New York City, New York, USA
Claim to Fame
Anatomy of a Murder
Profile Bio Text
Arthur O`Connell (March 29, 1908 – May 18, 1981) was an Academy Award nominated American stage and film actor. He appeared in films (starting with a small role in Citizen Kane) in 1941 and television programs (mostly guest appearances). Among his screen appearances were Picnic, Anatomy of a Murder, and as the watch-maker who hides Jews during WWII in The Hiding Place. A veteran vaudevillian, American actor Arthur O`Connell from New York City made his legitimate stage debut in the mid `30s, at which time he fell within the orbit of Orson Welles` Mercury Theatre. Welles cast O`Connell in the tiny role of a reporter in the closing scenes of Citizen Kane (1941), a film often referred to as O`Connell`s film debut, though in fact he had already appeared in Freshman Year (1939) and had costarred in two Leon Errol short subjects as Leon`s conniving brother-in-law. After numerous small movie parts, O`Connell returned to Broadway, where he appeared as the erstwhile middle-aged swain of a spinsterish schoolteacher in Picnic - a role he`d recreate in the 1956 film version, earning an Oscar nomination in the process. Later the jaded looking O`Connell was frequently cast as fortyish losers and alcoholics; in the latter capacity he appeared as James Stewart`s boozy attorney mentor in Anatomy of a Murder (1959), and the result was another Oscar nomination. In 1962 O`Connell portrayed the father of Elvis Presley`s character in the motion picture Follow That Dream. O`Connell continued appearing in choice character parts on both TV and films during the 1960s, but avoided a regular television series, holding out until he could be assured top billing. He appeared as Joseph Baylor in the 1964 episode "A Little Anger Is a Good Thing" on the ABC medical drama about psychiatry, Breaking Point. The actor accepted the part of a man who discovers that his 99-year-old father has been frozen in an iceberg on the 1967 sitcom The Second Hundred Years, assuming he`d be billed first per the producers` agreement. Instead, top billing went to newcomer Monte Markham in the dual role of O`Connell`s father and his son. O`Connell accepted the demotion to second billing as well as could be expected, but he never again trusted the word of any Hollywood executive. Ill health forced O`Connell to significantly reduce his acting appearances in the mid `70s, but the actor stayed busy as a commercial spokesman, a friendly pharmacist who was a spokesperson for Crest toothpaste. At the time of his death from Alzheimer`s disease in California in May 1981, O`Connell was appearing solely in these commercials, by his own choice. O`Connell was buried in Calvary Cemetery, Queens, New York.
Couple Profile Source
Arthur Joseph O'Connell (29 March 1908 Manhattan, New York – 18 May 1981 Woodland Hills, California) was an American stage and film actor. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for both Picnic (1955) and Anatomy of a Murder (1959). His made his final film appearance in The Hiding Place (1975), portraying a watch-maker who hides Jews during World War II.
Has Detailed Data (New)
Stage, film, and television actor
Place of Death
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA
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