Subject: ARCHIVE: September 29, 1970 ~Edward Everett Horton, veteran Hollywood character actor had a long career in film, theater, radio, television, and voice work for animated cartoons, dies at 84, after a 40+ year career in film and TV. ...
Edward Everett Horton
(March 18, 1886 September 29, 1970)
Horton was born 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. His father had English and German ancestry, while his mother was born in Matanzas, Cuba to George and Mary (Orr) Diack, natives of Scotland. 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.
Stage and film career
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 the drama 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 initially used his given name, Edward Horton, professionally. His father persuaded him to adopt his full name professionally, reasoning that other actors might be named Edward Horton, but only one named Edward Everett Horton. Horton soon cultivated his own special variation of the time-honored double take (an actor's reaction to something, followed by a delayed, more extreme reaction). In Horton's version, he would smile ingratiatingly and nod in agreement with what just happened; then, when realization set in, his facial features collapsed entirely into a sober, troubled mask.
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).
...Horton appeared in 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), Pocketful of Miracles (1961), It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), and Sex and the Single Girl (1964). Horton continued to appear in stage productions, often in summer stock. His performance in the play Springtime for Henry became a perennial in summer theaters.
Horton appeared with cary Grant in "Alice in Wonderland" (1933), "Kiss and Make-Up" (1934),
"Ladies Should Listen" (1934), "Holiday (1938), and Arsenic and Old Lace (1944).
Radio and television
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 (195961) 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's final film appearance was in Norman Lear's comedy, "Cold Turkey" (1971), as 'Hiram C. Grayson' the owner of the cigarette Valiant Tobacco company that challenges an entire Ohio town to go 'cold turkey' from tobacco for one month, and earn $25M. His character communicated only through facial expressions. The film starred Dick Van Dyke, Vincent Gardenia, Barnard Hughes, and Bob Newhart at CEO of Horton's company, seen here in photo together. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoUyxzECX8k
Death and legacy
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. ...
Actor Gavin Gordon, 15 years Horton's junior, appears in the 1961 film Pocketful of Miracles that also features Horton, though they do not appear together in any scenes. They did appear together in at least one play, a 1931 production of Noël Coward's Private Lives.
In 1925, Horton purchased several acres in the district of Encino and lived on the property at 5521 Amestoy Avenue until his death. He named the estate, which contained Horton's own house and houses for his brother, his sister and their respective families, Belleigh Acres. In the 1950s, the state of California forced Horton to sell a portion of his property for construction of the Ventura Freeway. The freeway construction left a short stump of Amestoy Avenue south of Burbank Boulevard and shortly after his death, the city of Los Angeles renamed that portion Edward Everett Horton Lane.
Edward Everett Horton Lane ends at Burbank Boulevard, and begins in the shadow of the Ventura Freeway. On the other side of the boulevard is a bus stop also named for Edward Everett Horton, between bus stops at Aldea and Balboa. The borderline of Anthony C. Beilenson Park is directly across the street from the corner of Burbank Boulevard and EE Horton Lane. The opposite end of the lane leads to a foot bridge that overlooks the Ventura Freeway and ends up on the Amestoy Avenue side.
British Radio DJ and Comedian Kenny Everett adopted the name of Everett in honor of Horton who was a childhood hero of his. (Kenny's real name was Maurice Cole)
For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Horton has
a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6427 Hollywood Boulevard.