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J. Carrol Naish

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

J. Carrol Naish
Naish as Luigi Basco in the radio program Life with Luigi (1950)
Joseph Patrick Carrol Naish

(1896-01-21)January 21, 1896
New York City, U.S.
DiedJanuary 24, 1973(1973-01-24) (aged 77)
Resting placeCalvary Cemetery, East Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active1926–1971
Gladys Heaney
(m. 1929)

Joseph Patrick Carrol Naish (January 21, 1896 – January 24, 1973) was an American actor. He appeared in over 200 films during the Golden Age of Hollywood.

He became a dialect specialist, and was called upon to play character roles of many nationalities, including Southern European (especially Italian), Eastern European, Latin American, Native American, Middle Eastern, South Asian, East Asian, Pacific Islander—even African American, which earned him the moniker "Hollywood's one-man U.N."[1] His own heritage was Irish but he rarely played Irish characters, explaining, "When the part of an Irishman comes along, nobody ever thinks of me."[a]

Naish received two Oscar nominations for his supporting roles in the films Sahara (1943) and A Medal for Benny (1945), the latter of which also earned him a Golden Globe. He was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.

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Early life

Naish was born in New York City on January 21, 1896.[2] According to the actor's 1945 resumé, he was educated at St. Cecilia's Academy in New York City, and appeared on stage in Paris and New York before beginning his screen career.[3]


Although he played an uncredited bit role in the silent film What Price Glory? (1926), Naish said his screen career didn't actually begin until 1930, when stage actors were being recruited for the new talking pictures.[4] He became a prolific supporting actor, appearing in more than 200 films. He was twice nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the first for his role as Giuseppe in the movie Sahara (1943), in which he delivers the propaganda speech:

Mussolini is not so clever like Hitler, he can dress up his Italians only to look like thieves, cheats, murderers, he cannot like Hitler make them feel like that. He cannot like Hitler scrape from their conscience the knowledge right is right and wrong is wrong, or dig holes in their heads to plant his own Ten Commandments- Steal from thy neighbor, Cheat thy neighbor, Kill thy neighbor! But are my eyes blind that I must fall to my knees to worship a maniac who has made of my country a concentration camp, who has made of my people slaves? Must I kiss the hand that beats me, lick the boot that kicks me? NO!

The second was for his performance as the title character's Hispanic father in the movie A Medal for Benny (1945).[5] For the latter film, he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture.

J. Carrol Naish from a trailer for the film Hit the Deck (1955)

He often played villains, from gangsters in numerous Paramount pictures to mad scientists, such as Dr. Daka in Columbia's Batman serial. In this screen adaptation of the comic book, Naish was originally cast as The Joker, but was recast as a Japanese supervillain suitable to the patriotic wartime plotline.

In the 1940s Naish was a supporting character in a number of horror films. He played Boris Karloff's assistant in House of Frankenstein (1944).

On radio, Naish starred as Luigi Basco on the popular CBS program Life with Luigi (1948–1953).[6] Luigi's popularity resulted in a CBS television series of the same name, with Naish reprising his role.[7]

Three generations of Naishes in 1952. Seated is Patrick Naish; standing are his son, J. Carrol, and granddaughter, Elaine. Elaine Naish was an actress who often played supporting roles on Life With Luigi.

In 1955, Naish originated the role of Alfieri in the one-act, verse version of Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge on Broadway, also starring Van Heflin and Eileen Heckart.[8]

In 1957–1958, Naish played the lead role in the television series The New Adventures of Charlie Chan. Speaking in 2023, co-star James Hong said Naish held "a deep prejudice" and in a racist outburst had him fired from the series just because Hong had missed a single line.[9]

Naish worked mostly in guest roles on television through the 1960s; his most recent motion picture credit was from 1964. In 1971, the 75-year-old actor was coaxed out of retirement by producer and horror-film enthusiast Samuel M. Sherman to replace the recently deceased Paul Lukas in a new big-screen thriller, Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971). Naish played a descendant of the original Dr. Frankenstein, who takes to murdering young women for experimentation in hopes of reviving his ancestor's creation. His mute assistant was played by Lon Chaney Jr.. Dracula vs. Frankenstein was the last film of both Naish and Chaney.

Personal life

Naish was married (from 1929 until his death) to actress Gladys Heaney; they had one daughter, Elaine.[1]


Naish retired to San Diego and died of emphysema on January 24, 1973, at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California, three days after his 77th birthday.[10] He is interred at Calvary Cemetery in East Los Angeles, California.[11] For his contributions to television, he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6145 Hollywood Boulevard.[10]


Year Title Role Notes
1926 What Price Glory French Soldier Uncredited
1930 Cheer Up and Smile Bit Part Uncredited
1931 The Royal Bed Laker Credited as Carrol Naish
1931 Gun Smoke Mink Gordon
1931 Surrender French Prisoner of War Uncredited
1931 Tonight or Never Radio Announcer Uncredited
1931 The Finger Points Phone Voice ("The Finger is on You") Uncredited
1932 The Hatchet Man Sun Yat Ming Credited as J. Carroll Naish
Alternative title: The Honorable Mr. Wong
1932 The Beast of the City Cholo
1932 No Living Witness Nick
1932 The Mouthpiece Tony Rocco Credited as J. Carroll Naish
1932 The Famous Ferguson Case Claude Wright
1932 Two Seconds Tony Credited as J. Carroll Naish
1932 Crooner Nick Meyer
1932 Big City Blues Bootlegger Uncredited
1932 Tiger Shark Tony Credited as J. Carroll Naish
1932 The Kid from Spain Pedro
1932 Frisco Jenny Ed Harris Uncredited
1933 No Other Woman Bonelli
1933 The Past of Mary Holmes Gary Kent
1933 Infernal Machine Bryan Uncredited
1933 Central Airport Drunk in wreck Uncredited
1933 The World Gone Mad Ramon Salvadore
1933 Elmer, the Great Jerry Credited as J. Carroll Naish
1933 The Devil's in Love Salazar
1933 Arizona to Broadway Tommy Monk
1933 Captured! Cpl. Guarand Credited as J. Carroll Naish
1933 Ann Vickers Dr. Sorelle Credited as J. Carroll Naish
1933 The Mad Game Chopper Allen
1933 Havana Widows First Taxi Driver Uncredited
1933 The Mystery Squadron Collins Film serial
1934 Upper World Lou Colima Credited as J. Carroll Naish
1934 What's Your Racket? Dick Graves
1934 Murder in Trinidad Duval
1934 One Is Guilty Jack Allen
1934 British Agent Commissioner of War Trotsky Credited as J. Carroll Naish
1934 Maria Galante French Sailor Painting Ship Uncredited
1934 The President Vanishes Anti-War Demonstrator Uncredited
1935 The Lives of a Bengal Lancer Grand Vizier
1935 Black Fury Steve Croner
1935 Front Page Woman Robert Cardoza Credited as J. Carroll Naish
1935 The Crusades Arab Slave Dealer Uncredited
1935 Little Big Shot Bert Credited as J. Carroll Naish
1935 Special Agent Joe Durell Credited as J. Carroll Naish
1935 Confidential 'Lefty' Tate
1935 Captain Blood Cahusac Credited as J. Carroll Naish
1936 Two in the Dark Burt Mansfield
1936 Exclusive Story Comos
1936 Robin Hood of El Dorado Three-Fingered Jack
1936 Charlie Chan at the Circus Tom Holt
1936 Moonlight Murder Bejac
1936 Absolute Quiet Pedro
1936 Special Investigator Edward J. Selton
1936 Anthony Adverse Maj. Doumet Credited as J. Carroll Naish
1936 Ramona Juan Can
1936 The Charge of the Light Brigade Subahdar-Major Puran Singh
1936 Exclusive Story Comos
1936 Crack-Up Operative #77
1937 Border Cafe Rocky Alton
1937 Think Fast, Mr. Moto Adram
1937 Hideaway Mike Clarke
1937 Sea Racketeers Harry Durant
1937 Bulldog Drummond Comes Back Mikhail Valdin
1937 Thunder Trail Rafael Lopez
1937 Daughter of Shanghai Frank Barden
1938 Her Jungle Love Kuasa
1938 Bulldog Drummond in Africa Richard Lane
1938 King of Alcatraz Steve Murkil
1939 Persons in Hiding Freddie 'Gunner' Martin
1939 Hotel Imperial Kuprin
1939 Beau Geste Rasinoff
1939 Island of Lost Men Gregory Prin
1940 Typhoon Mekaike
1940 Queen of the Mob George Frost
1940 Golden Gloves Joe Taggerty
1940 Down Argentine Way Casiano
1941 Mr. Dynamite Professor
1941 That Night in Rio Machado
1941 Blood and Sand Garabato
1941 Accent on Love Manuel Lombroso
1941 Forced Landing Andros Banshek
1941 Birth of the Blues Blackie
1941 The Corsican Brothers Lorenzo
1942 A Gentleman at Heart Gigi
1942 Sunday Punch Matt Bassler
1942 Dr. Broadway Jack Venner
1942 Jackass Mail Signor Michel O'Sullivan
1942 The Pied Piper Aristide Rougeron
1942 Tales of Manhattan Costello
1942 Dr. Renault's Secret Noel
1943 Batman Dr. Tito Daka/Prince Daka Film serial
1943 Behind the Rising Sun Reo Seki
1943 Sahara Giuseppe Nominated: Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
1943 Calling Dr. Death Inspector Gregg
1943 Gung Ho! Lt. C.J. Cristoforos
1944 Voice in the Wind Luigi
1944 The Whistler The Killer
1944 The Monster Maker Dr. Igor Markoff
1944 Jungle Woman Dr. Carl Fletcher
1944 Waterfront Dr. Karl Decker
1944 Dragon Seed Japanese Kitchen Overseer
1944 Enter Arsène Lupin Ganimard
1944 House of Frankenstein Daniel
1945 A Medal for Benny Charley Martin Won: Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Nominated: Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
1945 The Southerner Devers
1945 Strange Confession Roger Graham Alternative title: The Missing Head
1945 Star in the Night Nick Catapoli Short film
1945 Getting Gertie's Garter Charles, the butler
1946 Bad Bascomb Bart Yancy
1946 The Beast with Five Fingers Police Commissario Ovidio Castanio
1946 Humoresque Rudy Boray
1947 Carnival in Costa Rica Papa Rico Molina
1947 The Fugitive A Police Informer
1948 Joan of Arc John, Count of Luxembourg (Joan's captor)
1948 The Kissing Bandit Chico
1949 Canadian Pacific Dynamite Dawson
1949 That Midnight Kiss Papa Donnetti
1950 Black Hand Louis Lorelli
1950 Please Believe Me "Lucky" Reilly
1950 Annie Get Your Gun Chief Sitting Bull
1950 The Toast of New Orleans Nicky Duvalle
1950 Rio Grande Lt. Gen. Philip Sheridan
1951 The Mark of the Renegade Luis
1951 Across the Wide Missouri Looking Glass
1951 Bannerline Frankie Scarbine
1952 Denver and Rio Grande Gil Harkness
1952 Clash by Night Uncle Vince
1952 Ride the Man Down Sheriff Joe Kneen
1952 The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima Narrator Uncredited
1953 Fighter Attack Bruno
1953 Beneath the 12-Mile Reef Socrates "Soc" Houlis
1954 Saskatchewan Batouche
1954 Sitting Bull Sitting Bull
1955 New York Confidential Ben Dagajanian
1955 Hit the Deck Mr. Peroni
1955 Rage at Dawn Simeon "Sim" Reno
1955 Violent Saturday Chapman, Bank Robber
1955 The Last Command General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana
1955 Desert Sands Sgt. Diepel
1956 Rebel in Town Bedloe Mason
1956 Yaqui Drums Yacqi Jack
1957 This Could Be the Night Leon
1957 The Young Don't Cry Plug
1961 Force of Impulse Antonio Marino
1971 Dracula vs. Frankenstein Dr. Frankenstein, aka Dr. Duryea
Year Title Role Notes
1952–1953 Life with Luigi Luigi Basco Unknown episodes
1956 Climax! Mr. Combie Episode: "An Episode of Sparrows"
1956 The Alcoa Hour Murillo Episode: "Key Largo"
1956 Crossroads Rabbi Arnold Fischel 2 episodes, including "The White Carnation"
1957–1958 The New Adventures of Charlie Chan Charlie Chan 39 episodes
1957 The Texan Walt Pierce Episode: "The First Notch"
1958 Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse Papa Episode: "My Father, the Fool"
1958 Wanted: Dead or Alive Miguel Ramierez Episode: "Ricochet"
1958 Cimarron City Rare Crowder Episode: "The Blood Line"
1959 The Restless Gun Maj. Quint Langley Episode: "Blood of Courage"
1959 Whirlybirds Taylor Episode: "Two of a Kind"
1959–1960 Wagon Train Various roles ' The Old Man Charvanaugh Story '; 'The Benjamin Burns Story '
1960 The Untouchables Joe Bucco Episode: "The Noise of Death"
1960–1961 Guestward, Ho! Hawkeye 38 episodes
1963 Route 66 Mike Donato Episode: "And Make Thunder His Tribute"
1964 The Hanged Man Uncle Picaud Television film
1964 Burke's Law Mr. Toto Episode: "Who Killed Supersleuth?"
1965 I Dream of Jeannie Bilejik Episode: "Djinn and Water"
1966 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Uncle Giuliano Episode: "The Super-Colossal Affair"
1967 Green Acres Chief Yellow Horse Episode: "It's So Peaceful in the Country"
1969 Bonanza Anselmo Episode: "A Severe Case of Matrimony"
1968 Get Smart Sam Vittorio Episode: "The Secret of Sam Vittorio"

Radio broadcasts

Year Program Episode/source
1945 Suspense "Footfalls"[12]
1946 The Fifth Horseman Aftermath
1952 Suspense Treasure Hunt[13]
1953 Family Theater Two Tickets for Stockholm[14]


  1. ^ He did, however, play the Irish-American General Sheridan in Rio Grande.
  1. ^ a b "Character Actor J. Carrol Naish Dies". The Washington Post. January 27, 1973. p. B10. Among the hundreds of roles he played over the years...were members of enough nationalities to win him the title of 'Hollywood's one-man U.N.'
  2. ^ Arnold, Mark (2023). Stars of Walt Disney Productions. Orlando, Fla.: Bear Manor Media. p. 2017. ISBN 9798887710723.
  3. ^ Naish's professional profile, published in International Motion Picture Almanac, 1945-46 Edition, New York: Quigley Publishing, 1945, p. 279.
  4. ^ Naish's professional profile, 1945.
  5. ^ Thise, Mark (2008). Hollywood Winners & Losers A to Z. Limelight Editions/Hal Leonard. p. 130. ISBN 978-0-87910-351-4.
  6. ^ Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. pp. 397–398. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3.
  7. ^ Candeloro, Dominic L. (2011). "What Luigi Basco Taught America About Italian Americans". In Connell, William J.; Gardaphé, Fred (eds.). Anti-Italianism: Essays on a Prejudice. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-230-31636-2.
  8. ^ ​J. Carrol Naish​ at the Internet Broadway Database
  9. ^ Lee, Ann (March 6, 2023). "'This is my chance!' Everything Everywhere's James Hong on bullying, 'yellowface' and his big break – at 94: Interview". The Guardian. Retrieved March 6, 2023.
  10. ^ a b Rawitch, Robert (January 27, 1973). "J. Carrol Naish". Hollywood Star Walk. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
  11. ^ Mank, Gregory William (January 12, 2018). Laird Cregar: A Hollywood Tragedy. McFarland. p. 253. ISBN 978-1-4766-2844-8.
  12. ^ "Suspense – Footfalls". Escape and Suspense!. August 22, 2010. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  13. ^ Kirby, Walter (February 3, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 40. Retrieved June 3, 2015 – via access icon
  14. ^ Kirby, Walter (March 1, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 46. Retrieved June 23, 2015 – via access icon

External links

This page was last edited on 24 April 2024, at 20:07
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