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Edward Everett Horton

Best known to the Baby Boomer generation as the venerable narrator of Fractured Fairy Tales in The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show (1959–61), however he had a lengthy film career as a character actor.

Edward Everett Horton

Filmography

1922      

Too Much Business

The Ladder Jinx

A Front Page Story

 

1923      

Ruggles of Red Gap

The Vow of Vengeance

To the Ladies

 

1924      

Flapper Wives

Try and Get It

The Man Who Fights Alone

Helen’s Babies

 

1925      

Beggar on Horseback

Marry Me

The Business of Love

 

1926      

La Bohème

Poker Faces

The Whole Town’s Talking

 

1927      

Taxi! Taxi!

 

1928      

The Terror

 

1929      

Ask Dad

Sonny Boy

The Hottentot

The Sap

The Aviator

 

1930      

Take the Heir

Wide Open

Holiday

Once a Gentleman

Reaching for the Moon

 

1931      

Kiss Me Again

Lonely Wives

The Front Page

Six Cylinder Love

Smart Woman

The Age for Love

 

1932      

-But the Flesh Is Weak

Roar of the Dragon

Trouble in Paradise

 

1933      

Soldiers of the King

A Bedtime Story

It’s a Boy

The Way to Love

Design for Living

Alice in Wonderland

 

1934      

Easy to Love

The Poor Rich

Success at Any Price

Uncertain Lady

Sing and Like It

Smarty

Kiss and Make-Up

Ladies Should Listen

The Merry Widow

The Gay Divorcee

 

1935      

Biography of a Bachelor Girl

The Night Is Young

All the King’s Horses

The Devil Is a Woman

$10 Raise

In Caliente

Going Highbrow

Top Hat

The Private Secretary

Little Big Shot

His Night Out

Your Uncle Dudley

 

1936      

Her Master’s Voice

The Singing Kid

Nobody’s Fool

Hearts Divided

The Man in the Mirror

Let’s Make a Million

 

1937      

Lost Horizon

The King and the Chorus Girl

Shall We Dance

Wild Money

Danger – Love at Work

Angel

The Perfect Specimen

The Great Garrick

Hitting a New High

 

1938      

Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife

College Swing

Holiday

Little Tough Guys in Society

 

1939      

Paris Honeymoon

The Gang’s All Here

That’s Right You’re Wrong

 

1941      

You’re the One

Ziegfeld Girl

Sunny

Bachelor Daddy

Here Comes Mr. Jordan

Weekend for Three

The Body Disappears

 

1942      

The Magnificent Dope

I Married an Angel

Springtime in the Rockies

 

1943      

Forever and a Day

Thank Your Lucky Stars

The Gang’s All Here

 

1944      

Her Primitive Man

Summer Storm

Arsenic and Old Lace

San Diego, I Love You

Brazil

The Town Went Wild

 

1945      

Steppin’ in Society

Lady on a Train

 

1946      

Cinderella Jones

Faithful in My Fashion

Earl Carroll Sketchbook

 

1947      

The Ghost Goes Wild

Down to Earth

Her Husband’s Affairs

 

1957      

The Story of Mankind

 

1961      

Pocketful of Miracles

 

1963      

One Got Fat

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

 

1964      

Sex and the Single Girl

 

1967      

The Perils of Pauline

 

1969      

2000 Years Later

 

1971      

Cold Turkey

Awards

Edward Everett Horton was never nominated for an Academy Award.

I have my own little kingdom. I do the scavenger parts no one else wants and I get well paid for it. ~ Edward Everett Horton

Edward Everett Horton was born March 18, 1886 in Brooklyn, New York (then an independent city), to Edward Everett Horton, a compositor for The New York Times, and his wife Isabella S. (Diack) Horton.

He attended Boys’ High School, Brooklyn, and Baltimore City College, where he was later inducted into their Hall of Fame.

He began his college career at Oberlin College in Ohio. However, he was asked to leave after he climbed to the top of a building, and after a crowd gathered, threw off a dummy, making them think he had jumped. He then attended Brooklyn Polytechnic, followed by Columbia University, where he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi.

Horton began his stage career in 1906, singing and dancing and playing small parts in vaudeville and in Broadway productions. In 1919, he moved to Los Angeles, California, where he began acting in Hollywood films. His first starring role was in the comedy Too Much Business (1922), but he portrayed the lead role of an idealistic young classical composer in Beggar on Horseback (1925). In the late 1920s, he starred in two-reel silent comedies for Educational Pictures and made the transition to talking pictures with Educational in 1929. As a stage-trained performer, he found more film work easily, and appeared in some of Warner Bros.’ early talkies, including The Terror (1928) and Sonny Boy (1929).

Horton starred in many comedy features in the 1930s, usually playing a mousy fellow who put up with domestic or professional problems to a certain point, and then finally asserted himself for a happy ending. He is best known, however, for his work as a character actor in supporting roles. These include The Front Page (1931), Trouble in Paradise (1932), Alice in Wonderland (1933), The Gay Divorcee (1934, the first of several Astaire/Rogers films in which Horton appeared), Top Hat (1935), Danger – Love at Work (1937), Lost Horizon (1937), Holiday (1938), Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), Pocketful of Miracles (1961), It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), and Sex and the Single Girl (film) (1964). His last role was in the comedy film Cold Turkey (1971), in which his character communicated only through facial expressions.

From 1945-47, Horton hosted radio’s Kraft Music Hall. An early television appearance came in the play Sham, shown on The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre on 13 December 1948. During the 1950s, Horton worked in television. One of his best-remembered appearances is in an episode of CBS’s I Love Lucy, in which he is cast against type as a frisky, amorous suitor, broadcast in 1952. In 1960, he guest-starred on ABC’s sitcom The Real McCoys as J. Luther Medwick, grandfather of the boyfriend of series character Hassie McCoy (Lydia Reed). In the story line, Medwick clashes with the equally outspoken Grandpa Amos McCoy (played by Walter Brennan).

He remains, however, best known to the Baby Boomer generation as the venerable narrator of Fractured Fairy Tales in The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show (1959–61), an American animated television series that originally aired from November 19, 1959, to June 27, 1964, on the ABC and NBC television networks.

In 1962, he portrayed the character Uncle Ned in three episodes of the CBS television series Dennis the Menace. In 1965, he played the medicine man, Roaring Chicken, in the ABC sitcom F Troop. He echoed this role, portraying Chief Screaming Chicken, on ABC’s Batman as a pawn to Vincent Price’s Egghead in the villain’s attempt to take control of Gotham City.

Horton died of cancer at age 84 in Encino, California. His remains were interred in Glendale’s Whispering Pines section of Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery.

Horton’s companion for many years was actor Gavin Gordon, who was 15 years his junior. They both appeared (but shared no scenes) in only one film, Pocketful of Miracles (1961). They also appeared together in at least one play, a 1931 production of Noël Coward’s Private Lives.

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