b. 3 July 1881, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, d. 12 October 1951, Hollywood, California, USA. Travelling to the USA as a young man, Errol worked in vaudeville as a comedian. He enjoyed considerable success on Broadway, appearing in the Ziegfeld Follies from 1911, including directing the editions for 1915 and 1916. He worked in other of Florenz Ziegfeld’s shows including Sally (1920), which starred Marilyn Miller, and also appeared in dramatic productions. He began making films, including the film version of Sally (1925) and appeared in other musical films, including Paramount On Parade (1930) and Make A Wish (1937). Errol found his métier in two-reel comedies. Balding and rubber-faced, and often rubber-legged too, Errol specialized in eccentric characters of which the bewildered (and often cuckolded) husband was evoked with masterly ease. In 1939 he co-starred with Lupe Velez in The Girl From Mexico, the success of which promptly led to Mexican Spitfire (with more or less the same cast and script), which was followed by a further six films in ‘The Mexican Spitfire’ series. Meanwhile, he worked on other films including Never Give A Sucker An Even Break (1941, with W.C. Fields), and Follow The Band (1943). The series with Velez ended in 1943 with Mexican Spitfire’s Blessed Event and thereafter he appeared in other films including Higher And Higher (1943), Mama Loves Papa (1945), Abbott And Costello’s The Noose Hangs High (1948) and Footlight Varieties (1951). Many of his films were instantly forgettable, something Errol himself never was. At the time of his death he was in negotiation with television executives for his own series.
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