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Alan Mowbray
Alfred Ernest Allen

(1896-08-18)18 August 1896
London, England
Died25 March 1969(1969-03-25) (aged 72)
Resting placeHoly Cross Cemetery, Culver City
Years active1922–1969
Lorraine Carpenter
(m. 1927)

Alan Mowbray (born Alfred Ernest Allen; 18 August 1896 – 25 March 1969) was an English stage and film actor who found success in Hollywood.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • 10 Things You Should Know About Alan Mowbray
  • John Garfield, Alan Mowbray, Rudy Vallee
  • I Wake Up Screaming 1941, USA Featuring Betty Grable, Victor Mature, Carole Landis Film Noir
  • Curtain Call 1940 - Comedy, Romance Barbara Read, Alan Mowbray, Helen Vinson
  • The Phantom of 42nd Street (1945) Mystery Full Length Film


Early life

Mowbray was born in London, England. He served with distinction in the British Army in World War I, being awarded the Military Medal and the French Croix de Guerre for bravery in action.[citation needed] He applied for transfer to the Royal Air Force, which was granted just six days before the war ended. This placed him in London on Armistice Day. His service came to an end when the Royal Air Force wanted another seven years from him.[1]


Mowbray began his stage career in London in 1922, as an actor and stage manager. In 1923 he arrived in the United States[2] and was soon acting with New York stock companies. He debuted on Broadway in The Sport of Kings (1926); in 1929 he wrote, directed and starred in the unsuccessful Dinner Is Served.[3]

Mowbray made his film debut in God's Gift to Women (1931) playing a butler, a role in which he was thereafter often cast. Famed ‘30s novelist and screenwriter Raymond Chandler lampooned Mowbray's distinctive clipped speech in these roles in his pulp magazine story Mandarin's Jade (1937):

"The house had an English slate roof and a porte-cochère, some nice imported trees, a trellis with bougainvillaea. It was a nice place and not loud. But Beverly Hills is Beverly Hills, so the butler had a wing collar and an accent like Alan Mowbray.”[4]

Mowbray appeared in five more pictures in 1931, notably portraying George Washington in Alexander Hamilton. In 1935, he played one of the male leads in Becky Sharp, the first feature-length film in full-colour Technicolor, as well as playing the lead in the farcical Night Life of the Gods, based on a Thorne Smith novel. It was for another Thorne Smith–derived film, Topper (1937), that Mowbray may be best remembered; he played Topper's butler Wilkins, a role he reprised the following year in Topper Takes a Trip. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Mowbray worked steadily, appearing in over 120 films.[5]

In the 1950s, Mowbray's film roles decreased, and he began to appear on television. He played the title role in the DuMont TV series Colonel Humphrey Flack, which first aired in 1953–54 and was revived in 1958–59. In the 1954–55 television season, Mowbray played Mr. Swift, the drama coach of the character Mickey Mulligan, in NBC's short-lived The Mickey Rooney Show: Hey, Mulligan. He portrayed the character Stewart Styles, a maitre d with a checkered past in the 1960-1961 adventure/drama series Dante, reprising a role he had originally played in several episodes of Four Star Theatre. Mowbray appeared in the titular role as a crooked astrologer in the 1959 episode "The Misfortune Teller" of the Maverick television series starring James Garner and Kathleen Crowley, and as Cranshaw in the episode "Quite a Woman" of the 1961 series The Investigators starring James Franciscus.

In 1956, Mowbray appeared in three major films, The King and I, The Man Who Knew Too Much and Around the World in 80 Days.[5] His final film role was as Captain Norcross in A Majority of One in 1961. In 1963, he returned to Broadway in the successful comedy Enter Laughing, playing Marlowe, the unscrupulous mentor to David Kolowitz (played by Alan Arkin).

