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Edward Arnold (actor)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Edward Arnold
Edward Arnold 1941.JPG
Arnold in 1941
Günther Edward Arnold Schneider

(1890-02-18)February 18, 1890
DiedApril 26, 1956(1956-04-26) (aged 66)
Years active1907–1956
Spouse(s)Harriet Marshall (1917–1927)
Olive Emerson (1929–1949)
Cleo McLain (1951–1956; his death)
Children3 (with Harriet Marshall)
5th President of the Screen Actors Guild
In office
Preceded byRalph Morgan
Succeeded byJames Cagney

Günther Edward Arnold Schneider[1] (February 18, 1890 – April 26, 1956) was an American actor of the stage and screen.

Early life

Arnold was born on February 18, 1890, in Lower East Side of New York City, the son of German immigrants Elizabeth (Ohse) and Carl Schneider. His schooling came at the East Side Settlement House.[2]

Acting career

Arnold on the radio show Three Thirds of a Nation, May 6, 1942
Arnold on the radio show Three Thirds of a Nation, May 6, 1942


Arnold was interested in acting ever since he appeared on stage as Lorenzo in The Merchant of Venice at age 12. He made his professional stage debut in 1907 and had important roles in several plays on Broadway in the 1920s and 1930s. Among them is the 1927 revival of The Jazz Singer, with Arnold as the second lead to the star, George Jessel.


He found work as an extra for Essanay Studios and World Studios, before landing his first significant role in 1916's The Misleading Lady. He returned to the stage in 1919, and did not appear in movies again until his talkie debut in Okay America! (1932). He recreated one of his stage roles in one of his early films, Whistling in the Dark (1933). His role in the 1935 film Diamond Jim boosted him to stardom. He reprised the role of Diamond Jim Brady in the 1940 film Lillian Russell. He played a similar role in The Toast of New York (1937), another fictionalized version of real-life business chicanery, for which he was billed above Cary Grant on posters, with his name in much larger letters.

Arnold appeared in over 150 movies. Although he was labeled "box office poison" in 1938 by an exhibitor publication (he shared this dubious distinction with Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Mae West, Fred Astaire and Katharine Hepburn), he never lacked work. Rather than continue in leading man roles, he gave up losing weight and went after character parts instead. He said, "The bigger I got, the better character roles I received." He was so sought-after, he often worked on two pictures at once.

Arnold (left) with J. Carrol Naish; from the trailer for Annie Get Your Gun (1950)
Arnold (left) with J. Carrol Naish; from the trailer for Annie Get Your Gun (1950)

Arnold was expert as rogues and authority figures, and superb at combining the two as powerful villains quietly pulling strings. He was best known for his roles in Come and Get It (1936), Sutter's Gold (1936), the aforementioned The Toast of New York (1937), You Can't Take It with You (1938), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), Meet John Doe (1941), and a larger than life star turn as Daniel Webster in The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941). He was the first to portray Rex Stout's famous detective Nero Wolfe, starring in Meet Nero Wolfe (1936), based on the first novel in the series.

He played blind detective Duncan Maclain in two movies based on the novels by Baynard Kendrick, Eyes in the Night (1942) and The Hidden Eye (1945).

An image of Arnold made a posthumous appearance in the 1984 film Gremlins as the deceased husband (visible in a large framed photograph) of Mrs. Deagle, a character much like the rich, heartless characters Arnold was known for. Director Joe Dante mentioned that they received permission from Arnold's family to use his image.


From 1947 to 1953, Arnold starred in the ABC radio program Mr. President. He also played a lawyer, Mr. Reynolds, on The Charlotte Greenwood Show.[3] In 1953, he hosted Spotlight Story on the Mutual network.[4]


Arnold hosted Your Star Showcase, "a series of 52 half-hour television dramas ... released by Television Programs of America."[5] It was launched January 1, 1954, and ran in 1950 cities.[5] He co-starred in "Ever Since the Day", an episode of Ford Theatre on NBC.[6]

Personal life

Arnold was married three times: to Harriet Marshall (1917–1927), with whom he had three children—Elizabeth, Jane and William (who had a short movie career as Edward Arnold Jr.); to Olive Emerson (1929–1948), and to Cleo McLain (1951 until his death)

Arnold was president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1940 to 1942. In 1940, his autobiography Lorenzo Goes to Hollywood was published. He was the co-founder of the I Am an American Foundation.[clarification needed]

Starting in the 1940s, Arnold became involved in Republican politics and was mentioned as a possible candidate for the United States Senate. He lost a closely contested election for Los Angeles County Supervisor and said at the time that perhaps actors were not suited to run for political office.[citation needed]

Arnold supported Thomas Dewey in the 1944 United States presidential election.[7]

Arnold died at his home in Encino, California, at age 66, from a cerebral hemorrhage associated with atrial fibrillation. He was interred in the San Fernando Mission Cemetery.[8]


Midwestern University awarded Arnold an honorary Doctor of Letters degree on May 24, 1951.[2] He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6225 Hollywood Blvd.[9]


Radio appearances

Year Program Episode/source
1942 Philip Morris Playhouse The Maltese Falcon[10]


  1. ^ Franzen, Michael (June 17, 2019). Tagebuch der Geschichte der USA des 19. Jahrhunderts Band 8 1889 - 1899 [Diary of the History of the United States of the 19th Century: Volume 8 1889--1899] (in German). neobooks. ISBN 978-3-7485-9769-8.
  2. ^ a b "Edward Arnold Is Often Called 'Mr. President' In Private Life". Denton Record-Chronicle. February 3, 1952. p. 14. Retrieved August 18, 2015 – via
  3. ^ Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio (Revised ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 150. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. Retrieved December 24, 2020. The Charlotte Greenwood Show, situation comedy.
  4. ^ "MBS Sets Lineup for Program Plan" (PDF). Broadcasting. September 28, 1953. p. 73. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Release of Film Series Costing $1.85 Million" (PDF). Broadcasting. December 14, 1953. p. 37. Retrieved December 24, 2020.
  6. ^ "Production" (PDF). Broadcasting. October 12, 1953. p. 41. Retrieved December 24, 2020.
  7. ^ Critchlow, Donald T. (October 21, 2013). When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics. ISBN 978-1-1076-5028-2.
  8. ^ "Edward Arnold, Actor, Dies at 66". The New York Times. April 27, 1956. Retrieved December 24, 2020.
  9. ^ "Edward Arnold". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
  10. ^ "Arnold Is Playhouse Guest Star". Harrisburg Telegraph. August 8, 1942. p. 25. Retrieved August 18, 2015 – via

Further reading

  • Alistair, Rupert (2018). "Edward Arnold". The Name Below the Title : 65 Classic Movie Character Actors from Hollywood's Golden Age (softcover) (First ed.). Great Britain: Independently published. pp. 18–21. ISBN 978-1-7200-3837-5.
  • Arnold, Edward (1940). Lorenzo Goes to Hollywood: The Autobiography of Edward Arnold. New York: Liveright.

External links

This page was last edited on 14 October 2021, at 17:05
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