Thursday, December 21, 2006
Out on Tuesday was the latest wave of Disney Treasures. Disney was a fan of character actors, and one of the live-action treasures out this week is from Disney's Mickey Mouse Club. "The Hardy Boys: Mystery of the Applegate Treasure" star Tim Considine and Tommy Kirk as Frank and Joe Hardy. But character actors abound, including Russ Conway as their father and Sarah Selby as their Aunt Gertrude in each of the more than two dozen episodes. You'll also find Robert Foulk, Arthur Shields, Jess Kirkpatrick, Mort Mills, Charles Cane, and as Silas Applegate, the wonderful Florenz Ames (above/right).
Ames was in vaudeville and later appeared on Broadway from the 1920s to the 1950s. He was Ellery Queen's father in the early 1950s tv series; he played Dagwood's boss Mr. Dithers, on the first Blondie tv series in the late 1950s; but I can find no credits for him after 1959. He was born in Rochester, New York in January 1883 and appeared in vaudeville with his wife Adelaide Winthrop. I also can't find any record of his death, so we have a bit of a mystery...whatever happened to Florenz Ames???
Unfortunately, there have been few deaths among the character actor ranks. Rudy Diaz, a former policeman turned actor died on December 5 at 88. He worked most often in television, doing mostly cop show and westerns.
Born in Wales in 1919, character actor Ivor Barry (at right) could be found playing butlers, chauffeurs, or stuffy Britishers. Mr. Barry died December 12 from heart failure. He had been retired a number of years, and was living at the Motion Picture House in Woodland Hills, California.
Also, veteran character actor Adam Williams (left) died on December 4 from lymphoma; he was 84. He appeared in many westerns, as well as classic films such as North by Northwest, The Big Heat, The Flying Leathernecks, and The Day the Earth Stood Still, among others.