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Edward Arnold (February 18, 1890 – April 26, 1956) was an Americanmarker actor. He was born on the Lower East Sidemarker of New York Citymarker as Gunther Edward Arnold Schneider, the son of Germanmarker immigrants Carl Schneider and Elizabeth Ohse.

Acting career

Interested in acting since his youth (he made his first stage appearance at the age of 12 as Lorenzo in The Merchant of Venice), Arnold made his professional stage debut in 1907. He found work as an extra for Essanay Studiosmarker and World Studios, before landing his first significant role in 1916's The Misleading Lady. In 1919, he left film for a return to the stage, and did not appear again in movies until 1932, when he made his talkie debut in Okay America!. He recreated one of his stage roles in one of his early films, Whistling in the Dark (1933). His role in the 1935 film Diamond Jim boosted him to stardom. He reprised the role of Diamond Jim Brady in the 1940 film Lillian Russell.

Arnold appeared in over 150 movies. Although he was labeled "box office poison" in 1938 by an exhibitor publication (he shared this dubious distinction with Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Mae West, Fred Astaire and Katharine Hepburn), he never lacked for work. Rather than continue in leading man roles, he gave up losing weight and went after character parts instead. Arnold was quoted as saying, "The bigger I got, the better character roles I received." He was such a sought-after actor, he often worked on two pictures at the same time.

With a booming baritone voice and piercing blue eyes, Arnold was an expert at playing rogues and authority figures. He was best known for his roles in Come and Get It (1936), Sutter's Gold (1936), The Toast of New York (1937), You Can't Take It with You (1938), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) and The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941). He was the first actor to portray Rex Stout's famous detective Nero Wolfe, starring in Meet Nero Wolfe (1936), the film based on the first novel in the series. He played blind detective Duncan Maclain in two movies based on the novels by Baynard Kendrick, Eyes in the Night (1942) and The Hidden Eye (1945). From 1947 to 1953, Arnold starred in the ABC radio program called Mr. President. Arnold was one of director Frank Capra's preferred actors and worked in three movies with him.

Arnold was president of the Screen Actor's Guild from 1940 - 1942.

In 1940, his autobiography, Lorenzo Goes to Hollywood was published.


Starting in the 1940s, he became involved in Republican politics and was mentioned as a possible G.O.P. candidate for the United States Senate. He lost a closely contested election for Alderman and said at the time that perhaps actors were not suited to run for political office. A staunch Conservative, he later took a strong stand against alleged Communists in Hollywoodmarker while trying to protect actors from the House Un-American Activities Committee. He was also the co-founder of the I Am An American Foundation.

Personal life

He was married three times: Harriet Marshall (1917-1927), with whom he had three children: Elizabeth, Jane and William (who had a short movie career as Edward Arnold, Jr.); Olive Emerson (1929-1948) and Cleo McLain (1951 until his death). He died at his home in Encino, Californiamarker of a cerebral hemorrhage and is interred in the San Fernando Mission Cemeterymarker.

Arnold has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Famemarker located at 6225 Hollywood Blvd.

Selected filmography


  • New York Times April 27, 1956 obituary, "Edward Arnold, Actor, Dies at 66"

External links

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