What a memorable character actor. He graced comedies, and dramas, and occasionally musicals! He sang and danced with Betty Grable in 1934’s The Gay Divorcee. He made scores of films and his voice was as famous as his face.
And, he predated the many multi-named personalities that came in his wake — think Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tommy Lee Jones, Lisa Marie Presley and Jan Micheal Vincent, just to name a few.
Edward Everett Horton was born in Brooklyn in 1886, and made it onstage by 1906. He made his movie debut in the silents in 1922, and handily made the transition to “talkies” by the early Thirties, a decade in which he flourished.
Among his Thirties pictures:
There he is with Fred Astaire in 1935’s Top Hat.
And he’s the guy in the middle in 1937’s Lost Horizon.
Fact is that Horton was the prototypical Hollywood character actor in the Thirties and Forties, working in a ton of pictures. Over a period of nearly a half century, he rolled up some 180 movie and tv credits. He was a master of double and triple comedy takes.
Horton died in 1970 at the age of 84 of cancer. He never married, lived with his ailing morhter and for a long time with his companion, actor Gavin Gordon, who was 15 years Horton’s junior.
His credo: I have my own little kingdom. I do the scavenger parts no one else wants and I get well paid for it.