Mowbray was a founding member of the Screen Actors Guild in 1933, writing a personal check to fund the group's incorporation and serving as the first vice president.[3][6]

Personal life

Mowbray married Lorraine Carpenter in 1927. Together they had two children, including daughter Patricia, who, at age 28 married her father's friend, 70-year-old Canadian actor Douglass Dumbrille, in 1960.[7]

Mowbray was among the founders of the Hollywood Cricket Club.[8] He was a prominent early member of the Masquers Club,[9] and donated the group's long-time clubhouse on Sycamore[clarification needed] in Hollywood.[10]

Mowbray died of a heart attack in 1969 in Hollywood, survived by his wife and children. His body is interred in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.[11]


Year Film Role Director Notes
1931 God's Gift to Women Auguste, Toto's Butler Michael Curtiz
1931 The Man in Possession Sir Charles Cartwright Sam Wood (uncredited)
1931 Guilty Hands Gordon Rich Lionel Barrymore
1931 Alexander Hamilton George Washington John G. Adolfi
1931 Left Over Ladies Jerry Erle C. Kenton
1931 Honor of the Family Tony Revere Lloyd Bacon
1931 Nice Women Mark Chandler Edwin H. Knopf
1932 Lovers Courageous Lamone Robert Z. Leonard
1932 The Silent Witness Arthur Drinton Marcel Varnel
1932 Hotel Continental Walter Underwood Christy Cabanne
1932 The World and the Flesh Dimitri John Cromwell
1932 Man About Town Ivan Boris John Francis Dillon
1932 The Man from Yesterday Dr. Waite Berthold Viertel
1932 Winner Take All the Etiquette Teacher Roy Del Ruth
1932 The Man Called Back King's Counsel Robert Florey
1932 Jewel Robbery Detective Fritz William Dieterle
1932 Two Against the World George 'Georgie' Walton Archie Mayo
1932 The Phantom President George Washington Norman Taurog uncredited
1932 Sherlock Holmes Colonel Gore-King William K. Howard
1933 Our Betters Lord George Grayston George Cukor
1933 A Study in Scarlet Inspector Lastrade Edwin L. Marin
1933 Peg o' My Heart Capt. Christopher 'Chris' Brent Robert Z. Leonard (uncredited)
1933 The Midnight Club Arthur Bradley
1933 Voltaire Count De Sarnac John G. Adolfi
1933 Berkeley Square Major Clinton Frank Lloyd
1933 The World Changes Sir Phillip Ivor Mervyn LeRoy
1933 Roman Scandals Majordomo Frank Tuttle
1933 Her Secret Nils Norton Warren Millais
1934 Long Lost Father Sir Tony Gelding Ernest B. Schoedsack
1934 The House of Rothschild Prince Metternich Maude T. Howell (asst.)
1934 Where Sinners Meet Nicholas J. Walter Ruben
1934 Little Man, What Now? Franz Schluter
1934 Cheaters Paul Southern Phil Rosen
1934 The Girl from Missouri Lord Douglas Jack Conway
1934 One More River Forsythe James Whale
1934 Embarrassing Moments Aheam Edward Laemmle
1934 Charlie Chan in London Geoffrey Richmond Eugene Forde
1935 Night Life of the Gods Hunter Hawk Lowell Sherman
1935 Becky Sharp Rawdon Crawley Rouben Mamoulian
1935 Lady Tubbs Elyot Wembsleigh Alan Crosland
1935 The Gay Deception Lord Clewe William Wyler
1935 She Couldn't Take It Alan Bartlett Tay Garnett
1935 In Person Jay Holmes James Anderson (assistant)
1936 Rose-Marie Premier
1936 Muss 'em Up Paul Harding Charles Vidor[12]
1936 Give Us This Night Forcellini Alexander Hall
1936 Desire Dr. Maurice Pauquet Frank Borzage
1936 The Case Against Mrs. Ames Lawrence Waterson William A. Seiter
1936 Fatal Lady Uberto Malla Edward Ludwig
1936 Mary of Scotland Throckmorton John Ford
1936 My Man Godfrey Tommy Gray Gregory La Cava
1936 Ladies in Love Paul Sandor Edward H. Griffith
1936 Four Days' Wonder Archibald Fenton
1936 Rainbow on the River Ralph Layton George Sherman
1937 On the Avenue Frederick Sims William Seiter (fill-in)
1937 The King and the Chorus Girl Donald Taylor Mervyn LeRoy
1937 As Good as Married Wally Edward Buzzell
1937 Marry the Girl Dr. Hayden Stryker William C. McGann
1937 Topper Wilkins Norman Z. McLeod
1937 Walter Wanger's Vogues of 1938 Henry Morgan Charles Kerr (assistant)
1937 On Such a Night Professor Ricardo Montrose Candle Ewald André Dupont
1937 Music for Madame Leon Rodowsky John G. Blystone
1937 Stand-In Koslofski Charles Kerr (assistant)
1937 Hollywood Hotel Alexander Duprey Busby Berkeley
1938 Merrily We Live Butler Norman Z. McLeod
1938 There Goes My Heart Pennypepper E. Pennypepper Norman Z. McLeod
1938 Topper Takes a Trip Wilkins Norman Z. McLeod
1939 Never Say Die Prince Smirnov Elliott Nugent
1939 Way Down South Jacques Bouton Bernard Vorhaus
1939 The Llano Kid John Travers Edward Venturini
1940 Music in My Heart Charles Gardner Joseph Santley
1940 Curtain Call Donald Avery Frank Woodruff
1940 Scatterbrain J.R. Russell Gus Meins
1940 The Boys from Syracuse Angelo A. Edward Sutherland
1940 The Villain Still Pursued Her Silas Cribbs Edward F. Cline
1940 The Quarterback Professor Hobbs H. Bruce Humberstone
1941 Footlight Fever Mr. Don Avery Irving Reis
1941 That Hamilton Woman Sir William Hamilton Alexander Korda
1941 That Uncertain Feeling Dr. Vengard Ernst Lubitsch
1941 The Cowboy and the Blonde Phineas Johnson Ray McCarey
1941 Ice-Capades Pete Ellis
1941 Moon Over Her Shoulder Grover Sloan Alfred L. Werker
1941 I Wake Up Screaming Robin Ray H. Bruce Humberstone
1941 The Perfect Snob Freddie Browning Ray McCarey
1942 Yokel Boy Movie Producer Joseph Santley
1942 We Were Dancing Grand Duke Basil Robert Z. Leonard
1942 The Mad Martindales Hugo Martindale Alfred L. Werker
1942 Panama Hattie Jay Jerkins, Dick's Butler Norman Z. McLeod
1942 A Yank at Eton Mr. Duncan Norman Taurog
1942 Isle of Missing Men Dr. Henry Brown Richard Oswald
1942 The Devil with Hitler Gesatan Gordon Douglas
1943 The Powers Girl John Robert Powers Norman Z. McLeod
1943 Slightly Dangerous English Gentleman Buster Keaton
1943 Stage Door Canteen Alan Mowbray Frank Borzage
1943 So This Is Washington Chester W. Marshall Ray McCarey
1943 Holy Matrimony Mr. Pennington John M. Stahl
1943 His Butler's Sister Buzz Jenkins Frank Borzage
1944 The Doughgirls Breckenridge Drake James V. Kern
1944 Ever Since Venus J. Webster Hackett Arthur Dreifuss
1944 My Gal Loves Music Rodney Spoonyer
1945 Bring on the Girls August Sidney Lanfield
1945 Earl Carroll Vanities Grand Duke Paul Joseph Santley
1945 The Phantom of 42nd Street Cecil Moore Albert Herman
1945 Where Do We Go from Here? General George Washington
1945 Tell It to a Star Colonel Ambrose Morgan Frank McDonald
1945 Men in Her Diary Douglas Crane
1945 Sunbonnet Sue Jonathan
1946 Terror by Night Maj. Duncan-Bleek Roy William Neill
1946 Idea Girl J.C. Crow Will Jason
1946 My Darling Clementine Granville Thorndyke John Ford
1947 The Pilgrim Lady Clifford Latimer Lesley Selander
1947 Lured Lyle Maxwell Douglas Sirk
1947 Merton of the Movies Frank Mulvaney Robert Alton
1947 Captain from Castile Prof. Botello Henry King the astrologer
1948 The Main Street Kid The Great Martine R. G. Springsteen
1948 The Prince of Thieves The Friar Howard Bretherton
1948 An Innocent Affair Ken St. Clair Lloyd Bacon
1948 My Dear Secretary Deveny Charles Martin Bryant Detective Agency
1948 Every Girl Should Be Married Mr. Spitzer Don Hartman
1949 The Lone Wolf and His Lady Jamison, Lanyard's Valet John Hoffman
1949 The Lovable Cheat Justin Richard Oswald
1949 You're My Everything Joe Blanton Walter Lang
1949 Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff Melton Charles Barton
1950 Wagon Master Dr. A. Locksley Hall John Ford
1950 The Jackpot Leslie Walter Lang
1951 Dick Turpin's Ride Lord Charles Willoughby Ralph Murphy
1951 Crosswinds Sir Cecil Daubrey Lewis R. Foster
1952 Just Across the Street Davis Joseph Pevney
1952 Androcles and the Lion Editor of Gladiators Nicholas Ray (uncredited)
1952 Blackbeard the Pirate Noll Raoul Walsh
1954 Ma and Pa Kettle at Home Alphonsus Mannering Charles Lamont
1954 The Steel Cage Lee Filbert segment "The Chef"
1955 The King's Thief Sir Gilbert Talbot Hugo Fregonese (uncredited)
1956 The Man Who Knew Too Much Val Parnell Alfred Hitchcock
1956 The King and I Sir John Hay Walter Lang
1956 Around the World in 80 Days the British Consul at Suez Michael Anderson
1956 Once Upon a Honeymoon Gordon Gower Champion Short
1961 A Majority of One Captain Norcross

