Charles Ruggles


Actor
Charles Ruggles

About

Also Known As
Charlie Ruggles
Birth Place
Los Angeles, California, USA
Born
February 08, 1886
Died
December 23, 1970
Cause of Death
Cancer

Biography

A much-loved comic talent in film and on television for over five decades, Charles Ruggles sputtered, stumbled and clucked his way through a series of popular turns as meek, easily overwhelmed men in such classic films as "Trouble in Paradise" (1932), "Ruggles of Red Gap" (1935) and "Bringing Up Baby" (1938). Blessed with an expressive face and a voice that rose in register when his char...

Photos & Videos

This Is the Night - Lobby Cards
This Is the Night - Publicity Stills
This Is the Night - Scene Stills

Biography

A much-loved comic talent in film and on television for over five decades, Charles Ruggles sputtered, stumbled and clucked his way through a series of popular turns as meek, easily overwhelmed men in such classic films as "Trouble in Paradise" (1932), "Ruggles of Red Gap" (1935) and "Bringing Up Baby" (1938). Blessed with an expressive face and a voice that rose in register when his characters felt under duress, Ruggles became a scene-stealer of the first order in the late 1930s and early 1940s before stepping away from the cinema to work extensively on stage and in the early days of television. In the latter capacity, he starred on the popular sitcom "The Ruggles" (ABC, 1949-1952) and brought effortless humor as a sage, if still flappable father figure in numerous guest appearances. A welcome presence for film and television audiences for a half-century, Ruggles' comic gifts made him a favorite among classic movie fans and always one of the best elements of any stage or screen production.Born Charles Sherman Ruggles in Los Angeles on Feb. 6, 1886, he was the eldest of two sons by pharmaceutical salesman Charles Herman Ruggles and his wife, Maria. His younger brother, Wesley Ruggles, would also go on to enjoy a career in Hollywood, working briefly as an actor in silent films before moving into producing and directing such features as the Oscar-winning "Cimarron" (1931). The Ruggles brothers' early lives were marked by considerable tragedy: relatives raised the boys in San Francisco after the murder of their mother, who had attempted to protect her husband from an armed assailant. After high school, Charles Ruggles worked briefly for his father's pharmaceutical sales company, but found greater satisfaction as a stage actor. After his debut in 1905, he worked steadily as an itinerant performer with various stock companies before making his debut on Broadway in Help Wanted (1914).The following year, he earned his first screen role in a now-lost film version of "Peer Gynt" (1915), which preceded a sporadic string of feature appearances that stretched into the "talkie" years. Stage, however, remained his primary showcase during this period, with such long-running hits as "Battling Butler" and "Queen High" among the highlights of his career. His first appearance in a talking picture came with 1929's "Gentleman of the Press," which cast him as a comic alcoholic reporter. The role would become a staple of his repertoire, but he was best known for his turns as an easily flustered Everyman, who expressed his exasperation with modern life through fluttery-voiced exclamations ("Oh, my my my "). In this capacity, he gave memorable turns in a trio of fine comedies for Ernst Lubitsch, including "Trouble in Paradise" (1932) and "If I Had a Million" (1932). Occasionally, his characters came apart in spectacular fashion, as evidenced by his show-stopping turn as a henpecked husband in Leo McCarey's "Six of a Kind" (1933), which Ruggles slyly stole from such established stars as W.C. Fields and George Burns. In that picture, as well as several others, including "Ruggles of Red Gap" (1935), he was paired with actress Mary Boland, who played the domineering bĂȘte noire to his milquetoast husband.By the late 1930s, Ruggles was among moviegoers' favorite comic character actors, thanks to turns like the befuddled big-game hunter Major Horace Applegate in Howard Hawks' sparkling classic "Bringing Up Baby" (1938). He eventually moved into leads in comedies in the early 1940s, including "Friendly Enemies" (1942), in which he and Charles Winniger played Americanized German businessmen whose loyalties are divided between their homeland and their adopted countries. But he was best used in supporting turns, which soon included dramatic roles in features like "A Stolen Life" (1946), as Bette Davis' supportive cousin.Ruggles broke from feature films in 1949 to return to the stage, where he won a Tony Award a decade later for "The Pleasure of His Company" (1959). He also found success in the then-fledgling medium of television, starring in one of the first family sitcoms, "The Ruggles." Playing office manager "Charlie Ruggles," he presided over a large brood of energetic children in the sitcom, which was among the first to be filmed live in Los Angeles rather than New York City. He later played a friendly general store owner who dispensed advice to his customers on "The World of Mr. Sweeney" (1954-55), which aired live four nights a week on NBC. Following its demise, he went uncredited as the voice of Aesop in the "Aesop and Son" segment of "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show" (ABC/NBC, 1959-1964).Ruggles returned to feature films in the early 1960s, where, billed frequently as "Charlie Ruggles," he reprised his turn as the worldly-wise Mackenzie Savage in the film version of "The Pleasure Of His Company" (1961). He would continue to essay charming, grandfatherly types in a variety of light comedies, most notably "The Parent Trap" (1961) and "Follow Me, Boys!" (1966), while still maintaining a steady stream of television appearances. The most notable of these were as Lowell Farquhar, father of Mrs. Drysdale and unwilling love object of Granny (Irene Ryan) on "The Beverly Hillbillies" (CBS, 1962-1971) and as the warlock Hedley Partridge, who wooed Marion Lorne's Aunt Clara on "Bewitched" (ABC, 1964-1972). Ruggles died of cancer at his home in Hollywood on Dec. 23, 1970.

