Ernest Truex

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A productive American actor between the early 1910s and the 60s.
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Artist Biography by

b. 19 September 1889, Kansas City, Missouri, USA, d. 26 June 1973, Fallbrook, California, USA. On stage from early childhood, Truex remained small in stature, which helped gain him happy-go-lucky supporting roles. He was in the Broadway musical comedies Girlies (1910), Dr. Deluxe (1911) and played the lead in Very Good Eddie (1915), wherein, as Eddie Kettle, he sang Jerome Kern’s ‘Babes In The Wood’. He also had the leading role in Pitter Patter (1920), and was in London’s West End for The Five O’clock Girl (1929), for which the libretto was written by Fred Thompson and Guy Bolton. During this same period in his career, Truex also appeared in silent films including Caprice (1913), A Good Little Devil (1914), those two with Mary Pickford, Come On In (1918) and Six Cylinder Love (1923). In the 30s and 40s, he continued making stage appearances including The Third Little Show (1931), Frederika (1937) and Helen Goes To Troy (1944).

Truex was very active in films in these decades, including appearances in Whistling In The Dark (1933), Everybody Dance (1936, made in England and in which he co-starred with Cicely Courtneidge), Start Cheering (1938, with Jimmy Durante), It’s A Wonderful World (1939, a comedy vehicle for Claudette Colbert and James Stewart), His Girl Friday, the hit 1940 comedy starring Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant in which Truex was especially effective. Also in 1940, he was in the star-studded biopic of the famous nineteenth-century musical comedy star Lillian Russell (which bore her name as the title). Other 40s films were another star-filled musical, Private Buckaroo (1942), True To Life (1943, with Mary Martin, Dick Powell and Victor Moore), Her Primitive Man (1944), and A Night In Paradise (1946). In the 50s, Truex appeared on Broadway in the musical Flahooley (1951), and in a few films including The Leather Saint (1956) and Twilight For The Gods (1958), and was also active in television, including a recurring role in the popular Wally Cox series, Mr. Peepers. In the mid-60s, he made his final film appearance, in Fluffy (1965), which starred Tony Randall and Shirley Jones, thereafter retiring.