So how much did you really know about one of the screen’s most endearing characters? So endearing that Jack Warner dubbed him “Cuddles.”
And much to the chagrin of S.Z. Sakall, one of classic Hollywood’s favorite character actors, the designation stuck. Yesterday’s mini-quiz was designed to provide the basics about Sakall and his surprisingly prolific career covering more than 100 credits both in Europe and in Hollywood.
Let’s get to the answers to yesterday’s quiz questions. To refresh yourselves on those, just scroll down to the blog below. Here we go:
1) Answer: “Cuddles” real name was b) Szoke Sakall, or S.Z. Sakall.
2) Answer: He was nicknamed “Cuddles” by Jack Warner, as mentioned. The studio mogul may have been at least slightly grateful for Sakall’s small, audience-winning portrayal of “Carl” the head waiter at “Rick’s Cafe Americain” in Casablanca, Warner Bros.’ mighty 1942 classic with Humphrey Bogart. In any case, Sakall disliked the nickname but was stuck with it. The answer here is a) Sakall was a master at playing often confused but lovable characters.
3) Answer: Sakall did NOT appear in d) Passage To Marseille, a 1944 thriller set in World War II and starring Bogart. “Cuddles” played a lecherous producer in 1942’s Yankee Doodle Dandy starring James Cagney, and a music store proprietor in 1949’s In The Good Old Summertime costarring Judy Garland and Van Johnson.
4) Answer: Sakall’s was born in c) Budapest, Hungry in 1883. He died in Hollywood in 1955 at age 72.
5) Answer: As far as we know, Sakall never appeared onscreen with d) 20th Century Fox star Linda Darnell. He made at least two movies with Barbara Stanwyck including 1941’s Ball of Fire. With Doris Day, he appeared at least three times including in 1948’s Romance on the High Seas, her movie debut. With Dianna Durbin he made 1940’s It’s A Date, his Hollywood movie debut.
By the way, Sakall didn’t particularly care for his head waiter role in Casablanca, and turned down an initial offer. After some salary negotiation, he joined the cast and wound up having more screen time in the picture than fellow supporting actors Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet.