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Joseph Cawthorn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Joseph Cawthorn
Cawthorn in 1914
Joseph Bridger Cawthorn

(1868-03-29)March 29, 1868
New York City, U.S.
DiedJanuary 21, 1949(1949-01-21) (aged 80)
Years active1872–1942
(m. 1902)

Joseph Bridger Cawthorn (March 29, 1868 – January 21, 1949) was an American stage and film comic actor.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Young and Beautiful (1934) | Comedy Film | William Haines, Judith Allen, Joseph Cawthorn
  • DANCE HALL- (1929) Arthur Lake, Olive Borden, Joseph Cawthorn
  • KIKI- (1931) Mary Pickford, Reginald Denny, Joseph Cawthorn



Born on March 29, 1868, in New York City[1] to a minstrel-show family, Cawthorn started out in show business as a child, debuting at Robinson's Music Hall in New York in 1872.[2] He appeared in minstrel shows and vaudeville as a "Dutch" comic, employing a thick German dialect.[3] He later worked in British music halls and American touring companies.

Cawthorn made his Broadway debut in 1895,[4] 1897[3] or 1898,[5] and embarked on a long career lasting over two decades. His first success was playing Boris in Victor Herbert's 1898 operetta The Fortune Teller. Other notable Broadway roles included the title character in Mother Goose (1903) and inventor Dr. Pill in the fantasy musical Little Nemo (1908). In the latter, he was called upon to ad lib to buy time during one performance while a problem backstage was dealt with. As "the scene called for him to describe imaginary animals he had hunted", he invented the "whiffenpoof" on the spot.[3] Yale students in the audience appropriated it for the name of their glee club.[3]

When his Broadway stardom waned, Cawthorn moved to Hollywood in 1927 and started a second prolific career, appearing in over 50 films, the last in 1942. He played Gremio in the first sound adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew in 1929, starring Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks; Schultz in Gold Diggers of 1935; and Florenz Ziegfeld's father in The Great Ziegfeld (1936).

He was Queenie Vassar's third husband; they were married from 1902 to his death.[6]

Cawthorn died on January 21, 1949, at age 80, in Beverly Hills, California.[5] He is buried in Hollywood Forever cemetery.[1]

Complete filmography


  1. ^ a b Ellenberger, Allan R. (May 1, 2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-7864-5019-0. Retrieved July 16, 2022.
  2. ^ Cullen, Frank; Hackman, Florence; McNeilly, Donald (October 16, 2006). Vaudeville, Old and New: An Encyclopedia of Variety Performers in America. Psychology Press. p. 208. ISBN 9780415938532. Retrieved June 18, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d Hischak, Thomas S. (2008). The Oxford Companion to the American Musical: Theatre, Film, and Television. Oxford University Press. p. 138. ISBN 978-0-19-533533-0. Retrieved June 15, 2011.
  4. ^ "Joseph Cawthorn Biography". Retrieved June 15, 2011.
  5. ^ a b Joseph Cawthorn at the Internet Broadway Database
  6. ^ "Queenie Vassar to Wed Cawthorn" New York Times (June 1, 1902).

External links

This page was last edited on 26 February 2024, at 11:15
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