How much did you know about our man, Roland Young, pictured above as a young British actor on the rise?
Young was born in London in 1887 (he died in 1953 at age 65), and spent requisite periods on the London and Broadway stages (the latter from 1912) before landing in Hollywood at MGM in the late 1920’s. Among several titles, he was paired with Jeanette MacDonald in Don’t Bet On A Woman and Annabelle’s Affairs.
He again appeared with MacDonald and Maurice Chevalier in 1932’s One Hour With You. Young’s signature role — that of Cosmo Topper, the stuffy banker beset by the ghosts of his clients — came five years later. He worked steadily throughout the 1940’s including a stint in The Philadelphia Story, costarring Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and James Stewart.
Young was a familiar figure on radio in the 1940’s, and worked into the 1950’s on various episodic tv series including Studio One and Lux Video Theater. His CV includes appearances in four best picture Oscar nominees: One Hour With You, David Copperfield, Ruggles of Red Gap and The Philadelphia story.
Ok, on th answers to our Roland Young Quiz:
1) Question: Below is a shot of Young’s Topper costar. Can you name her? a) Constance Bennett; b) Billie Burke; c) Joan Blondell; or d) Hedda Hopper.
1) Answer: a) Constance Bennett.
2) Question: Young’s portrayal of stuffy banker Cosmo Topper was so popular that a 1941 sequel to 1937’s Topper was warranted, titled Topper Returns. Here (below) is a photo of our man getting the hair treatment from fellow cast member of the sequel. Who is she? a) Shelley Winters; b) Carole Landis; c) Billie Burke; or d) Joan Blondell.
2) Answer: d) Joan Blondell.
3) Question: Long after his stints in Topper, Young played key supporting roles in films starring Hollywood’s most famous actresses. Which one of the following was NOT included? a) Joan Crawford; b) Marlene Dietrich; c) Paulette Goddard; or d) Greta Garbo.
3) Answer: Sorry, another of our pesky trick questions. Young costarred with all four in the 1940’s.
4) Question: Young, born in London in 1987, and Charles Ruggles, born in Los Angeles the year before, are sometimes confused. Why? a) They are almost the same age; b) The actors broadly share the same comedy style; c) They physically resembled each other (see photo of Ruggles below); or d) They both played roles in the 1935 comedy Ruggles of Red Gap.
4) Answer: Actually you can answer all four options and be at least partially correct. We favor options (b) and (c).
5) Question: Young rarely played bad guys but did so in a 1949 Bob Hope comedy. Can you name this picture? a) Sorrowful Jones; b) The Great Lover; c) Fancy Pants; or d) My Favorite Spy.
5) Answer: b) The Great Lover, one of Young’s last big-screen ventures.