TV appearances

The Beverly Hillbillies Season 7,Episode 1, September 25, 1968, A Bundle for Britain Episode 199. Played Montrose, hired by Mr Drysdale to pretend to be the queen of Englands financial servant..


  1. ^ Wearing, J.P. (2014). The London Stage 1920–1929: A Calendar of Productions, Performers, and Personnel. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 190–200. ISBN 978-0-8108-9302-3.
  2. ^ Moreno, Barry (2008). Ellis Island's Famous Immigrants. Arcadia. p. 98. ISBN 978-1-4396-2003-8.
  3. ^ a b Mank, Gregory W. (2007). Hollywood's Hellfire Club: The Misadventures of John Barrymore, W.C. Fields, Errol Flynn and the "Bundy Drive" Boys. Feral House. pp. 152–53. ISBN 978-1-932595-24-6.
  4. ^ Chandler, Raymond T. 1937. 'Mandarin's Jade' originally published in Dime Detective Magazine, November, 1937. Republished in Raymond Chandler: Collected Stories. 2002. Everyman's Library, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, p. 667.
  5. ^ a b Monush, Barry (2003). Screen World Presents the Encyclopedia of Hollywood Film Actors: From the silent era to 1965. Hal Leonard Corporation. pp. 531–32. ISBN 978-1-55783-551-2.
  6. ^ Prindle, David F. (2012). The Politics of Glamour: Ideology and Democracy in the Screen Actors Guild. Univ of Wisconsin Press. pp. 21–22. ISBN 978-0-299-11813-6.
  7. ^ Kear, Lynn; Rossman, John (2016). The Complete Kay Francis Career Record: All Film, Stage, Radio and Television Appearances. McFarland. p. 243. ISBN 9781476602875. Retrieved 26 April 2021 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ Sentance, P. David (2006). Cricket in America, 1710–2000. McFarland. p. 212. ISBN 978-0-7864-2040-7.
  9. ^ "Masquers Club". SAG–AFTRA. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  10. ^ Dean, Paul (25 April 1985). "Unmasking Masquers: End of a Landmark?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  11. ^ Brooks, Patricia; Brooks, Jonathan (2006). Laid to Rest in California: A Guide to the Cemeteries and Grave Sites of the Rich and Famous. Globe Pequot. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-7627-4101-4.
  12. ^ "Muss 'Em Up: Detail View". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on 29 March 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2022.

External links

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