By Paul Gaita

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

The Ugly Dachshund (1966)
Dr. Pruitt
Follow Me, Boys! (1966)
John Everett Hughes
I'd Rather Be Rich (1964)
Dr. Charles Crandall
Son of Flubber (1963)
Judge Murdock
Papa's Delicate Condition (1963)
Grandpa Anthony Ghio
The Pleasure of His Company (1961)
Mackenzie Savage
All in a Night's Work (1961)
Dr. Warren Kingsley, Sr.
The Parent Trap (1961)
Charles McKendrick
The Lovable Cheat (1949)
Claude Mercadet
Look for the Silver Lining (1949)
Caro "Pop" Miller
Give My Regards to Broadway (1948)
Toby Helper
Ramrod (1947)
Ben Dickason
It Happened on 5th Avenue (1947)
Michael J. O'Connor
The Perfect Marriage (1947)
Dale Williams, Sr.
My Brother Talks to Horses (1947)
Richard Pennington Roeder
Gallant Journey (1946)
Jim Montgomery
A Stolen Life (1946)
Freddie
Bedside Manner (1945)
Dr. J. H. "Doc" Fredericks
Incendiary Blonde (1945)
Cherokee Jim
The Doughgirls (1944)
Stanley Slade
3 Is a Family (1944)
Sam Whitaker
Our Hearts Were Young and Gay (1944)
Mr. Otis Skinner
Dixie Dugan (1943)
Timothy Dugan
Friendly Enemies (1942)
Henry Block
The Parson of Panamint (1941)
Chuckawalla Bill Redfield
The Perfect Snob (1941)
Dr. [Edgar] Mason
Honeymoon for Three (1941)
Harvey Wilson
Model Wife (1941)
Mr. Milo Everett
Go West, Young Lady (1941)
Jim Pendergast
Elsa Maxwell's Public Deb No. 1 (1940)
Milburn [Cooper]
Maryland (1940)
Dick Piper
The Farmer's Daughter (1940)
Nickie North
Opened by Mistake (1940)
Buzz Nelson
The Invisible Woman (1940)
George
No Time for Comedy (1940)
Philo Swift
Night Work (1939)
Homer C. Fitch, the father
Sudden Money (1939)
Sweeney [J.] Patterson
Boy Trouble (1939)
Homer C. Fitch
Invitation to Happiness (1939)
Pop Hardy
Balalaika (1939)
Nicki
His Exciting Night (1938)
Adam Tripp
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
Major [Horace] Applegate
Service De Luxe (1938)
Scott Robinson
Breaking the Ice (1938)
Samuel ["Swapping Sam"] Terwilliger
Turn Off the Moon (1937)
[J.] Elliott Dinwiddy
Exclusive (1937)
Tod Swain
Early to Bed (1936)
Chester Beatty
Mind Your Own Business (1936)
Orville Shanks
Wives Never Know (1936)
Homer Bigelow
Anything Goes (1936)
Rev. Dr. Moon [also known as "Moonface Martin"]
Hearts Divided (1936)
Henry
People Will Talk (1935)
Henry Wilton
Ruggles of Red Gap (1935)
Egbert ["Sourdough"] Floud
No More Ladies (1935)
Edgar [Holden]
The Big Broadcast of 1936 (1935)
Melody in Spring (1934)
Warren Blodgett
Murder in the Private Car (1934)
[Godfrey D.] Scott
Friends of Mr. Sweeney (1934)
Asaph [Holiday]
The Pursuit of Happiness (1934)
Aaron Kirkland
Six of a Kind (1934)
J. Pinkham Whinney
Terror Aboard (1933)
Blackie [Witherspoon]
Girl Without a Room (1933)
[Vergil] Crock
Murders in the Zoo (1933)
Peter Yates
Melody Cruise (1933)
Pete Wells
Mama Loves Papa (1933)
Wilbur Todd
Goodbye Love (1933)
Groggs
Alice in Wonderland (1933)
March Hare
If I Had a Million (1932)
Henry Peabody
This Is the Night (1932)
Bunny West
Love Me Tonight (1932)
Vicomte Gilbert de Vareze
Evenings for Sale (1932)
Bimpfl
The Night of June 13 (1932)
Philo Strawn
Madame Butterfly (1932)
Lieutenant Barton
70,000 Witnesses (1932)
Johnny Moran
Trouble in Paradise (1932)
The Major
This Reckless Age (1932)
Goliath Whitney
One Hour with You (1932)
Adolph
Make Me a Star (1932)
Husband's Holiday (1931)
Clyde Saunders
The Smiling Lieutenant (1931)
Max
Honor Among Lovers (1931)
Monty Dunn
The Beloved Bachelor (1931)
Jerry Wells
The Girl Habit (1931)
Charlie Floyd
Her Wedding Night (1930)
Bertie Bird
Young Man of Manhattan (1930)
Shorty Ross
Queen High (1930)
T. Boggs Johns
Charley's Aunt (1930)
Lord Fancourt Babberly
Roadhouse Nights (1930)
Willie Bindbugel
Gentlemen of the Press (1929)
Charlie Haven
The Lady Lies (1929)
Charlie Tyler
The Battle of Paris (1929)
Zizi
The Heart Raider (1923)
Gaspard McMahon, an insurance clerk
The Reform Candidate (1915)
"Loony Jim"
The Majesty of the Law (1915)
Lawrence Evans
Peer Gynt (1915)
The Button Moulder

Cast (Special)

The Old Man and the City (1963)
Judge Fairbrother
A Date with Debbie (1960)
Guest
Once Upon a Christmas Time (1959)
Mayor
The Bells of St. Mary's (1959)
Horace Bogardus

Cast (Short)

The Road to Victory (1944)
Hollywood Handicap (1938)
Himself

Life Events

Photo Collections

This Is the Night - Lobby Cards
Here are several lobby cards from Paramount's This Is the Night (1932), starring Lily Damita, Roland Young, Cary Grant, Charles Ruggles, and Thelma Todd. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
This Is the Night - Publicity Stills
Here are a few publicity stills from Paramount's This is the Night (1932), starring Lily Damita, Roland Young, Charlie Ruggles, Cary Grant, and Thelma Todd. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
This Is the Night - Scene Stills
Here are a few scene stills from Paramount's This is the Night (1932), starring Lily Damita, Roland Young, Charlie Ruggles, Cary Grant, and Thelma Todd.
Ruggles of Red Gap - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Paramount's Ruggles of Red Gap (1935), starring Charles Laughton, Mary Boland, and Charlie Ruggles. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Murders in the Zoo - Movie Poster
Here is the Window Card from Paramount's Murders in the Zoo (1933), starring Lionel Atwill, Charlie Ruggles, Kathleen Burke, and John Lodge. Window Cards were 14x22 mini posters designed to be placed in store windows around town during a film's engagement. A blank space at the top of the poster featured theater and playdate information.
Murders in the Zoo - Publicity Stills
Here are a few photos taken to help publicize Paramount's Murders in the Zoo (1933), starring Lionel Atwill, Charlie Ruggles, Kathleen Burke, Randolph Scott, and Gail Patrick. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Murders in the Zoo - Scene Stills
Here are some scene stills from Paramount's Murders in the Zoo (1933), starring Lionel Atwill, Charlie Ruggles, Kathleen Burke, Randolph Scott, and Gail Patrick.
Murders in the Zoo - Lobby Cards
Here are a few lobby cards from Paramount's Murders in the Zoo (1933), starring Lionel Atwill, Charlie Ruggles, Kathleen Burke, and John Lodge. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.

Videos

Movie Clip

Balalaika (1939) - Tanya With grumbling from her brother and father (Dalies Frantz, Lionel Atwill), both musicians and secret anti-Czarist revolutionaries, Hungarian-born Ilona Massey’s first song (an original by Bob Wright and Chet Forrest for MGM) in her first starring role as singer Lydia, in a Petersburg cabaret, in Balalaika, 1939, also starring Nelson Eddy.
Balalaika (1939) - Song Of The Volga Boatmen Posing as a student to gain access to Ilona Massey and her revolutionary friends and family, well-meaning Czarist prince Peter (Nelson Eddy) offers the traditional Russian song, with support from Dalies Frantz (on piano), Lionel Atwill, Abner Biberman et al, in MGM’s Balalaika, 1939.
Trouble In Paradise (1932) - Madame Colet The eminent Madame Mariette Colet (Kay Francis) departs a board meeting, shops and rejects two suitors (Edward Everett Horton and Charlie Ruggles) in Ernst Lubitsch's Trouble in Paradise, 1932.
Ruggles Of Red Gap (1935) - One Of Those Indian Places Beginning with nouveau-riche Americans Egbert (Charlie Ruggles) and Effie (Mary Boland), discussing Charles Laughton (title character,) a valet, about to be informed by his employer the Earl (Roland Young) that he's been lost in a card game, early in Leo McCarey's Ruggles Of Red Gap< 1935.
Ruggles Of Red Gap (1935) - That Ruthless Reality In Paris, English valet Ruggles (Charles Laughton) tries to keep up as his new American employer Floud (Charlie Ruggles) ditches his wife's cultural instructions and trashes social barriers, in Leo McCarey's Ruggles Of Red Gap, 1935.
Parent Trap, The (1961) - Welcome Home, Sharon! Hayley Mills (as Susan, pretending to be her twin Sharon) meets mother Maggie (Maureen O'Hara) and grandparents (Charlie Ruggles and Cathleen Nesbitt) for the first time in Walt Disney's The Parent Trap, 1961.
Ruggles Of Red Gap (1935) - The Gentleman's Present Condition His first day with his new American employers shopping in Paris, Charles Laughton (title character) mediates between Egbert (Charlie Ruggles) and Effie (Mary Boland) Floud, and a snooty salesman (Armand Kaliz), in Leo McCarey's Ruggles Of Red Gap, 1935.
Gallant Journey (1946) - No Pantywaist Geezer Jim (Charlie Ruggles) regales local youth about little known California aviation pioneer John J. Montgomery (Glenn Ford, introduced in flashback), also smitten Regina (Janet Blair) and crusty dad (Willard Robertson), in William A. Wellman's bio-pic Gallant Journey, 1946.
Smiling Lieutenant, The (1931) - Just Picture Your Wife Married soldier Max (Charlie Ruggles) brings colleague Niki (Maurice Chevalier) to the Vienna biergarten where he's fallen for pretty violinist Franzi (Claudette Colbert) early in Ernst Lubitsch's The Smiling Lieutenant, 1931.
Love Me Tonight (1932) - Vicomte De Vareze Tailor Maurice (Maurice Chevalier) with friend Emile (Bert Roach), explaining about his new client the Vicomte (Charlie Ruggles) who unexpectedly arrives, early in Rouben Mamoulian's Love Me Tonight, 1932.
Love Me Tonight (1932) - Good Homes For Bad Stenographers Meeting the family at the estate, the Duke (C. Aubrey Smith), and his niece Countess Valentine (Myrna Loy), whose cousin the impecunious Vicomte (Charlie Ruggles) then arrives, in Rouben Mamoulian's Love Me Tonight, 1932.
Love Me Tonight (1932) - Give Me Two Hours Tailor Maurice (Chevalier), still posing as a nobleman, helps undress his new love Princess Jeanette (MacDonald), the household (Ethel Wales, C. Aubrey Smith, Charlie Ruggles, Charles Butterworth et al) erupting, in Rouben Mamoulian's Love Me Tonight. 1932.

Trailer

Ruggles Of Red Gap - (Re-issue trailer) A British valet (Charles Laughton) must adapt to the Wild West when he is won in a poker game in Ruggles Of Red Gap (1935).
Friends of Mr. Sweeney, The - (Original Trailer) When an editorial writer opposes his boss he finds himself with strange bedfellows in the comedy The Friends of Mr. Sweeney (1934).
Bringing Up Baby - (Re-issue Trailer) A madcap heiress (Katharine Hepburn) upsets the staid existence of a straitlaced scientist (Cary Grant) in Howard Hawks' classic screwball comedy, Bringing Up Baby (1938).
Alice in Wonderland (1933) - (Original Trailer) A trip through the looking glass and down a rabbit hole sends an English girl into a world of fantastic characters and strange potions in Alice in Wonderland (1933).
My Brother Talks To Horses - (Original Trailer) A small boy's secret gifts help him pick racetrack winners in the family comedy My Brother Talks To Horses (1946).
Murder In The Private Car - (Original Trailer) A speeding train becomes the setting for murder in Murder In The Private Car (1934) starring Charles Ruggles.
No Time for Comedy - (Re-issue Trailer) A wealthy culture vulture tries to steal a playwright from his actress wife in No Time for Comedy (1940) starring James Stewart.
Honeymoon For Three - (Original Trailer) Novelist George Brent pretends to be married to hold his fans at bay in Honeymoon For Three (1941).
Balalaika - (Original Trailer) Refugees from the Russian Revolution build a new life in Paris in Balalaika (1939) starring Nelson Eddy and Ilona Massey.

Family

Wesley Ruggles
Brother
Director.

Bibliography