He was noted for playing ethnic characters, often Hispanics….
And get this: Naish never played Chinese detective Charlie Chan in the movies but did so in the 1958 tv series, The New Adventures of Charlie Chan.
He was twice nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar. He is remembered for his stirring anti-Mussolini speech (as Giuseppe) in 1943’s Sahara, staring Humphrey Bogart.
His second Oscar nomination was for the title character’s father — a Hispanic — in 1945’s A Medal For Benny. In a career that spanned more than five decades and included more than 200 movie and tv credits, Naish played Hindus, Mexicans, Japanese, Arabs, Jews , Italians, Poles and American Indians.
One nationality he never portrayed in films was an Irishman. Ironic, since he was in fact born Joseph Carrol Naish in New York in 1897, the son an Irish immigrant. He worked on the stage and in vaudeville before appearing in his first film in the mid Twenties.
For years he was a widely admired character actor playing villains and heavies, and he was often overlooked by the general moviegoing public. That changed late in his career when Naish became a household name playing the title character in both radio and tv versions of Life With Luigi. The actor died of emphysema at the age of 77 in 1973.
Final question: Could a career such as Naish’s be possible in these politically correct times?