Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Character Actor Hall of Fame: Percy Helton

  • Born January 31, 1894 in New York City.
  • Married to actress Edna Eustace from 1931, she was 18 years his junior. She died in 1976 at the age of 64. They had no children.
  • Began his show business career while still an infant, appearing in his father Alf Helton's vaudeville act.
  • As a child, he worked for famed producer David Belasco on Broadway just after the turn of the century. The great George M. Cohan used him in several plays.
  • After service in WWI, and one report suggesting he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Mr. Helton returned to the stage and appeared in such Broadway productions as One Sunday Afternoon, In Love With Love, Ah, Wilderness!, To The Ladies, All the Comforts of Home, Young America and some 20 others up through the early 1940s.
  • After playing a role that required him to scream for much of the play, Mr. Helton's voice became permanently hoarse, resulting in one of the most familiar voices in movies and television.
  • In WWII, while too old to serve, he and his wife toured overseas to entertain the troops in such plays as The Front Page.
  • In his spare time, Mr. Helton enjoyed Barbershop Quartet music and attended the famed Masquers Club in Hollywood, where he served for many years as 2nd Vice President. One of his close friends during the last 15 years of his life was fellow aged character actor Burt Mustin.
  • Died September 11, 1971 in Hollywood, California from natural causes.
  • Films of Percy Helton...
  • DAY OF THE WOLVES 1973
    BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID 1969
    HEAD 1968
    BIG HAND FOR THE LITTLE LADY, A 1966
    DON'T WORRY, WE'LL THINK OF A TITLE 1966
    DEAR BRIGITTE 1965
    SONS OF KATIE ELDER, THE 1965
    ZEBRA IN THE KITCHEN 1965
    HUSH . . . HUSH, SWEET CHARLOTTE 1964
    4 FOR TEXAS 1963
    WHEELER DEALERS, THE 1963
    MUSIC MAN, THE 1962
    RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY 1962
    WHERE THE BOYS ARE 1960
    PROUD REBEL, THE 1958
    SHEEPMAN, THE 1958
    RALLY 'ROUND THE FLAG, BOYS! 1958
    GUNS DON'T ARGUE 1957
    JAILHOUSE ROCK 1957
    LOOKING FOR DANGER 1957
    PHANTOM STAGECOACH, THE 1957
    SHAKE, RATTLE, AND ROCK? 1957
    SPOOK CHASERS 1957
    THIS COULD BE THE NIGHT 1957
    BOSS, THE 1956
    FURY AT GUNSIGHT PASS 1956
    TERROR AT MIDNIGHT 1956
    CRASHOUT 1955
    DIANE 1955
    JAIL BUSTERS 1955
    KISS ME DEADLY 1955
    NO MAN'S WOMAN 1955
    TRIAL 1955
    ABOUT MRS. LESLIE 1954
    LUCKY ME 1954
    STAR IS BORN, A 1954
    20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA 1954
    WHITE CHRISTMAS 1954
    AFFAIRS OF DOBIE GILLIS 1953
    AMBUSH AT TOMAHAWK GAP 1953
    CALL ME MADAM 1953
    DOWN LAREDO WAY 1953
    HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE 1953
    RIDE, VAQUERO! 1953
    ROBE, THE 1953
    SCARED STIFF 1953
    STOOGE, THE 1953
    SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY 1953
    WICKED WOMAN 1953
    BELLE OF NEW YORK, THE 1952
    GIRL IN EVERY PORT, A 1952
    I DREAM OF JEANIE 1952
    BAREFOOT MAILMAN, THE 1951
    CHAIN OF CIRCUMSTANCE 1951
    DARLING, HOW COULD YOU! 1951
    INSIDE SRAIGHT 1951
    NIGHT INTO MORNING 1951
    TALL TARGET 1951
    THREE GUYS NAMED MIKE 1951
    COPPER CANYON 1950
    CYRANO DE BERGERAC 1950
    FANCY PANTS 1950
    HARBOR OF MISSING MEN 1950
    LIFE OF HER OWN, A 1950
    RIDING HIGH 1950
    SECRET FURY, THE 1950
    SUN SETS AT DAWN, THE 1950
    UNDER MEXICALI STARS 1950
    WABASH AVENUE 1950
    ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE KOPS 1949
    CRISS CROSS 1949
    CROOKED WAY, THE 1949
    FREE FOR ALL 1949
    LUST FOR GOLD 1949
    MY FRIEND IRMA 1949
    RED, HOT AND BLUE 1949
    SET-UP, THE 1949
    THIEVES' HIGHWAY 1949
    CALL NORTHSIDE 777 1948
    CHICKEN EVERY SUNDAY 1948
    HAZARD 1948
    LARCENY 1948
    LET'S LIVE AGAIN 1948
    THAT WONDERFUL URGE 1948
    MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET 1947
    PRISONER OF SWING 1938
    DU BARRY DID ALL RIGHT 1937
    OFFENDERS, THE 1922
    INSINUATION 1922
    SILVER WINGS 1922
    FLOWER OF AITH, THE 1916
    FAIR AND THE WAIF, THE 1915

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Please verify your information on Mr. Helton receiving the Distinguished Service Cross. Like other such urban legends (Lee Marvin, Captain Kangaroo, and others), I find no record of Helton getting the DSC

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Clay said...

NO, PERCY HELTON WAS NOT A RECIPIENT OF THE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS.