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Frank McHugh
From trailer for Four Daughters (1938)
Francis Curry McHugh

(1898-05-23)May 23, 1898
DiedSeptember 11, 1981(1981-09-11) (aged 83)
Occupation(s)Actor of stage, radio, film, and television
Years active1925–1969
Dorothy Spencer McHugh
(m. 1933)
RelativesMatt McHugh (older brother)
Kitty McHugh (sister)
The Roaring Twenties (1939) with McHugh, James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart
Red Skelton, Carol Sydes and McHugh on The Red Skelton Show, 1959

Francis Curry McHugh (May 23, 1898 – September 11, 1981)[1] was an American stage, radio, film and television actor.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • 1933 MYSTERY! Tomorrow at 7 - GREAT Cast~Chester Morris Vivienne Osborne Frank McHugh Allen Jenkins
  • Frank McHugh- 'Funny Moments Montage'
  • It Happens Every Thursday (1953) - Comedy/Drama - Frank McHugh, John Forsythe & Loretta Young
  • Frank McHugh Shoots The Finger In 1933): "Parachute Jumper" (Pre-Code)
  • RÓISE & FRANK TRAILER - In Cinemas September 16th


Early years

Born in Homestead, Pennsylvania, of Irish descent, McHugh came from a theatrical family.[2] His parents, Edward A. "Cutie" McHugh and Katherine Curry "Katie" McHugh, ran the McHugh stock theater company in Braddock, Pennsylvania.[3] As a young child he performed on stage. His brother Matt and sister Kitty performed in an act with him by the time he was 10 years old, but the family quit the stage around 1930.[4] Another brother, Ed, became a stage manager and agent in New York.[5][6]


Leaving the family stage company at age 17, McHugh went to Pittsburgh as leading man and stage manager at the Empire Theater there. He spent nine years in stock companies and road troupes before appearing on Broadway.[7]

McHugh debuted on Broadway in The Fall Guy, written by George Abbott and James Gleason in 1925.[7] He also appeared in Show Girl (1929), a musical.[8] In that same year, he made his first film, If Men Played Cards as Women Do, a short produced by Paramount.[3] First National Pictures hired him as a contract player in January 1930.[7]

McHugh played everything from leading man to sidekick. He often provided comic relief, particularly as genial—or obnoxious—inebriates. A wheezy, drawn-out mocking laugh, accompanied by a waving, admonitory finger, was his trademark. McHugh had heterochromia; his left eye was brown and his right eye was blue. In All Through the Night, a contact lens placed on his left eye for color balance instead resembled a cataract. He appeared in more than 150 films and television productions and worked with almost every star at Warner Bros. A close friend of James Cagney's, he appeared in more Cagney movies than any other actor—eleven films between 1932 and 1953. Their friendship lasted until McHugh's death.[citation needed]

Cast as Father Timothy O'Dowd in the 1944 Bing Crosby film, Going My Way, McHugh later played William Jennings Depew in the 1962 episode "Keep an Eye on Santa Claus" in the ABC television series, Going My Way, starring Gene Kelly, and loosely based on the earlier film.

From 1954 to 1956, he starred in the radio program Hotel For Pets.[9] By the 1950s, his film career had begun to decline, as evinced by his smaller role in the 1959 film Career.

From 1964 to 1965, he played Willie Walters, a live-in handyman in the 27-episode ABC sitcom The Bing Crosby Show, which reunited him once again onscreen with Bing Crosby. The show also co-starred Beverly Garland. McHugh's last feature film role was as a comical "sea captain" in the 1967 Elvis Presley caper film Easy Come, Easy Go. McHugh's last television appearance was as handyman Charlie Wingate in "The Fix-It Man", an episode of CBS's Lancer Western series,[3] which starred Andrew Duggan.

