Thursday, December 06, 2012

Allen Joseph: 1919-2012

       We learned of the death today of veteran character actor  Allen Joseph. Born May 29, 1919 in Minneapolis, Joseph worked on the stage, and in film and television. He died November 30th in Mission Viejo, California at the age of 93. His wife of 60 years, Teresa died in 2003. Mr. Joseph wrote plays for the stage, and appeared in the Broadway production of Anastasia in 1954. He appeared in many film and television roles such as bits in the films Raging Bull (as a jeweler); Chilly Scenes of Winter (as a blind man); the cult film Eraserhead (as Mr. X); and Marathon Man (as Babe's Father). His TV work includes Naked City, Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Wagon Train, Perry Mason, The Fugitive, The Invaders, Get Smart, Mission: Impossible, Mannix, Alias Smith & Jones, Ironside, Baretta, Six Million Dollar Man, Police Story, Kojak, Starsky & Hutch, Man From Atlantis, Quincy, and Airwolf.

Holiday Movies & Character Actors

Of course this time of year the airwaves are full of holiday themed movies and television shows. In many cases, we remember some of the great character actors and actresses of the past specifically from their roles in these well remembered seasonal parts... If we start with the classic Miracle on 34th Street from 1947, we obviously remember the grand old character-star Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle, the star of the piece. We may even remember some of those "second tier" character actors, such as Gene Lockhart as the Judge in the great closing scene; William Frawley (from tv's I Love Lucy) as Halloran, the Judge's associate; Porter Hall as the Mr. Sawyer, a villain in the piece; Jerome Cowan as the District Attorney; and maybe even Phillip Tonge as Mr. Shellhammer, a manager at Macy's Department store. But then you delve even deeper into the, shall we say, third tier of character people and you find an incredible list of performers with a tremendous amount of experience... some had been in the business for years and and some would remain in the business for many years to come... do you remember...? 

Percy Helton (1894-1971)
as the Drunken Santa Claus
Harry Antrim (1884-1967)
as R.H. Macy
Herbert Heyes (1889-1958)
as Mr. Gimbel, rival to Mr. Macy
James Seay (1914-92)
as Kris' friend Dr. Pierce

Mary Field (1909-96)
as the Dutch girl's

Anne O'Neal (1893-1971)
as Mr. Sawyer's