Edward Everett Horton
Edward Everett Horton Jr.
March 18, 1886
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|Died||September 29, 1970 (aged 84)|
Encino, California, U.S.
|Other names||E.E. Horton|
Edward E. Horton
|Alma mater||Oberlin College (no degree) |
|Occupation||Actor, singer, dancer|
Horton was born in Brooklyn, New York (then an independent city) to Edward Everett Horton, a compositor for The New York Times, and his wife Isabella S. (née Diack) Horton. His father had English and German ancestry, and his mother was born in Matanzas, Cuba to George and Mary (Orr) Diack, natives of Scotland. He attended Boys' High School, Brooklyn and Baltimore City College, where he later was inducted into its Hall of Fame.
He was a student at Oberlin College in Ohio. However, he was asked to leave after he climbed to the top of a building and, after a crowd gathered, threw off a dummy, making them think he had jumped. He then attended Brooklyn Polytechnic, followed by Columbia University, where he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi.
Stage and film career
Horton began his stage career in 1906, singing and dancing and playing small parts in vaudeville and in Broadway productions. In 1919, he moved to Los Angeles, California, where he began acting in Hollywood films. His first starring role was in the comedy Too Much Business (1922), but he portrayed the lead role of an idealistic young classical composer in the drama Beggar on Horseback (1925). In the late 1920s, he starred in two-reel silent comedies for Educational Pictures and made the transition to sound films with Educational in 1929. As a stage-trained performer, he found more film work easily and appeared in some of Warner Bros.' movies, including The Terror (1928) and Sonny Boy (1929).
Horton initially used his given name, Edward Horton, professionally, but his father persuaded him to adopt his full name professionally, reasoning that other actors might be named Edward Horton, but only one named Edward Everett Horton. Horton soon cultivated his own special variation of the double take (an actor's reaction to something, followed by a delayed, more extreme reaction). In Horton's version, he smiled ingratiatingly and nodded in agreement with what just happened; then, when realization set in, his facial features collapsed entirely into a sober, troubled mask.
Horton starred in many comedy features in the 1930s, usually playing a mousy fellow who put up with domestic or professional problems to a certain point and then finally asserted himself for a happy ending. He is best known, however, for his work in supporting roles. These include The Front Page (1931), Trouble in Paradise (1932), Alice in Wonderland (1933), The Gay Divorcee (1934, the first of several Astaire/Rogers films in which Horton appeared), Top Hat (1935), Biography of a Bachelor Girl (1935), Danger - Love at Work (1937), Lost Horizon (1937), Holiday (1938), Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), Pocketful of Miracles (1961), It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), and Sex and the Single Girl (1964). His last role was in the comedy film Cold Turkey (1971), in which his character communicated only through facial expressions.
Radio and television
From 1945 to 1947, Horton hosted radio's Kraft Music Hall. An early television appearance came in the play Sham, shown on The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre on 13 December 1948. During the 1950s, Horton worked primarily in television. One of his best-remembered appearances is in an episode of I Love Lucy, broadcast in 1952, in which he is cast against type as a frisky, amorous suitor. In 1960, he guest-starred on The Real McCoys as J. Luther Medwick, grandfather of the boyfriend of series character Hassie McCoy (Lydia Reed). In the story, Medwick clashes with the equally outspoken Grandpa Amos McCoy (played by Walter Brennan).
He remains, however, best known to the Baby Boomer generation as the venerable narrator of Fractured Fairy Tales on The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show (1959–61), an American animated television series that originally aired from November 19, 1959, to June 27, 1964.
In 1962, he portrayed the character Uncle Ned in three episodes of Dennis the Menace. In 1965, he guest-starred in an episode of The Cara Williams Show and also played the medicine man, Roaring Chicken, in F Troop. He echoed this role, portraying Chief Screaming Chicken, on Batman as a pawn to Vincent Price's Egghead.
Death and legacy
Horton died of cancer in 1970 at age 84 in Encino, California. His remains were interred in Glendale's Whispering Pines section of Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery. Horton never publicly discussed his private life, but late in life he granted an interview in which he discussed his life and career, punctuated by self-effacing remarks ("Nobody's older than I am."), which was published in 1970.
In 1925, Horton purchased several acres in the district of Encino, Los Angeles and lived on the property at 5521 Amestoy Avenue until his death. He named the estate Belleigh Acres, and it contained Horton's own house and houses for his brother, his sister and their respective families. In the 1950s, the state of California forced Horton to sell a portion of his property for construction of the Ventura Freeway. The freeway construction left a short stump of Amestoy Avenue south of Burbank Boulevard, and shortly after his death the city of Los Angeles renamed that portion Edward Everett Horton Lane.
