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Paul Douglas

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Also Known As: Died: September 11, 1959
Born: April 11, 1907 Cause of Death: heart attack
Birth Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA Profession: actor, football player, news commentator, radio sportscaster

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Gruff, gravelly-voiced former professional football player and successful radio sportscaster and news announcer who, though he made his Broadway stage debut in 1935, only won notice when he electrified Broadway with his comic portrayal of Harry Brock, an overbearing, uncouth junk tycoon who gets his well-deserved comeuppance in the long-running 1946 comedy hit, "Born Yesterday". Turning down the plum role in the 1950 film version (which proved film heavy Broderick Crawford to be an equally deft comic performer), Douglas nonetheless signed with 20th Century-Fox and made an impressive film debut in Joseph Mankiewicz's "A Letter to Three Wives" (1948), once again playing a big, blustering, slightly doltish tycoon. Although he did not enter films until the age of forty-one and his onscreen career lasted only eleven years until his death from a heart attack at age 52, the bulky, middle-aged actor became an unlikely, down-to-earth lead in both comedies and even romantic dramas throughout the 1950s. Frequently typecast as slightly dim-witted authority figures or gruff gorillas, Douglas often revealed an appealing vulnerability under the rough exterior; he gave a sensitive performance as the naive fisherman...

Gruff, gravelly-voiced former professional football player and successful radio sportscaster and news announcer who, though he made his Broadway stage debut in 1935, only won notice when he electrified Broadway with his comic portrayal of Harry Brock, an overbearing, uncouth junk tycoon who gets his well-deserved comeuppance in the long-running 1946 comedy hit, "Born Yesterday". Turning down the plum role in the 1950 film version (which proved film heavy Broderick Crawford to be an equally deft comic performer), Douglas nonetheless signed with 20th Century-Fox and made an impressive film debut in Joseph Mankiewicz's "A Letter to Three Wives" (1948), once again playing a big, blustering, slightly doltish tycoon.

Although he did not enter films until the age of forty-one and his onscreen career lasted only eleven years until his death from a heart attack at age 52, the bulky, middle-aged actor became an unlikely, down-to-earth lead in both comedies and even romantic dramas throughout the 1950s. Frequently typecast as slightly dim-witted authority figures or gruff gorillas, Douglas often revealed an appealing vulnerability under the rough exterior; he gave a sensitive performance as the naive fisherman husband of Barbara Stanwyck in "Clash by Night" (1952), parried enjoyably with Ginger Rogers in "Forever Female" (1953), and reteamed with "Born Yesterday" co-star Judy Holliday as another deflated, cantankerous businessman in the comedy vehicle "The Solid Gold Cadillac" (1956). The last two of Douglas's five wives were the actresses Virginia Field and Jan Sterling.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Briefly became a professional football player with Philadelphia team, the Frankford Yellow Jackets after college
:
Acted with stock companies around the country
1935:
Broadway acting debut in "Double Dummy" (ran 21 performances)
:
Became one of the country's leading sports announcers; also worked as news commentator
:
Turned to comedy on the radio, working on the Jack Benny and the George Burns and Gracie Allen shows
:
Starred in his own sports series for Fox-Movietone News, "Paul Douglas's Sports Review" in the 1940s
1946:
Starred in over 1000 performances of one of Broadway's longest-running comedies, "Born Yesterday"
1948:
Film acting debut, "A Letter to Three Wives"
1957:
Starred on Broadway in "A Hole in the Head"
1959:
Last performance, on "The Mighty Casey" TV drama produced by Rod Serling
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Yale University: New Haven , Connecticut -

Notes

Analyzing his popularity with film audiences, Douglas once explained: "The public's so relieved to see somebody besides a junior Adonis in the boy-meets-girl set-up they give me a cheer. Guys look at me and say, 'If that mug can win a gal, it's a cinch for me.' Gals look at me and thank God for the guy they're with." --quoted in his obituary in The New York Times, September 12, 1959.

"Mr. Douglas once said that he had an Adam's apple that would kill the sale of collars, a nose that looked as if it had been left over from a bargain sale and the build of one of those post offices that were constructed during the depression days of the Nineteen Thirties. The studio camera man, he told an interviewer, enjoyed working with him. ... 'because he doesn't have to worry about my bad angle--they're all bad. He doesn't have to fuss with the lights or anything, because nothing he could do could make me look better. I'm a cinch for the makep-up men too. They figure nothing can be done, so that's what they do.'" --quoted in his obituary in The New York Times, September 12, 1959.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Elizabeth Farnsworth. Divorced.
wife:
Geraldine Higgins. Divorced.
wife:
Virginia Field. Actor. Divorced.
wife:
Jan Sterling. Actor. Fifth wife; married from 1950 to his death.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

daughter:
Margaret Douglas. Born c. 1944; mother, Virginia Field.
son:
Adams Douglas. Born c. 1956; mother, Jan Sterling.

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