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Eugene Pallette

Eugene Pallette

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Also Known As: Died: September 3, 1954
Born: July 8, 1889 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Winfield, Kansas, USA Profession: Cast ... actor
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BIOGRAPHY

With the transition in Hollywood from silent to talking pictures, audiences most often heard rather than saw Eugene Pallette coming. His once athletic build blown out to rotund proportions and his voice registering an octave lower than a bullfrog's, Pallette was a singular presence among the ranks of studio players during the Great Depression. He found his niche playing irascible big city cops, most famously in five whodunits starring William Powell as debonair sleuth Philo Vance, beginning with "The Canary Murder Case" (1929). Comfortable in the sackcloth of a country cleric, as in "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (1938) opposite Errol Flynn and "The Mark of Zorro" (1940) with Tyrone Power, Pallette was most widely seen in business attire, playing a Beltway fixer stumped by Senate do-gooder James Stewart in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939), and the patriarch of a wacky Depression-era family in the screwball classic "My Man Godfrey" (1936). Larger than life on the big screen, Pallette was no less outsized in his private life, where he allegedly opposed racial integration and was an early champion of Adolf Hitler. Growing fearful of an impending atomic Armageddon, Pallette stockpiled supplies on an Oregon compound but died of cancer in Hollywood in 1954. The memory of his unpalatable politics lost to time, Pallette lived on in the hearts of moviegoers as an indispensable element of Hollywood's Golden Age, a versatile character actor who could speak for the masses or drown out its voice with his own.

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