Edward Everett Horton Lane begins in the shadow of the Ventura Freeway and ends at Burbank Boulevard. On the other side of the boulevard is a bus stop, also named for Edward Everett Horton, between bus stops at Aldea and Balboa. The borderline of Anthony C. Beilenson Park is directly across the street from the corner of Burbank Boulevard and EE Horton Lane. The opposite end of the lane leads to a foot bridge that overlooks the Ventura Freeway and ends on the Amestoy Avenue side.
- All feature films are listed below; only some shorts are missing.
|1922||Too Much Business||John Henry Jackson||(film debut)|
|The Ladder Jinx||Arthur Barnes|
|A Front Page Story||Rodney Marvin|
|1923||Ruggles of Red Gap||Ruggles||Credited as Edward Horton|
|The Vow of Vengeance|
|To the Ladies||Leonard Beebe|
|1924||Flapper Wives||Vincent Platt|
|Try and Get It||Glenn Collins|
|The Man Who Fights Alone||Bob Alten|
|Helen's Babies||Uncle Harry||with Clara Bow and Baby Peggy|
|1925||Beggar on Horseback||Neil McRae|
|Marry Me||John Smith #2|
|The Business of Love||Edward Burgess|
|Poker Faces||Jimmy Whitmore|
|The Whole Town's Talking||Chester Binney|
|1927||Taxi! Taxi!||Peter Whitby|
|1928||The Terror||Ferdinand Fane|
|1929||Ask Dad||Dad||Short film|
|Sonny Boy||Crandall Thorpe|
|The Hottentot||Sam Harrington|
|The Sap||The Sap|
|The Aviator||Robert Steele|
|1930||Take the Heir||Smithers|
|Wide Open||Simon Haldane|
|Once a Gentleman||Oliver|
|Reaching for the Moon||Roger - the Valet|
|1931||Kiss Me Again||René||Alternative title: Toast of the Legion|
|Lonely Wives||Richard Smith / Felix, the Great Zero|
|The Front Page||Roy V. Bensinger|
|Six Cylinder Love||Monty Winston|
|Smart Woman||Billy Ross|
|The Age for Love||Horace Keats|
|1932||But the Flesh Is Weak||Sir George Kelvin|
|Roar of the Dragon||Busby|
|Trouble in Paradise||François Filiba|
|1933||Soldiers of the King||Sebastian Marvello|
|A Bedtime Story||Victor Dubois|
|It's a Boy||Dudley Leake|
|The Way to Love||Prof. Gaston Bibi|
|Design for Living||Max Plunkett|
|Alice in Wonderland||The Mad Hatter|
|1934||Easy to Love||Eric|
|The Poor Rich||Albert Stuyvesant Spottiswood|
|Success at Any Price||Fisher|
|Uncertain Lady||Elliot Crane|
|Sing and Like It||Adam Frink - Producer|
|Kiss and Make-Up||Marcel Caron|
|Ladies Should Listen||Paul Vernet|
|The Merry Widow||Ambassador Popoff|
|The Gay Divorcee||Egbert Fitzgerald|
|1935||Biography of a Bachelor Girl||Leander 'Bunny' Nolan|
|The Night Is Young||Baron Szereny|
|All the King's Horses||Count Josef von Schlapstaat|
|The Devil Is a Woman||Gov. Don Paquito 'Paquitito'|
|$10 Raise||Hubert T. Wilkins|
|In Caliente||Harold Brandon|
|Going Highbrow||Augie Winterspoon|
|Top Hat||Horace Hardwick|
|The Private Secretary||Reverend Robert Spalding|
|Little Big Shot||Mortimer|
|His Night Out||Homer B. Bitts|
|Your Uncle Dudley||Dudley Dixon|
|1936||Her Master's Voice||Ned Farrar|
|The Singing Kid||Davenport Rogers|
|Nobody's Fool||Will Wright|
|The Man in the Mirror||Jeremy Dilke|
|Let's Make a Million||Harrison Gentry|
|1937||Lost Horizon||Alexander P. Lovett|
|The King and the Chorus Girl||Count Humbert Evel Bruger|
|Oh, Doctor||Edward J. Billop|
|Shall We Dance||Jeffrey Baird|
|Wild Money||P.E. Dodd|
|Danger – Love at Work||Howard Rogers|
|The Perfect Specimen||Mr. Grattan|
|The Great Garrick||Tubby|
|Hitting a New High||Lucius B. Blynn|
|1938||Bluebeard's Eighth Wife||The Marquis De Loiselle|
|College Swing||Hubert Dash|
|Holiday||Professor Nick Potter|
|Little Tough Guys in Society||Oliver|
|1939||Paris Honeymoon||Ernest Figg|
|The Gang's All Here||Treadwell|
|That's Right—You're Wrong||Tom Village|
|1941||You're the One||Death Valley Joe Frink|
|Ziegfeld Girl||Noble Sage|
|Bachelor Daddy||Joseph Smith|
|Here Comes Mr. Jordan||Messenger 7013|
|Week-End for Three||Stonebraker|
|The Body Disappears||Professor Shotesbury|
|1942||The Magnificent Dope||Horace Hunter|
|I Married an Angel||Peter|
|Springtime in the Rockies||McTavish|
|1943||Forever and a Day||Sir Anthony Trimble-Pomfret|
|Thank Your Lucky Stars||Farnsworth|
|The Gang's All Here||Peyton Potter|
|1944||Her Primitive Man||Orrin|
