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Bobby Watson (actor)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bobby Watson
Robert Watson Knucher

(1888-11-28)November 28, 1888
Springfield, Illinois
DiedMay 22, 1965(1965-05-22) (aged 76)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Burial placeOak Ridge Cemetery

Bobby Watson ( born Robert Watson Knucher;[1] November 28, 1888 – May 22, 1965) was an American theater and film actor, playing a variety of character roles, including, after 1942, Adolf Hitler.

Life and career

Gladys Miller, Bobby Watson and Eva Puck in Tuneful “Irene”
Gladys Miller, Bobby Watson and Eva Puck in Tuneful “Irene”

Born in Springfield, Illinois,[2] Watson, who was of German descent, began his career at age 15 performing a vaudeville act at the Olympic Theatre in Springfield. As a teenager, he toured the U.S. midwest with the "Kickapoo Remedies Show", a traveling medicine show. He then appeared in Coney Island in a Gus Edwards show.[citation needed] In 1918, he first played on Broadway when he was a replacement in the role of Robert Street in Going Up and then created the role of the flamboyant dressmaker "Madame Lucy" in the hit musical Irene (1919), later repeating the role. He continued to play on Broadway through the 1920s.[3]

Watson began to appear in films in 1925, playing various character roles. Some of them were inspired by his scene-stealing characterization from Irene -- the gag roles of fey choreographers, prissy interior decorators, and delicate couturiers fell to Bobby Watson. But he proved his versatility by playing professional men and officious types: military officers, hotel managers, detectives, carnival barkers, and manservants.[citation needed] Today's audiences know him as the enthusiastic diction coach in Singin' in the Rain (1952)[4] and Fred Astaire's butler in The Band Wagon (1953).

Watson also wrote for, and performed on, radio programs.[5]

As Hitler

Watson bore a resemblance to Adolf Hitler,[citation needed] which he played for laughs in a pair of wartime Hal Roach burlesques, The Devil with Hitler (1942) and Nazty Nuisance (1943). This typecast him as the dictator for a time; Watson would appear as Hitler in nine films altogether. He starred in one feature film, Paramount's The Hitler Gang (1944), a serious dramatization of Nazi politics, with the actor billed as Robert Watson. Watson also impersonated Hitler in Hitler – Dead or Alive (1942), The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944), A Foreign Affair (1948), The Story of Mankind (1957), On the Double (1961), and Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1962).

Watson died in Los Angeles in 1965 at age 76. He is buried in the Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois.[citation needed]

Selected filmography

Robert Watson as Adolf Hitler and Poldi Dur as Geli Raubal in The Hitler Gang (1944)


  1. ^ Hess, Earl J.; Dabholkar, Pratibha A. (2009). Singin' in the Rain: The Making of an American Masterpiece. University Press of Kansas. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-7006-1656-5. Retrieved September 21, 2022.
  2. ^ "Song-and-dance man plays 'Hitler'". The Birmingham News. September 23, 1961. p. 9. Retrieved September 21, 2022 – via
  3. ^ "Bobby Watson". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on December 20, 2021. Retrieved April 30, 2022.
  4. ^ Ericson, Hal. "Bobby Watson", All Movie Guide, accessed March 4, 2013,
  5. ^ "'Irene' good to lift mortgages, says actor". Los Angeles Times. June 7, 1931. p. 39. Retrieved September 21, 2022 – via

External links

This page was last edited on 21 September 2022, at 18:10
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