Andy Devine


Actor
Andy Devine

About

Also Known As
Jeremiah Schwartz
Birth Place
Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
Born
October 07, 1905
Died
February 18, 1977

Biography

A much-loved character actor from the silent era through the early 1970s, Andy Devine provided garrulous comic support to stars ranging from John Wayne to Roy Rogers in hundreds of films and television series, including "Stagecoach" (1939), "Island in the Sky" (1953), "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" (1962) and countless others. But it was his work on serial later TV Westerns that brou...

Photos & Videos

Two Rode Together - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
How the West Was Won - Program Book
Never a Dull Moment - Scene Stills

Notes

Elected honorary Mayor of Van Nuys, California

Biography

A much-loved character actor from the silent era through the early 1970s, Andy Devine provided garrulous comic support to stars ranging from John Wayne to Roy Rogers in hundreds of films and television series, including "Stagecoach" (1939), "Island in the Sky" (1953), "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" (1962) and countless others. But it was his work on serial later TV Westerns that brought him his enduring fame, especially to younger viewers, who delighted in hearing Devine's creaky, broken-calliope voice warn Guy Madison's Wild Bill Hickok about impending danger. His currency among children was later doubled when he served as host of "Andy's Gang" (ABC, 1955-1960), a gentle if offbeat mix of storytelling, puppets and Devine's folksy axioms. As a result, he remained as popular in his sixties as he had as a young man playing comic hayseeds in the 1930s and 1940s, enjoying plum roles in "Valance" and "How the West Was Won" (1963), as well as on countless episodic television shows. Though he slowed his screen efforts in the 1960s, Devine was active on screen until the mid-1970s, lending his distinctive voice to animated features, including Disney's "Robin Hood" (1973) until his death in 1977. His status as a beloved comic player and rough-hewn but gentle father figure virtually canonized Devine for generations of movie and TV audiences.

Born Andrew Vabre Devine in Flagstaff, AZ on Oct. 7, 1905, he was the son of Thomas Devine, Jr., a former railway worker-turned-county treasurer and community planner, and his wife, Amy, a former teacher. Their son was, by most accounts, a mischievous if good-natured boy with a knack for surviving mishaps that would have left most children gravely injured. His distinctive wheezing vocals were reportedly the end result of one such accident; according to various sources, including Devine himself, he had injured his throat while running or jumping on a bed with a curtain rod in his mouth, which pierced the back of his throat. Left speechless for several years, he eventually regained his voice, albeit with a creaky break when it escalated in volume. The story, however, was one attributed to Devine's voice, none of which were ever substantiated.

Devine attended a variety of colleges before settling at Santa Clara University, where he was a star football player. He also allegedly played professional football under the name "Jeremiah Schwartz," but acting was his ultimate ambition. He moved to Hollywood in the late 1920s, working for a period as a lifeguard at Venice Beach before landing uncredited bit roles in silent shorts. His football background earned him his first substantial role in "The Spirit of Notre Dame" (1931), a college sports drama with Devine as an ersatz George Gipp, the famed "Gipper" and player under Coach Knute Rockne whose illness spurred his teammates to victory. Initially, Devine was concerned that his voice would prevent him from landing more roles in talking films, but it turned out to be his greatest asset, lending a vulnerable quality to his bearish frame that rendered him immensely likable.

He worked steadily throughout the 1930s, largely as humorous bucolic support in Western adventures and comedies. Despite his typecasting, he proved remarkably versatile. He was Edna May Oliver's nurse in the 1936 version of "Romeo and Juliet," and introduced Janet Gaynor's aspiring actress to faded star Fredric March in the original "A Star is Born" (1937). Most audiences, however, remembered him best as the jittery stage driver, Buck, in John Ford's classic "Stagecoach" (1939), a role which he would repeat, in various permutations, throughout his career. In addition to his screen career, Devine was a popular performer on radio, most notably on Jack Benny's program, where he appeared in the recurring "Buck Benny Rides Again" sketches. Devine worked steadily throughout the 1940s, providing solid comic support in B-Westerns and costume dramas opposite the likes of Randolph Scott and Jon Hall. In 1946, he replaced George "Gabby" Hayes as Roy Rogers' sidekick in a string of Westerns that ran until the end of the decade.

His success in the Rogers pictures led to one of his most enduring roles as Jingles P. Jones, sidekick to Guy Madison on "The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok" (CBS/ABC, 1951-58), which endeared him to cowboy-loving children everywhere. Though horse operas took up much of his screen time, Devine maintained his presence in other features, most notably in John Huston's stark "Red Badge of Courage" (1951) and in a rare heroic turn as a pilot who leads a rescue mission to find John Wayne's downed plane in the Canadian wilds in "Island in the Sky" (1953). Another atypical turn came with Jack Webb's crime drama "Pete Kelly's Blues" (1955), for which he dropped his voice to a gravely baritone in order to play a corrupt Kansas City police detective.

While working on "Wild Bill Hickok," Devine was tapped to replace radio personality Smilin' Ed McConnell, who had died of a heart attack, on his weekly children's television series, "Smilin' Ed McConnell and His Gang." Devine assumed hosting duties for the series, which was retitled "Andy's Gang," and brought grandfatherly warmth to the program's organized chaos, which centered around the misadventures of a puppet called Froggy the Gremlin, who tormented his human co-stars. While working on both series, Devine continued to make appearances in big screen features as well as several stage shows, most notably a 1957 production of "Show Boat" in Long Island, NY.

Devine began to curtail his acting roles in the 1960s, though some of his best work came during this decade. He was the fear-struck marshal who shrank from corralling wild outlaw Lee Marvin in John Ford's "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" (1962), then served as a corporal under James Stewart in the sprawling "How the West Was Won" (1963). By the mid-1960s, he had largely retired to enjoy the wealth that had come his way through some shrewd real estate investments. But he was unable to stay away from acting for too long, and by the end of the decade, he was working steadily in children's films like "Zebra in the Kitchen" (1965) and Westerns for both the big and small screen. In 1969, he was featured among a cast of classic Western performers, including Walter Brennan, Edgar Buchanan, and Jack Elam in the TV movie "The Over-The-Hill Gang" (ABC), which proved popular enough to spawn a sequel for the network in 1970.

Devine was still relying on the charming qualities of his voice in the early 1970s, when he provided voices for several animated features, including the Walt Disney production "Robin Hood" (1973), for which he voiced Friar Tuck. At the time, his appeal among audiences remained undiminished, and he applied that popularity to various civic and charitable organizations, which briefly earned him the title of honorary mayor of Van Nuys, CA. His final screen credit came in the 1977 animated feature "The Mouse and His Child," which arrived in theaters in the same year as Devine's death. Long plagued by leukemia, Devine succumbed to a heart attack on Feb. 18, 1977. His funeral at the Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona Del Mar, CA was attended by many of his famous co-stars, including John Wayne and James Stewart, who paid their respects to the man who had done so much in support of their screen adventures.

By Paul Gaita

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

My Son the Fanatic (1997)
Comedian
The Mouse and His Child (1977)
Voice Of Frog
A Whale of a Tale (1976)
Captain Andy
Robin Hood (1973)
Voice
Myra Breckinridge (1970)
Coyote Bill
The Phynx (1970)
The Over-the-hill Gang Rides Again (1970)
Amos Polk
Smoke (1970)
Mr Stone
Myra Breckinridge (1970)
Coyote Bill
The Over-the-Hill Gang (1969)
The Road Hustlers (1968)
Sheriff Estep
The Ballad of Josie (1968)
Judge Tatum
Zebra in the Kitchen (1965)
Branch Hawksbill
How the West Was Won (1963)
Corporal Peterson
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)
Sheriff Mason
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
Link Appleyard
Two Rode Together (1961)
Sgt. Darius P. Posey
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960)
Mr. Carmody
Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
First Mate, S.S. Henrietta
Pete Kelly's Blues (1955)
George Tenell
Thunder Pass (1954)
Injun
Island in the Sky (1953)
Moon
Border City Rustlers (1953)
Montana Belle (1952)
Pete Bivins
Behind Southern Lines (1952)
The Red Badge of Courage (1951)
"The Cheery Soldier"
New Mexico (1951)
Sgt. Garrity
Slaughter Trail (1951)
Sgt. McIntosh
The Traveling Saleswoman (1950)
Waldo
Never a Dull Moment (1950)
Orvie
The Last Bandit (1949)
Casey Brown
The Far Frontier (1948)
Judge "Cookie" Bullfincher
Eyes of Texas (1948)
Cookie Bullfincher
Night Time in Nevada (1948)
Sgt. "Cookie" Bullfincher
Grand Canyon Trail (1948)
"Cookie" Bullfincher
Under California Stars (1948)
"Cookie" Bullfincher
The Gallant Legion (1948)
Windy Hornblower
Old Los Angeles (1948)
Sam Bowie
The Gay Ranchero (1948)
Cookie Bullfincher
Slave Girl (1947)
Ben
The Vigilantes Return (1947)
Andy
Bells of San Angelo (1947)
Sheriff "Cookie" Bullfincher
Springtime in the Sierras (1947)
"Cookie" Bullfincher
Michigan Kid (1947)
Buster
The Fabulous Texan (1947)
Elihu Mills
On the Old Spanish Trail (1947)
"Cookie" Bullfincher
Canyon Passage (1946)
Ben Dance
That's the Spirit (1945)
Martin [Wilde, Sr.]
Frontier Gal (1945)
Big Ben
Frisco Sal (1945)
Bunny
Sudan (1945)
Nebka
Follow the Boys (1944)
Bowery to Broadway (1944)
Father Kelley
Ghost Catchers (1944)
Horsehead
Babes on Swing Street (1944)
Joe Costello
Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944)
Abdullah
Crazy House (1943)
Frontier Badmen (1943)
Slim
Rhythm of the Islands (1943)
Eddie Dolan
Corvette K-225 (1943)
Walsh
Sin Town (1942)
Judge Eustace Vale
Escape from Hong Kong (1942)
Blimp
Top Sergeant (1942)
[Corp.] Andy Jarrett
Timber (1942)
Arizona
Danger in the Pacific (1942)
Andy Parker
North to the Klondike (1942)
Klondike
Unseen Enemy (1942)
Sam [Dillon]
Between Us Girls (1942)
Mike Kilinsky
Badlands of Dakota (1941)
Spearfish
Men of the Timberland (1941)
Andy [Jensen]
Raiders of the Desert (1941)
Andy [McCoy]
Mutiny in the Arctic (1941)
Andy [Adams]
A Dangerous Game (1941)
Andy [McAllister]
Lucky Devils (1941)
Andy [Tompkins]
South of Tahiti (1941)
Moose
The Kid from Kansas (1941)
Andy
The Flame of New Orleans (1941)
1st sailor
Margie (1940)
When the Daltons Rode (1940)
Ozark [Jones]
Little Old New York (1940)
"Commodore"
Hot Steel (1940)
Matt Morrison
The Devil's Pipeline (1940)
Andy [Jennings]
The Leatherpushers (1940)
Andy [Adams]
Black Diamonds (1940)
Barney Tolliver
Danger on Wheels (1940)
"Guppy" Wexel
Geronimo (1940)
Sneezer
Trail of the Vigilantes (1940)
Meadows
Torrid Zone (1940)
Wally Davis
Buck Benny Rides Again (1940)
Himself
Spirit of Culver (1939)
Tubby
Tropic Fury (1939)
Tyran ["Tiny"] Andrews
Legion of Lost Flyers (1939)
"Beef" Brumley
Mutiny on the Blackhawk (1939)
Slim Collins
Man from Montreal (1939)
Constable "Bones" Blair
Stagecoach (1939)
Buck
Never Say Die (1939)
Henry Munch
The Storm (1938)
Hansen
In Old Chicago (1938)
Pickle Bixby
Personal Secretary (1938)
"Snoop" Lewis
Yellow Jack (1938)
Charlie Spill
Strange Faces (1938)
Hector Hobbs
Men with Wings (1938)
Joe Gibbs
Swing That Cheer (1938)
"Doc" [Saunders]
Doctor Rhythm (1938)
Patrolman [Lawrence] O'Roon
A Star Is Born (1937)
Danny McGuire
You're a Sweetheart (1937)
"Daisy" Day
The Road Back (1937)
Willy
Double or Nothing (1937)
Half-Pint
Romeo and Juliet (1936)
Peter, servant to Juliet's nurse
Flying Hostess (1936)
Joe Williams
The Big Game (1936)
Pop
Mysterious Crossing (1936)
"Carolina"
Yellowstone (1936)
"Pay-Day"
Small Town Girl (1936)
George
Way Down East (1935)
Hi Holler
Hold 'Em Yale (1935)
Liverlips
Straight from the Heart (1935)
Edwards
The President Vanishes (1935)
Val Orcott
The Farmer Takes a Wife (1935)
Elmer Otway
Fighting Youth (1935)
"Cy" Kipp
Chinatown Squad (1935)
George Mason
Coronado (1935)
Pinky Falls
Gift of Gab (1934)
McDougal, the waiter
Wake Up and Dream (1934)
Joe Egbert
Let's Talk It Over (1934)
Gravel
Hell in the Heavens (1934)
Sergeant "Ham" Davis
Million Dollar Ransom (1934)
"Careful"
Stingaree (1934)
Howie
The Poor Rich (1934)
Andy
Upper World (1934)
Oscar
Doctor Bull (1933)
Larry Wardrobe
Song of the Eagle (1933)
Mud
The Cohens and Kellys in Trouble (1933)
Andy Anderson
Saturday's Millions (1933)
Andy Jones
Horseplay (1933)
Andy Jones
The Big Cage (1933)
"Scoops"
Chance at Heaven (1933)
Al
Midnight Mary (1933)
Sam [Travers]
Law and Order (1932)
Johnny Kinsman
Tom Brown of Culver (1932)
"Mac"
Radio Patrol (1932)
Pete Wiley
Three Wise Girls (1932)
Chauffeur
The All American (1932)
Andy Moran
The Man from Yesterday (1932)
Steve Hand
Fast Companions (1932)
Information Kid
The Impatient Maiden (1932)
Clarence Howe
Man Wanted (1932)
Andy Doyle
Destry Rides Again (1932)
Fireman Save My Child (1932)
The Spirit of Notre Dame (1931)
[Ernest] Truck [McCall]
The Criminal Code (1931)
Cluck
Danger Island (1931)
Hot Stuff (1929)
Bob
Naughty Baby (1929)
Joe Cassidy
Red Lips (1928)
A sophomore [or Professor Fountain]
We Americans (1928)
Pat O'Dougal

Cast (Special)

Reckless -- the Sequel (1999)
Middle Aged Man
Prime Suspect 5: Errors of Judgement (1997)
Gravefaced Reporter
The Moonstone (1997)
Ride a Northbound Horse (1987)
Jim Demmer

Cast (Short)

Screen Actors (1950)
Himself
La Fiesta de Santa Barbara (1935)
Himself

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

The Lakes (2000)
Emma: Queen of the South Seas (1988)

Life Events

Photo Collections

Two Rode Together - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Two Rode Together - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
How the West Was Won - Program Book
Here is the souvenir Program Book sold at Roadshow engagements for the 1962 epic in Cinerama, How the West Was Won.
Never a Dull Moment - Scene Stills
Here are a few scene stills from RKO's Never a Dull Moment (1950), starring Irene Dunne and Fred MacMurray.
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance - Movie Posters
Here is a variety of original-release American movie posters from John Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), starring John Wayne and James Stewart.

Videos

Movie Clip

Midnight Mary (1933) - Who Might That Lovely Lady Be? We know that knockout lady gambler Mary (Loretta Young) and coat check babe Bunny (Una Merkel) both work for gangsters, so we know something’s up at the casino, as we meet sophisticate Tom (Franchot Tone) and dyspeptic buddy Sam (Andy Devine), in MGM’s Midnight Mary, 1933.
Stingaree (1934) - That's The Name Of A Fish Riding up to an Outback tavern, Richard Dix (whom we will learn is the outlaw title character) joins a conversation with a soused lawman (George Barraud) and visiting English composer Sir Julian (Conway Tearle), in RKO's Stingaree, 1934, also starring Irene Dunne and Mary Boland.
Two Rode Together (1961) - Guthrie McCabe Introducing James Stewart as the evidently legendary "Guthrie McCabe," and his army pal Richard Widmark as "Jim Gary," arriving in not-fictional Tascosa, with Andy Devine, opening John Ford's Two Rode Together, 1961, from a Will Cook novel.
Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The (1962) - That's My Steak Men fight over meat, with Ranse (James Stewart) waiting table, Liberty (Lee Marvin) making trouble, and Tom (John Wayne) booting Strother Martin, in an outrageous confrontation from John Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, 1962.
Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The (1962) - I'd Have Had A Bang-up Funeral Sen. and Mrs. Stoddard (James Stewart, Vera Miles) discover the minimal preparations for a friend's funeral, Pompey (Woody Strode) already mourning, Earle Hudgins and Andy Devine featured, early in John Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, 1962.
Star Is Born, A (1937) - You Know What Your Chances Are Looks to be the real office of the real Central Casting in Burbank as Esther (Janet Gaynor), in town for about a month, gets tough love from Peggy Wood, then her landlord (Edgar Kennedy) and meets new fellow tenant Danny (Andy Devine), early in David Selznick's A Star Is Born, 1937.
Star Is Born, A (1937) - Pronounced Vicki Vicki Mentor Norman (Fredric March) supports Esther (Janet Gaynor) in the screen test he arranged, then producer Oliver (Adolphe Menjou) signs her, and press agent Libby (Lionel Stander) discovers a problem, William A. Wellman directing David Selznick's original A Star Is Born, 1937.
Farmer Takes A Wife, The (1935) - Albany To Buffalo Director Victor Fleming’s opening, Slim Summerville as Erie Canal agent Friendly, Jane Withers as young Della, laying down some lore before we meet Weaver (Roger Imhof), Elmer (Andy Devine) and Ivy (Kitty Kelly), in The Farmer Takes A Wife, 1935, starring Henry Fonda an Janet Gaynor.
Farmer Takes A Wife, The (1935) - Who Is That Lady? Notable as Henry Fonda’s first scene in his first movie, a new arrival in 1853 Rome, NY, after we meet Janet Gaynor as Molly, Charles Bickford as canal-boat captain Jotham, with Jane Withers, Margaret Hamilton, John Qualen, Andy Devine, Slim Summerville among the locals, in The Farmer Takes A Wife, 1935.
Stagecoach (1939) - Ain't Ringo A Fine Boy? Technically a fugitive, the "Ringo Kid" (John Wayne) is introduced in famous fashion by director John Ford, driver Buck (Andy Devine) and sheriff Curley (George Bancroft) leading the group (Thomas Mitchell, Berton Churchill, Donald Meek, Claire Trevor, John Carradine et al), into Indian territory, in Stagecoach, 1939.
Stagecoach (1939) - How About The Other Lady? Andy Devine and George Bancroft up top, the ladies (Louise Platt as Mrs. Mallory, Claire Trevor as Dallas), John Carradine as gambler Hatfield, John Wayne as semi-fugitive Ringo, all bearing up as best they can as they move into Apache territory, in John Ford’s Stagecoach, 1939.
Romeo And Juliet (1936) - A Madness Most Discreet First scene for Leslie Howard in the male lead role, visited by cousin Benvolio (Reginald Denny), in MGM's production of Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet, 1936, directed by George Cukor, co-starring Norma Shearer.

Trailer

Bibliography

Notes

Elected honorary Mayor of Van Nuys, California