Arthur O'Connell

Age: 106
Birthplace: New York City, New York, U.S.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Arthur O'Connell (March 29, 1908 – May 18, 1981) was an American stage and film actor. He appeared in films (starting with a small role in Citizen Kane) in 1941 and television programs (mostly guest appearances). Among his screen appearances were Picnic, Anatomy of a Murder, and as the watch-maker who hides Jews during WWII in The Hiding Place.

A veteran vaudevillian, O'Connell, from New York City, made his legitimate stage debut in the mid 1930s, at which time he fell within the orbit of Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre. Welles cast O'Connell in the tiny role of a reporter in the closing scenes of Citizen Kane (1941), a film often referred to as O'Connell's film debut, though in fact he had already appeared in Freshman Year (1939) and had costarred in two Leon Errol short subjects as Leon's conniving brother-in-law.

After numerous small movie parts, O'Connell returned to Broadway, where he appeared as the erstwhile middle-aged swain of a spinsterish schoolteacher in Picnic - a role he'd recreate in the 1956 film version, earning an Oscar nomination in the process. Later the jaded looking O'Connell was frequently cast as fortyish losers and alcoholics; in the latter capacity he appeared as James Stewart's boozy attorney mentor in Anatomy of a Murder (1959), and the result was another Oscar nomination. In 1962 O'Connell portrayed the father of Elvis Presley's character in the motion picture Follow That Dream, and in 1964 in the Presley-picture Kissin' Cousins.

O'Connell continued appearing in choice character parts on both TV and films during the 1960s, but avoided a regular television series, holding out until he could be assured top billing. He appeared as Joseph Baylor in the 1964 episode "A Little Anger Is a Good Thing" on the ABC medical drama about psychiatry, Breaking Point. The actor accepted the part of a man who discovers that his 99-year-old father has been frozen in an iceberg on the 1967 sitcom The Second Hundred Years, assuming he'd be billed first per the producers' agreement. Instead, top billing went to newcomer Monte Markham in the dual role of O'Connell's father and his son. O'Connell accepted the demotion to second billing as well as could be expected, but he never again trusted the word of any Hollywood executive.

Ill health forced O'Connell to significantly reduce his acting appearances in the mid '70s, but the actor stayed busy as a commercial spokesman, a friendly pharmacist who was a spokesperson for Crest toothpaste. At the time of his death from Alzheimer's disease in California in May 1981, O'Connell was appearing solely in these commercials, by his own choice.

O'Connell was buried in Calvary Cemetery, Queens, New York.

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Movie Character Year
Tkcw7ufxhkojbbym2qwff9qv1mf Dr. Kildare Goes Home Intern 1940
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Wgls3bptqguw380jsnnlzgwwqh7 Picnic Howard Bevans 1955
Rp3bivspszsyloyorcptm8duekg The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit Gordon Walker 1956
7gniqh6qtzm2abzjngbwxaszsxn Bus Stop Virgil Blessing 1956
Abpdksjtvfy2khtt0ohebincdnc The Monte Carlo Story Mr. Homer Hinkley 1957
Vsqrvj0xbcijnwfwwvwodkml6aa Man of the West Sam Beasley 1958
Sjls0suri8b3o7garc31pgtw2ee Anatomy of a Murder Parnell Emmett McCarthy 1959
W1siziisijiwmtmvmtevmdqvmtyvntavmdivmje3l2xhwwdrelaws0zyy0l1eta2uk5ttmxoamricy5qcgcixsxbinailcj0ahvtyiisiju1edc1iyjdxq The Great Imposter Warden J.B. Chandler 1961
9n0urxz1jfefkksi9a9bkgsyhbw Pocketful of Miracles Count Alfonso Romero 1961
64lnbriugupiyph0tljlaarglvd The Great Race Henry Goodbody 1965
Uvd7eqsasweffr3qfxbjnlscquj Fantastic Voyage Col. Donald Reid 1966
Vme0hk0yiwsfkelgmxug2hejibz The Power Prof. Henry Hallson 1968
W1siziisijiwmtqvmdqvmtevmjivmdivntgvmzexl3zscmdvzmpddtrur3iwt284a1dxy0w5wnnsws5qcgcixsxbinailcj0ahvtyiisiju1edc1iyjdxq Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came? 1970
Wk6xq0jtwjr0gczdltrj60b3rpx The Last Valley Hoffman 1971
8fmdsbwjcpdicnqrnbeiwpfl92p Huckleberry Finn Col. Grangerford 1974