“Those who do not look upon themselves as a link connecting the past with the future do not perform their duty to the world” -
In 1946 he received an Academy Award nomination, in the category of best supporting actor, for his role in the Al Jolson Story.
Carl "William" Demarest
January 9, 1984
DIED. William Demarest, 91, vaudevillian and screen actor best known as the cantankerous, sweet-
COPYRIGHT 1984 Time, Inc.
Hail The Conquering Hero -
Carl William Demarest (1882 -
William Demarest Born February 27, 1892 St. Paul, Minnesota Died December 28, 1983 Palm Springs, CA Character veteran actor of well over 100 films, William Demarest started his career in Vaudeville as a song and dance man. His film career started with a bit part in When the Wife's Away (Columbia, 1926), with George K. Arthur, as well as fellow character actor Ned Sparks. For the rest of his silent career, Demarest became a Warner Bros. contract player. He turned out 20 features in all, including Finger Prints (1927), starring Louise Fazenda and Marna Loy, with fellow character actors Franklin Pangborn and Edgar Kennedy, The First Auto (1927), starring famous race car driver Barney Oldfield, and A Reno Divorce (1927), starring May McAvoy and Hedda Hopper. He was also in the historical breakthrough, and partial talkie, The Jazz Singer (1927), starring Al Jolson. He excelled as a character actor by creating deadpan looks of suspicion, as well as his signature look of frustrated exasperation. He often played world weary cops. Demarest also appeared in non-
He was a natural in talkies playing cyncial, wise-
In the 1940's Demarest became a stock player for Preston Sturges. He appeared in virtually all of Sturges's satirical comedies (he was responsible for discovering actresses Jane Wyman and Ellen Drew). At this point in his career, he started to develop his crusty, but brittle personality that he would become famous for. He became well known to television audiences beginning in 1957 in the Western series Tales of Wells Fargo (NBC 1957 to 1963), starring Dale Robertson. While he appeared in a re-
William Demarest made several career transitions, from the golden age of silents to the birth of sound, through the golden age of screwball comedy, all the way to the television age. By the time he was 91 he had amassed a long and distinguished career worthy of any beloved character artist. He had worked with the best and they with him.
Williwm Demarest, Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre -