Edward Everett Horton (March 18, 1886 – September 29, 1970) was an American character actor. He had a long career in film, theater, radio, television and voice work for animated cartoons. He is especially known for his work in the films of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
Horton was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Isabella S. Diack and Edward Everett Horton. His mother was born in Matanzas, Cuba to Mary Orr and George Diack, immigrants from Scotland. Many sources state that Edward Everett Horton's grandfather and namesake was Edward Everett Hale, author of The Man Without a Country. Horton attended the Boys' High School, Brooklyn, and Baltimore City College high school in Baltimore, Maryland, where he was inducted into that school's Hall of Fame. He attended college at Brooklyn Polytechnic and Columbia University, where he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity.
Stage and film career
Horton started 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, and started getting roles in Hollywood films. His first starring role was in the 1922 comedy film Too Much Business, and he portrayed the lead role of an idealistic young classical composer in Beggar on Horseback in 1925. In the late 1920s he starred in two-reel silent comedies for Educational Pictures, and made the transition to talking pictures with Educational in 1929. As a stage trained performer, he found more movie work easily, and appeared in some of Warner Bros.' early talkies, including The Hottentot and Sonny Boy. His distinctive voice was one of his trademarks.
Horton originally went under his given name, Edward Horton. His father persuaded him to adopt his full name professionally, reasoning that there might be other actors named Edward Horton, but only one named Edward Everett Horton.
Horton's screen character was instantly defined from his earliest talkies: pleasant and dignified, but politely hesitant when faced with a potentially embarrassing situation. Horton soon cultivated his own special variation of the time-honored double take (an actor's reaction to something, followed by a delayed, more extreme reaction). In Horton's version, he would smile ingratiatingly and nod 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 as a character actor in supporting roles. Some of his noteworthy films include The Front Page (1931), Trouble in Paradise (1932), Alice in Wonderland (1933), The Gay Divorcee (1934), Top Hat (1935, one of several Astaire/Rogers films in which Horton appeared), Danger - Love at Work (1937), Lost Horizon (1937), Holiday (1938), Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), Pocketful of Miracles (1961), and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963). He last appeared in a non-speaking role in Cold Turkey (1971).
Horton continued to appear in stage productions, often in summer stock. His performance in the play Springtime for Henry became a perennial in summer theaters.
Horton figures in some biographies of author F. Scott Fitzgerald, as Fitzgerald lived in a cottage on Horton's estate for a time in the late 1930s.
Radio and television
From 1945 to 1947, Horton hosted radio's Kraft Music Hall. During the 1950s, Horton worked in television. One of his most famous appearances is an I Love Lucy episode, where he is cast against type as a frisky, amorous suitor. (Horton, a last-minute replacement for another actor, received a special, appreciative credit in this episode.) Beginning in 1959 he narrated the "Fractured Fairy Tales" segment of the Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoon show. In 1965 he played the medicine man, Roaring Chicken, in the sitcom F Troop. He parodied this role, portraying "Chief Screaming Chicken" on Batman as a pawn to Vincent Price's Egghead in the villain's attempt to take control of Gotham City.
Shortly after he died, the city of Los Angeles renamed a portion of Amestoy Avenue, the dead-end street where he lived in the district of Encino, "Edward Everett Horton Lane". For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Edward Everett Horton has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6427 Hollywood Boulevard.
|1923||Ruggles of Red Gap||Ruggles||Credited as Edward Horton|
|1929||Ask Dad||Dad||Short film|
|Sonny Boy||Crandall Thorpe|
|The Aviator||Robert Steele|
|1931||Kiss Me Again||René||Alternative title: Toast of the Legion|
|The Front Page||Roy V. Bensinger|
|1932||Trouble in Paradise||François Filiba|
|1933||A Bedtime Story||Victor Dubois|
|Alice in Wonderland||The Mad Hatter|
|Design for Living||Max Plunkett|
|1934||Kiss and Make-Up||Marcel Caron|
|Ladies Should Listen||Paul Vernet|
|The Merry Widow||Ambassador Popoff|
|The Gay Divorcee||Egbert Fitzgerald|
|1935||The Private Secretary||Reverend Robert Spalding|
|The Devil Is a Woman||Governor Don "Paquitito" Paquito|
|In Caliente||Harold Brandon|
|Top Hat||Horace Hardwick|
|1936||Man in the Mirror||Jeremy Dilke|
|1937||Lost Horizon||Alexander P. Lovett|
|Shall We Dance||Jeffrey Baird|
|Danger - Love at Work||Howard Rogers|
|The Great Garrick||Tubby|
|1938||Bluebeard's Eighth Wife||The Marquis De Loiselle|
|College Swing||Hubert Dash|
|Holiday||Professor Nick Potter|
|1939||That’s Right You’re Wrong||Tom Village|
|1941||Ziegfeld Girl||Noble Sage|
|Here Comes Mr. Jordan||Messenger 7013|
|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||Arsenic and Old Lace||Mr. Witherspoon|
|Brazil||Everett St. John Everett|
|The Town Went Wild||Everett Conway|
|1945||Lady on a Train||Mr. Haskell|
|1947||Down to Earth||Messenger 7013|
|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||Cameo as Mr. Dinckler|
|1964||Sex and the Single Girl||The Chief|
|1967||The Perils of Pauline||Caspar Coleman|
|1971||Cold Turkey||Hiram C. Grayson (non-speaking role)||Released posthumously|
|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|
|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|
|1965-1966||F Troop||Roaring Chicken||6 episodes|
|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|
- Obituary Variety, October 7, 1970, page 55.
- Bernstein, Neil (2008). "Notable City College Knights". Baltimore: Baltimore City College Alumni Association.
|40x40px||Wikimedia Commons has media related to Edward Everett Horton.|
- REDIRECT Template:IMDb name
- Edward Everett Horton at the TCM Movie Database
- Edward Everett Horton on SilentMajority.com
- Edward Everett Horton at Find a Grave