|Summer Storm||Count 'Piggy' Volsky|
|Arsenic and Old Lace||Mr. Witherspoon|
|San Diego, I Love You||Philip McCooley|
|Brazil||Everett St. John Everett|
|The Town Went Wild||Everett Conway|
|1945||Steppin' in Society||Judge Avery Webster|
|Lady on a Train||Mr. Haskell|
|Faithful in My Fashion||Hiram Dilworthy|
|Earl Carroll Sketchbook||Dr. Milo Edwards|
|1947||The Ghost Goes Wild||Eric|
|Down to Earth||Messenger 7013|
|Her Husband's Affairs||J. B. Cruikshank|
|1955||Max Liebman Presents: The Merry Widow||Baron Zelta||TV movie|
|1956||Saturday Spectacular: Manhattan Tower||Noah||TV movie|
|1957||The Story of Mankind||Sir Walter Raleigh|
|1961||Pocketful of Miracles||Hudgins|
|1963||One Got Fat||Narrator||Short subject|
|It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World||Mr. Dinckler|
|1964||Sex and the Single Girl||The Chief|
|1967||The Perils of Pauline||Caspar Coleman|
|1969||2000 Years Later||Evermore|
|1971||Cold Turkey||Hiram C. Grayson (non-speaking role)||(final film role); released posthumously|
Partial television credits
|1949||The Ford Theatre Hour||Sheridan Whiteside||1 episode|
|1952||I Love Lucy||Mr. Ritter||1 episode|
|1956||General Electric Theater||Mr. Parkinson||1 episode|
|1957||Playhouse 90||Mr. Carver||1 episode|
|1959–1964||The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends||Many Roles||All episodes|
|1960||The Real McCoys||Mr. Medwick||1 episode|
|1962||Mr. Smith Goes to Washington||Senator Crabtree||1 episode|
|1962–1963||Dennis the Menace||Ned Matthews||3 episodes|
|1963||Our Man Higgins||Rawley||"Who's on First?" with Don Drysdale|
|1965||Burke's Law||Wilbur Starlington||1 episode|
|1965–1966||F Troop||Roaring Chicken||6 episodes|
|1966||Batman||Chief Screaming Chicken||episodes 47 and 48|
|1969||It Takes a Thief||Lord Pelham-Gifford||1 episode|
|1970||Nanny and the Professor||Professor Clarendon||1 episode|
|1971||The Governor & J.J.||Doc Simon||2 episodes|
|1952||Musical Comedy Theater||On an Island with You|
- Fowler, James (April 12, 1997). "Horton's House Grew with Film Career". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
- "Actor Edward Everett Horton Dies at 84". Dayton Beach Morning Journal. October 1, 1970.
- "Edward Everett Horton, Jr". Ancestry.com. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
- Bernstein, Neil (2008). "Notable City College Knights". Baltimore, MD: Baltimore City College Alumni Association.
- Keehn, Roy D. (1910). Grand Catalogue of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity (7th ed.). Chicago: Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity. p. 289. OCLC 5469453.
- Edward Everett Horton, interviewed by Bernard Rosenberg and Harry Silverstein in The Real Tinsel, Macmillan, 1970.
- Aliperti, Cliff (December 7, 2011). "Edward Everett Horton – Biography of the Beloved Character Actor". Immortal Ephemera. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
- Desowitz, Bill (August 27, 1999). "Something 'Fractured,' Something New". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
- Wilson, Scott. Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed.: 2 (Kindle Location 22166). McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. Kindle Edition.
- "Edward Everett Horton's Encino Ranch Estate and the 101 Freeway; How A Celebrity Lost His Ranch to Suburbanization". San Fernando Valley Blog. 4 April 2012. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
- Larkin, Colin (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Seventies Music. Virgin, Muze. p. 148. ISBN 0753501546.
- Kirby, Walter (March 16, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 44. Retrieved May 23, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Rosenberg, Bernard, and Silverstein, Harry (1970). "Edward Everett Horton". The Real Tinsel (hardcover) (First ed.). New York: MacMillan. ISBN 978-1199462787.
- Alistair, Rupert (2018). "Edward Everett Horton". The Name Below the Title : 65 Classic Movie Character Actors from Hollywood's Golden Age (softcover) (First ed.). Great Britain: Independently published. pp. 125–128. ISBN 978-1-7200-3837-5.
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