On radio, McHugh had the role of Fairchild Finnegan in Phone Again, Finnegan (1946–1947).[10] He also co-starred in Hotel for Pets (1954–1956).[10]: 365 

McHugh belonged to a group of friends, known in Hollywood as the "Irish Mafia", that included his close friends James Cagney, Pat O’Brien and Spencer Tracy, as well as fellow actors Allen Jenkins, Ralph Bellamy, Frank Morgan,[11] and Lynne Overman.[12]

World War II

During World War II, McHugh joined the Hollywood Victory Caravan, a group that included 21 stars traveling around the country on a special train, performing in several cities over the course of three weeks in 1942 to raise money for the Army and Navy Relief Society. He followed that with a USO tour of England, appearing in the American Variety Show with Al Jolson, Merle Oberon, Patricia Morison and Allen Jenkins.[13]

McHugh returned to Europe with a USO show created by him, “McHugh’s Revue,” which toured France, Holland, Belgium and Germany in November and December of 1944. McHugh, four beautiful girls (actresses Mary Brian, June Clyde, Charlotte Greer and Nina Nova) and piano-player Eddie Eisman toured the front line, entertaining and meeting the troops. The McHugh Papers at the New York Public Library include many accounts of the tour. For his work with the USO, McHugh received a citation “for exceptionally meritorious service while working as a member of an entertainment unit” from the U.S. Army, signed by Major General Raymond S. McLain. In a 1945 letter to McHugh and his troupe, McLain wrote:

“I want to make of record what I was glad to say to each of you when you left and what many of the command said to you then and what they have said to me since — “That your show was like an oasis in this desert of hardship and suffering”. It reminded us what a vital factor a bit of entertainment is in this business where boredom is almost as difficult to bear as the hardships of the campaign. Your show was sparkling, and left a refreshing atmosphere in the spirit of many battle weary soldiers.”[2]

Personal life and death

McHugh was married to Dorothy McHugh (née Spencer) from 1933 until his death.[4] They had three children[3] and two grandchildren.[citation needed]

On September 11, 1981, McHugh died in Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, Connecticut at age 83.[14]


Year Film Role Director Notes
1929 If Men Played Cards as Women Do 3rd Card Player
1930 The Dawn Patrol Flaherty Howard Hawks
1930 Top Speed Tad Jordan Mervyn LeRoy
1930 Bright Lights A. Hamilton Fish, a reporter Michael Curtiz
1930 College Lovers Speed Haskins John G. Adolfi
1930 The Widow from Chicago Slug O'Donnell Edward F. Cline
1930 Going Wild 'Ricky' Freeman William A. Seiter
1930 Kiss Me Again Francois William A. Seiter
1931 Millie John Holmes John Francis Dillon
1931 The Front Page McCue Lewis Milestone
1931 Up for Murder Collins Monta Bell
1931 Men of the Sky Alfred E. Green
1931 That's News to Me
1931 Traveling Husbands Pinkie Charles Kerr (assistant)
1931 The Hot Spot Peter Burke
1931 The Great Junction Hotel Peeping Tom
1931 Bad Company Doc - Henchman Tay Garnett
1931 The Big Scoop
1931 Corsair 'Chub' Hopping Roland West
1931 The Wide Open Spaces Matt - a Gambler
1932 Union Depot The Drunk Alfred E. Green
1932 High Pressure Mike Donahey Mervyn LeRoy
1932 Extra! Extra!
1932 The Crowd Roars Spud Connors Howard Hawks
1932 The Strange Love of Molly Louvain Skeets - a Reporter Michael Curtiz
1932 The Dark Horse Joe Alfred E. Green
1932 Blessed Event Reilly Roy Del Ruth
1932 Life Begins Ringer Banks James Flood
1932 One Way Passage Skippy Tay Garnett
1933 Parachute Jumper Toodles Cooper Alfred E. Green
1933 Mystery of the Wax Museum Jim Michael Curtiz
1933 Grand Slam Philip 'Speed' McCann Alfred E. Green
1933 The Telegraph Trail Corporal Tippy Tenny Wright
1933 Private Jones 'Greasy' - the Cook Russell Mack
1933 Elmer, the Great Healy High-Hips Mervyn LeRoy
1933 Lilly Turner David 'Dave' Dixon William A. Wellman
1933 Ex-Lady Hugo Van Hugh Robert Florey
1933 Hold Me Tight Billy David Butler
1933 Tomorrow at Seven Clancy Ray Enright
1933 Professional Sweetheart Speed Dennis William A. Seiter
1933 Footlight Parade Francis Busby Berkeley
(musical numbers)
1933 Havana Widows Duffy Ray Enright
1933 Son of a Sailor 'Gaga' Lloyd Bacon
1933 The House on 56th Street Chester Hunt Robert Florey
1933 Convention City Will Goodwin Archie Mayo
1934 Not Tonight, Josephine Napoleon
1934 Fashions of 1934 Snap William Dieterle
1934 Heat Lightning Frank - the chauffeur Mervyn LeRoy
1934 Merry Wives of Reno Al H. Bruce Humberstone
1934 Let's Be Ritzy Bill Damroy Robert Edward Ludwig
1934 Smarty George Lancaster Robert Florey
1934 Return of the Terror Joe Hastings Howard Bretherton
1934 Here Comes the Navy Droopy Lloyd Bacon
1934 Happiness Ahead Tom Mervyn LeRoy
1934 6 Day Bike Rider Clinton Hemmings Lloyd Bacon
1935 Maybe It's Love Willie Sands William C. McGann
1935 Devil Dogs of the Air Crash Kelly Lloyd Bacon
1935 Gold Diggers of 1935 Humbolt Prentiss Busby Berkeley
1935 The Irish in Us Mike O'Hara Lloyd Bacon
1935 Page Miss Glory Ed Olson Mervyn LeRoy
1935 A Midsummer Night's Dream Quince - the Carpenter
1935 Stars Over Broadway Offkey Cramer William Keighley
1936 Freshman Love Coach Hammond William McGann
1936 Moonlight Murder William Edwin L. Marin
1936 Snowed Under Orlando Rowe Ray Enright
1936 Bullets or Ballots Herman McCloskey William Keighley
1936 Stage Struck Sid Busby Berkeley
1936 Three Men on a Horse Erwin Trowbridge Mervyn LeRoy (uncredited)
1937 Ever Since Eve 'Mabel' DeCraven Lloyd Bacon
1937 Marry the Girl David 'Party' Partridge William C. McGann
1937 Mr. Dodd Takes the Air 'Sniffer' Sears Alfred E. Green
1937 Submarine D-1 'Lucky' Lloyd Bacon
1938 Swing Your Lady Popeye Ray Enright
1938 He Couldn't Say No Lambert T. Hunkins Lewis Seiler
1938 Little Miss Thoroughbred Tod Harrington John Farrow
1938 Four Daughters Ben Crowley Michael Curtiz
1938 Boy Meets Girl Rossetti Lloyd Bacon
1938 Valley of the Giants 'Fingers' McCarthy William Keighley
1939 Wings of the Navy Scat Allen Lloyd Bacon
1939 Dodge City Joe Clemens Michael Curtiz
1939 Daughters Courageous George Michael Curtiz
1939 Indianapolis Speedway 'Spud' Connors Lloyd Bacon
1939 Dust Be My Destiny Caruthers Lewis Seiler
1939 On Your Toes Paddy Reilly
1939 The Roaring Twenties Danny Green Raoul Walsh
1939 Four Wives Ben Crowley Michael Curtiz
1940 The Fighting 69th 'Crepe Hanger' Burke William Keighley
1940 Alex in Wonderland Narrator (voice, uncredited)
1940 Virginia City Mr. Upjohn Michael Curtiz
1940 'Til We Meet Again Rockingham T. Rockingham William K. Howard
1940 I Love You Again 'Doc' Ryan W.S. Van Dyke
1940 City for Conquest 'Mutt' Jean Negulesco (uncredited)
1941 Four Mothers Ben Crowley William Keighley
1941 Back Street Ed Porter Robert Stevenson
1941 Manpower Omaha Raoul Walsh
1942 All Through the Night Barney Vincent Sherman
1942 Her Cardboard Lover Chappie Champagne George Cukor
1944 Going My Way Father Timothy O'Dowd Leo McCarey
1944 Marine Raiders Sgt. Louis Leary Robert Wise (additional scenes)
1944 Bowery to Broadway Joe Kirby Charles Lamont
1945 A Medal for Benny Edgar Lovekin Irving Pichel
1945 State Fair McGee Walter Lang
1946 The Hoodlum Saint Three Finger Norman Taurog
1946 The Runaround Wally Quayle Charles Lamont
1946 Little Miss Big Charlie Bryan Erle C. Kenton
1947 Easy Come Easy Go Carey John Farrow
1947 Carnegie Hall John Donovan Edgar G. Ulmer
1948 The Velvet Touch Ernie Boyle Jack Gage
1949 Mighty Joe Young Windy Ernest B. Schoedsack
1949 Miss Grant Takes Richmond Mr. Kilcoyne Lloyd Bacon
1950 Paid in Full Ben - Bartender William Dieterle
1950 The Tougher They Come Gig Rafferty
1952 The Pace That Thrills Rocket Anderson Leon Barsha
1952 My Son John Father O'Dowd Leo McCarey
1953 It Happens Every Thursday Fred Hawley Joseph Pevney
1953 A Lion Is in the Streets Frank Rector Raoul Walsh
1954 There's No Business Like Show Business Eddie Dugan Walter Lang
1958 The Last Hurrah Festus Garvey John Ford
1959 Say One for Me Jim Dugan Frank Tashlin
1959 Career Charlie Gallagher Joseph Anthony
1961 The Spiral Staircase Constable Williams
1963 Inside Danny Baker Mr. Johansen
1964 A Tiger Walks Bill Watkins Norman Tokar
1967 Easy Come, Easy Go Captain Jack John Rich

