skip navigation
Clifton Webb

Clifton Webb

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (2)

Recent DVDs

 
 

The Razor's Edge DVD Tyrone Power and Gene Tierney bring renowned novelist W. Somerset Maugham's... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

The Dark Corner DVD Film noir, a classic film style of the '40s and '50s, is noted for its dark... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Three Coins In The Fountain... Academy Award Winner 1954Three American women (played by Dorothy McGuire, Jean... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Titanic (1953) DVD Studio ClassicsDetermined to remove her family from the superficial, high... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

The Man Who Never Was DVD Brilliant Espionage Helps Win WWIIClifton Webb stars in this fascinating account... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Cheaper By The Dozen (1950) / Cheaper By... Get more laughs for your buck in this 2-disc collection bringing together two... more info $19.98was $19.98 Buy Now

Also Known As: Webb Parmallee Hollenbeck Died: October 13, 1966
Born: November 19, 1891 Cause of Death: heart attack
Birth Place: Indianapolis, Indiana, USA Profession: actor, dancer, singer, artist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

With his trademark pencil mustache and attitude of thinly-veiled disdain, Clifton Webb was a blast of asexual sophistication during Hollywood's testosterone-fueled postwar epoch. A ballroom dancer and stage actor who contributed appearances to some silent and early sound films, Webb made a belated return to cinema with an Oscar-nominated performance in Otto Preminger's "Laura" (1944), as acidic murder suspect Waldo Lydecker. Character and actor were so well-matched that Webb would go on to play a string of similarly supercilious supporting and principal characters in a film career as brilliant as it was brief. Effete to the extreme, he was nonetheless an imposing screen presence whose haughty mien could overshadow such manly leads as William Holden, Dana Andrews, Alan Ladd and Tyrone Power while stealing focus from the luscious likes of Gene Tierney, Ginger Rogers, Lauren Bacall and Sophia Loren. The actor's barely concealed homosexuality precluded him from playing many Hollywood husbands, but he proved a surprisingly persuasive paterfamilias, most notably in the family comedy "Cheaper by the Dozen" (1950) and in the proto disaster flick "Titanic" (1953), in which Webb and onscreen wife Barbara...

With his trademark pencil mustache and attitude of thinly-veiled disdain, Clifton Webb was a blast of asexual sophistication during Hollywood's testosterone-fueled postwar epoch. A ballroom dancer and stage actor who contributed appearances to some silent and early sound films, Webb made a belated return to cinema with an Oscar-nominated performance in Otto Preminger's "Laura" (1944), as acidic murder suspect Waldo Lydecker. Character and actor were so well-matched that Webb would go on to play a string of similarly supercilious supporting and principal characters in a film career as brilliant as it was brief. Effete to the extreme, he was nonetheless an imposing screen presence whose haughty mien could overshadow such manly leads as William Holden, Dana Andrews, Alan Ladd and Tyrone Power while stealing focus from the luscious likes of Gene Tierney, Ginger Rogers, Lauren Bacall and Sophia Loren. The actor's barely concealed homosexuality precluded him from playing many Hollywood husbands, but he proved a surprisingly persuasive paterfamilias, most notably in the family comedy "Cheaper by the Dozen" (1950) and in the proto disaster flick "Titanic" (1953), in which Webb and onscreen wife Barbara Stanwyck put aside their differences in a desperate bid to save their children from death at sea. Long devoted to his aging mother, with whom he lived and who passed away in 1960, Webb retired from acting in 1962. His death in 1966 robbed Hollywood of one of its most unforgettable characters, both on and offscreen.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Satan Never Sleeps (1962) Father Bovard
2.
 The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker (1959) Pa Horace Pennypacker
3.
 Holiday for Lovers (1959) Robert Dean
4.
 Boy on a Dolphin (1957) Victor Parmalee
5.
 The Man Who Never Was (1956) Lt. Cmdr. Ewen Montagu
6.
 Three Coins in the Fountain (1954) John Frederick Shadwell
7.
 Woman's World (1954) Ernest K. Gifford
8.
 Mister Scoutmaster (1953) Robert Jordan
9.
 Titanic (1953) Richard Ward Sturgess
10.
 Dreamboat (1952) Thornton Sayre, formerly known as Bruce Blair and "Dreamboat"
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1900:
Made formal theatrical debut as "Cholly" in "The Brownies" at Carnegie Hall
:
Gave first one-man art show at age 14
1911:
Made operatic debut in "Mignon" at the Back Bay Opera House in Boston
1912:
Performed with the Aborn Opera Company in "Madama Butterfly" and "Hansel and Gretel"
1913:
Made operetta debut in "The Purple Road" in New York
:
Teamed with Bonnie Glass in a dancing act while he also taught dancing privately at the Webb Dance Studio; later teamed with Jenny Dolly and Mae Murray as ballroom dancer
1917:
Musical comedy debut, ""Love O'Mike"
:
Dramatic stage debut, "Meet the Wife" opposite Mary Boland
1920:
Film acting debut, "Polly With a Past"
:
Appeared on Broadway opposite Marilyn Miller in "Sunny", Beatrice Lillie in "She's My Baby" and Gertrude Lawrence in "Treasure Girl
1936:
Signed by MGM at weekly salary of $3,000; stayed 18-months without making a picture
:
Returned to stage
1942:
While touring in Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit" called to Hollywood to star in "Laura"
1944:
"Laura" is made, and Webb becomes an unexpected movie star
1950:
Made motion picture exhibitors' poll of top ten boxoffice stars; placed 7th
1961:
Retired due to ill health
1963:
Underwent abdominal surgery
1966:
Was operated on to remove intestinal blockage in May
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

"Mr. Webb, whose theatrical career spanned more than half a century, was known for his impeccable diction and his elegant taste in clothes. He was credited with having introduced into the American man's wardrobe such items as the white messcoat dinner jacket, the double-breasted vest and the red carnation boutonniere."--"New York Times" obituary, October 15, 1966

"Off-screen, Webb was no less a fascinating character, madly devoted to his mother Maybelle with whom he traveled everywhere, and in the best social circles (later drawing some parallels to the Violet and Sebastian characters drawn by Tennessee Williams in 'Suddenly, Last Summer'.) They were by all odds the closest mother-and-son act in show business, so much so that when Maybelle died in 1960, Webb--then nearly--70--moped so long and frantically, Noel Coward began referring to him as 'the world's oldest living orphan.'"--Robert Osborne ("Hollywood Reporter", November 19, 1991)

Family close complete family listing

mother:
Maybelle Hollenbeck. Died in 1960 at age 90; reportedly left her husband when Webb was three to pursue show business career; served as secretary and mananger of the Webb Dance Studio in the 1910s.

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute