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Charles Ruggles

Best remembered today as the big-game hunter in Bringing Up Baby and billionaire Michael J. ‘Mike’ O’Connor in It Happened on Fifth Avenue.

Charles Ruggles



The Majesty of the Law

Peer Gynt

The Reform Candidate



The Heart Raider



Gentlemen of the Press

The Lady Lies

The Battle of Paris



Young Man of Manhattan

Roadhouse Nights

Charley’s Aunt

Queen High



Honor Among Lovers

The Smiling Lieutenant



One Hour with You

70,000 Witnesses

This Is the Night

Love Me Tonight

Trouble in Paradise

If I Had a Million



Goodbye Love

Murders in the Zoo

Girl Without a Room

Six of a Kind



Murder in the Private Car



Ruggles of Red Gap 

The Big Broadcast of 1936 



Anything Goes

Hearts Divided 



Service de Luxe

Bringing Up Baby 



Night Work 

Sudden Money

Boy Trouble 



Public Deb No. 1 

The Invisible Woman 

The Farmer’s Daughter



Honeymoon for Three 

Model Wife 



Friendly Enemies 



Dixie Dugan 



Three Is a Family 

The Doughgirls 



Bedside Manner 

Incendiary Blonde 



A Stolen Life

Gallant Journey



It Happened on 5th Avenue




The Lovable Cheat 



Ben and Me



All in a Night’s Work

The Parent Trap 



Papa’s Delicate Condition 



I’d Rather Be Rich 



The Ugly Dachshund

Follow Me, Boys! 


Charles Ruggles was never nominated for an Academy Award.

[Future plans include] Forest Lawn, I guess. After you’ve played everything I have, there ain’t no more. ~ Charles Ruggles

Charles Sherman Ruggles was born February 8, 1886 in Los Angeles, California. Despite training to be a doctor, Ruggles soon found himself on the stage, appearing in a stock production of Nathan Hale in 1905. At Los Angeles’s Majestic Theatre, he played the romantic lead Private Jo Files in L. Frank Baum and Louis F. Gottschalk’s musical, The Tik-Tok Man of Oz in 1913.

He moved to New York City to appear on Broadway in Help Wanted in 1914. His first screen role came in the silent Peer Gynt the following year. Throughout the 1910s and 1920s Ruggles continued to appear in silent movies, though his passion remained the stage, appearing in long-running productions such as The Passing Show of 1918, The Demi-Virgin and Battling Butler. His most famous stage hit was one of his last before a twenty-year hiatus, Queen High, produced in 1926.

Beginning in 1929, Ruggles appeared in talking pictures. His first was Gentleman of the Press in which he played a comic, alcoholic newspaper reporter. Throughout the 1930s he was teamed with comic actress Mary Boland in a string of domestic farces, notably If I Had a Million, Six of a Kind, and Ruggles of Red Gap. Ruggles is best remembered today as the big-game hunter in Bringing Up Baby and billionaire Michael J. ‘Mike’ O’Connor in It Happened on Fifth Avenue.

In 1949, Ruggles halted his film career to return to the stage and to move into television. He was the headline character in the TV series The Ruggles, a family comedy in which he played a character also called Charlie Ruggles, and The World of Mr. Sweeney. He guest-starred on NBC’s The Martha Raye Show and portrayed a time-traveling librarian in “Man From 1997,” a 1956 science fiction episode of the television anthology series Conflict; the show featured James Garner in a pivotal early supporting role. In 1961, Ruggles was cast in “Hassie’s European Tour”, in which he portrays a wealthy neighbor who offers to finance a European trip for series character Hassie McCoy (Lydia Reed) on ABC’s The Real McCoys.

He returned to the big screen in 1961, playing Charles McKendrick in The Parent Trap and Mackenzie Savage in The Pleasure of His Company. In the latter film, he reprised the role for which he had won a Tony Award in 1959. In 1963 he memorably played the grandfather of silent star Corinne Griffith in Papa’s Delicate Condition. Griffith herself had written the book of her early life on which the film is based.

Ruggles had a recurring guest role on The Beverly Hillbillies in the mid-1960s as Lowell Redlings Farquhar, father-in-law of Milburn Drysdale (Raymond Bailey). Ruggles also played Aunt Clara’s (Marion Lorne) old flame, the warlock Hedley Partridge, as well as a Mr. Caldwell, whose company marketed soup, in the television series Bewitched.

He played Congressman John Canfield on an episode of The Andy Griffith Show called “Aunt Bee, The Swinger”, and appeared as a driving instructor on The Munsters. Ruggles also lent his voice to the Aesop and Son features in Jay Ward’s The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.

His marriage to Adele Rowland (1914–16) ended in divorce after two years. He remarried, to Marion LaBarba, in 1942; the couple remained wed until his death in 1970. Marion died in 1978.

Ruggles died of cancer at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California on December 23, 1970 at the age of 84.

He is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California in the Garden of Memory near his brother, Wesley Ruggles.

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