Short subjects as himself:

  • An Intimate Dinner in Celebration of Warner Bros. Silver Jubilee (1930)
  • Hollywood Newsreel (1934) (uncredited)
  • A Dream Comes True (1935)
  • Screen Snapshots Series 15, No. 3 (1935)
  • Screen Snapshots Series 16, No. 1 (1936)
  • A Day at Santa Anita (1937)
  • Sunday Night at the Trocadero (1937)
  • Breakdowns of 1938 (1938)


  1. ^ U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.
  2. ^ a b "Frank McHugh: A Beloved Character Actor Who Played an Important Role in World War II". The New York Public Library. Retrieved 2019-10-07.
  3. ^ a b c d Dennis, Ken (Winter 2017–18). "Frank McHugh: Master of Mirth". Films of the Golden Age (91): 42–50.
  4. ^ a b Nollen, Scott A. (2014). Glenda Farrell: Hollywood's Hardboiled Dame. Midnight Marquee & BearManor Media. ISBN 978-1-9361-6847-7. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  5. ^ Ed A. McHugh at the Internet Broadway Database
  6. ^ "June DeLong". The Unsung Joe. July 16, 2010.
  7. ^ a b c "Warner and F.N. Players". Variety. June 25, 1930. p. 30. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
  8. ^ Hischak, Thomas S. (2008). The Oxford Companion to the American Musical. Oxford University Press. p. 482. ISBN 978-0-1953-3533-0. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  9. ^ Cox, Jim (July 17, 2009). The A to Z of American Radio Soap Operas. Scarecrow Press. p. 103. ISBN 978-0-8108-6349-1.
  10. ^ a b Terrace, Vincent (September 2, 2015). Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland. p. 272. ISBN 978-0-7864-4513-4.
  11. ^ Amory, Cleveland (August 26, 1942). "The Lifetime of James Cagney: The Gentle Force of a Strong Man". Boston Globe. ProQuest 1736051491. Even sitting with his closest friends at the regular weekly luncheon of the so-called 'Irish Mafia'—with actors Pat O'Brien, Spencer Tracy, Ralph Bellamy, Frank McHugh, Frank Morgan and others, probably the greatest group of storytellers in Hollywood history—he was not wholly there.
  12. ^ McCabe, John (1997). Cagney. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 128. ISBN 0-679-44607-9.
  13. ^ "Jolson, Merle Oberon, Et Al., 1st Show to Reach AEF". Variety. August 26, 1942. p. 1. ProQuest 1285805381. Al Jolson, Merle Oberon, Patricia Morison, Frank McHugh and Allen Jenkins made theatrical history, and marked another contribution to the war effort, by entertaining American troops 'somewhere in Ireland' Sunday Night. It was the same day as their arrival abroad by bomber plane.
  14. ^ "Frank McHugh, longtime character actor, is dead". Chicago Tribune. New York Times News Service. September 14, 1981. p. Section 3–27. Retrieved December 4, 2020 – via

External links

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