Frank McHugh

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Frank McHugh (born May 23, 1898 in Homestead , Pennsylvania as Francis Curray McHugh ; † September 11, 1981 in Greenwich , Connecticut ) was an American film and stage actor who played mostly comical supporting roles in numerous Hollywood films .


Frank McHugh was born the son of stage actors who owned their own theater company. At the age of ten he played in his parents' plays, often together with his siblings Matt McHugh (1894–1971) and Kitty McHugh (1902–1954). Both became actors as well and had long film careers, albeit not as successfully as their brother Frank. As a young adult, McHugh toured America with various groups and performed in vaudeville pieces. He came to Broadway in the late 1920s , where he appeared in five plays during that time. Like many other theater actors, McHugh came to Hollywood at the beginning of the sound film era. He received a studio contract with Warner Brothers and was one of the busiest and most popular supporting actors there in the 1930s and 1940s. His first film was Start Into The Twilight by Howard Hawks , where he immediately received a good supporting role.

Frank McHugh played for Warner Brothers in all genres, where he was often used as a good-natured, somewhat comical sidekick to the leading actor. His trademark was a slight scream of laughter and his portrayal of drunkards. In the melodrama Journey Without Return from the year McHugh played a friendly pickpocket alongside Kay Francis and William Powell , a role he took up again in the remake Till We Meet Again (1940). He had one of his most striking appearances as a pessimistic choreographer in the Berkeley Musical Parade in the spotlight (1933). In Max Reinhardt's lavish Shakespeare film A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935), he played the carpenter Sequence, who wants to perform a play for the king's wedding with other craftsmen. Occasionally he also played in westerns, for example at the side of Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland as the brave newspaper editor in Lord of the Wild West , who is murdered because of a critical article.

McHugh also gained fame through his longstanding collaboration with James Cagney in eleven films. Both played together in The Roaring Twenties and Im Taumel der Weltstadt . In addition to Cagney, he also worked regularly with Pat O'Brien . McHugh, Cagney, and O'Brien were Irish Americans and good friends in their personal lives. They were members of the "Irish Mafia", a group of friends (which had nothing to do with the Mafia), which included Spencer Tracy , Allen Jenkins and Ralph Bellamy , among others . In 1944, McHugh was seen in the classic film The Way to Happiness as the casual Pastor O'Dowd on the side of Bing Crosby in one of his most famous roles. During the war years he supported the American army as an entertainer. In the late 1940s, McHugh's popularity waned, partly because of his increasing age, but also because fewer films were being made in Hollywood at the time than before.

From the 1950s onwards, McHugh took on numerous guest roles, mainly on emerging television. He played the role of Willie in 27 episodes of the Bing Crosby Show between 1964 and 1965. The better films of his later career include Rhythm in the Blood with Marilyn Monroe and The Last Hurray Beside Spencer Tracy. He played his last film role in 1967 as a ship's captain in the Elvis Presley film Seemann, ahoy! . In total, McHugh completed around 165 film and television appearances by 1969. Frank McHugh was married to Dorothy Spencer (1905-1999) from 1933 until his death. The marriage had three children. He died in 1981 at the age of 83 after a brief illness. He is buried in Fairview Cemetery in West Hartford .

Filmography (selection)

Web links

Commons : Frank McHugh  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Frank McHugh at the New York Public Library
  2. Frank McHugh at the New York Times
  3. ^ Frank McHugh at the New York Public Library
  4. ^ Frank McHugh at the New York Public Library
  5. ^ Obituary in the New York Times
  6. Frank McHugh at Find A Grave