Charles Ellsworth Grapewin (December 20, 1869 – February 2, 1956), stage name Charley Grapewin, was an American vaudeville performer, writer and a stage and silent and sound actor, and comedian who was best known for portraying Aunt Em's husband, Uncle Henry in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's The Wizard of Oz (1939) as well as Grandpa Joad in The Grapes of Wrath (1940) and Jeeter Lester in Tobacco Road (1941). He usually portrayed elderly folksy-type characters in a rustic setting, in all appearing in over 100 films. He was the oldest cast member of The Wizard of Oz.
Full Name at Birth
Charles Ellsworth Grapewin
Xenia, Ohio, USA
Claim to Fame
The Wizard of Oz
Place of Death
Corona, California, USA
Cause of Death
Actor/Actress, Soundtrack, Writer
Has Detailed Data (New)
Profile Bio Text
This old codger film favorite, born in 1869 (some reports say 1875), got into the entertainment field at an early age, first as a circus performer (aerialist and trapeze artist). When acting sparked his interest, he worked in a series of stock companies while writing stage plays that he himself could star in. He married actress Anna Chance around the turn of the century, and they remained a devoted couple until her death 47 years later. They had no children. Charley came into his own in films at the ripe old age of 60 as the ultimate humorous, toothless character in a range of films with rustic settings. Notable movies include The Petrified Forest (1936) with Leslie Howard and Humphrey Bogart, The Good Earth (1937) with Paul Muni and Luise Rainer, and They Died with Their Boots On (1941) with Errol Flynn. However, his best-remembered parts were as huggable Uncle Henry in the classic The Wizard of Oz (1939), ornery Grandpa Joad, who refused to leave the homestead in The Grapes of Wrath (1940), Inspector Queen in the Ellery Queen whodunits that ran from 1940 through 1942, and the amiable ne'er-do-well Jeeter Lester in Tobacco Road (1941). A soft, humorous presence who seemed frail around the edges, he was a thorough delight, his folksy presence gracing over 100 films. He died in 1956.
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