipient/5th
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Radio-Television". Altoona Tribune. March 25, 1952. p. 13. Retrieved July 6, 2015 via Newspapers.com. Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  3. "William Gargan". oscars.org. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  4. "Cancer Society to Hear Actor William Gargan". The Bakersfield Californian. September 11, 1962. p. 36. Retrieved July 6, 2015 via Newspapers.com. Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  5. Reinehr, Robert C. & Swartz, Jon D. (2010). The A to Z of Old Time Radio. Scarecrow Press. p. 107.
  6. "William Gargan, Actor, Will Get 8th Criss Award". The Lincoln Star. September 14, 1965. p. 3. Retrieved July 7, 2015 via Newspapers.com. Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  7. Swinford, T. William (March 12, 1964). "Suburbs Beat Hollywood--for Family Life". Arlington Heights Herald. p. 19. Retrieved July 6, 2015 via Newspapers.com. Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  8. "Gargan's Family Ill". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. September 21, 1938. p. 1. Retrieved July 6, 2015 via Newspapers.com. Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  9. "Air Ya Listenin?". The Mason City Globe-Gazette. May 14, 1943. p. 2. Retrieved July 21, 2015 via Newspapers.com. Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  10. "Why me?; an autobiography". WorldCat. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  11. McLeod, Edyth Thornton (June 10, 1969). "Beauty After Forty". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. p. 25. Retrieved July 7, 2015 via Newspapers.com. Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg