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The Info List - Monty Woolley

Edgar Montilion Woolley[1] (August 17, 1888 – May 6, 1963) was an American stage, film, radio, and television actor.[2] At the age of 50, he achieved a measure of stardom for his best-known role in the stage play and 1942 film The Man Who Came to Dinner. His distinctive white beard was his trademark and he was affectionately known as "The Beard."[3]

Contents

1 Early life 2 Acting career 3 Death 4 Personal life 5 Stage 6 Complete filmography 7 Radio appearances 8 References 9 External links

Early life[edit] Woolley was born in New York City's Manhattan
Manhattan
to William Edgar Woolley (1845-1927) and Jessie née Arms (1857-1927) and grew up in the highest social circles. Woolley received a bachelor's degree at Yale University, where Cole Porter
Cole Porter
was an intimate friend and classmate, and master's degrees from Yale and Harvard Universities.[4] He eventually became an assistant professor of English and drama coach at Yale.[5] Thornton Wilder
Thornton Wilder
and Stephen Vincent Benét
Stephen Vincent Benét
were among his students. He served in World War I
World War I
in the United States
United States
Army as a first lieutenant assigned to the general staff in Paris.[4][6] Acting career[edit]

Hollywood Walk of Fame, 6542 Hollywood Blvd.

Woolley began directing on Broadway in 1929,[7] and began acting there in 1936 after leaving his academic career. In 1939 he starred in the Kaufman and Hart comedy The Man Who Came to Dinner
The Man Who Came to Dinner
for 783 performances. It was for this well-reviewed role he was typecast as the wasp-tongued, supercilious sophisticate.[8][9] Woolley signed with 20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox
in the 1940s and appeared in many films through the mid-1950s. His most famous film role, a reprise of his Broadway role, was in 1942's The Man Who Came To Dinner where he plays a cranky radio wag restricted to a wheelchair because of a seemingly injured hip, a caricature of the legendary pundit Alexander Woollcott. The film received a good review from the New York Times.[9] He played himself [10] in Warner Bros.' fictionalized film biography of Cole Porter, Night and Day (1946), and the role of Professor Wutheridge in The Bishop's Wife
The Bishop's Wife
(1947). He was also a frequent radio presence as a guest performer, first appearing in the medium as a foil to Al Jolson.[11] Woolley became a familiar guest presence on such shows as The Fred Allen Show, Duffy's Tavern, The Big Show, The Chase and Sanborn Hour
The Chase and Sanborn Hour
with Edgar Bergen
Edgar Bergen
and Charlie McCarthy, and others. In 1950, Woolley landed the starring role in the NBC series The Magnificent Montague. He played a former Shakespearean actor whose long fall onto hard times forced him to swallow his pride and take a role on daily network radio, becoming an unlikely star while sparring with his wife, Lily (Anne Seymour), and his wise-cracking maid, Agnes (Pert Kelton). The show lasted from November 1950 through September 1951.[12]

Hand and beard print at Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

Woolley first appeared on television in cameos, then in his own dramatic play series On Stage with Monty Woolley.[5] He starred in a CBS
CBS
TV adaptation of The Man Who Came to Dinner
The Man Who Came to Dinner
in 1954,[13] which he and some reviewers lambasted,[14][15] and appeared in other televised dramas in the series Best of Broadway.[8][13][16] After completing his last film, Kismet (1955), he returned to radio for about a year, after which he was forced to retire due to ill health. Woolley was nominated twice for an Academy Award, as Best Actor
Actor
in 1943 for The Pied Piper and as Best Supporting Actor
Actor
in 1945 for Since You Went Away. He won a Best Actor
Actor
award from the National Board of Review in 1942 for his role in The Pied Piper. His hands and beard were impressed in the pavement of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in 1943.[17][18] Woolley received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Hollywood Walk of Fame
in 1960, officially listed in the "Motion Picture" category,[19] though his star bears the television emblem.[20] Death[edit] On April 6, 1963, Woolley was taken to the Saratoga Springs
Saratoga Springs
Hospiral with heart problems, and two days later transferred to the Albany Hospital.[21] He died of complications from kidney and heart ailments on May 6, 1963, in Albany, New York, aged 74.[3] He is interred at the Greenridge Cemetery, Saratoga Springs, Saratoga County, New York. Personal life[edit] Woolley and Cole Porter
Cole Porter
enjoyed many adventures together in New York and on foreign travels, although Porter reportedly disapproved of Woolley taking an African American man as his lover.[22] Woolley has been described in scholarly and other works as gay and closeted.[23][24][25] Starting in 1939, Woolley was living with a homosexual companion, Cary Abbott, who had also graduated from Yale in 1911. Abbott was discreetly identified publicly as Woolley's "courier-secretary-traveling companion". In 1942, Woolley and Abbott moved in a house in Saratoga Springs, where they lived together until Abbott's death, at age 58, from lung cancer, in 1948.[26] According to Bennett Cerf
Bennett Cerf
in his 1944 book Try and Stop Me, Woolley was at a dinner party and suddenly belched. A woman sitting nearby glared at him; he glared back and said, "And what did you expect, my good woman? Chimes?" Cerf wrote, "Woolley was so pleased with this line that he insisted it be written into his next role in Hollywood."[17][27] In 1943, Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock
wrote a mystery story for Look magazine, "The Murder of Monty Woolley".[28] Stage[edit]

See America First
See America First
(1927) - Director[citation needed] Fifty Million Frenchmen
Fifty Million Frenchmen
(1929) - Director The Second Little Show
The Second Little Show
(1930) - Director The New Yorkers
The New Yorkers
(1930) - Director America's Sweetheart (1931) - Director Walk a Little Faster
Walk a Little Faster
(1933) - Book director Champagne, Sec (1933) - Director Jubilee (1935) - Dialogue director On Your Toes
On Your Toes
(1936) as Sergei Alexandrovitch Knights of Song (1938) as His Royal Highness, Albert Edward The Man Who Came to Dinner
The Man Who Came to Dinner
(1939) as Sheridan Whiteside[29][30]

Complete filmography[edit]

Ladies in Love
Ladies in Love
(1936)[31] (uncredited and unconfirmed) Live, Love and Learn (1937) Nothing Sacred (1937) (uncredited) Everybody Sing (1938) Arsène Lupin Returns
Arsène Lupin Returns
(1938) The Girl of the Golden West (1938) The Forgotten Step (1938 short) Three Comrades (1938) Lord Jeff (1938) Vacation from Love
Vacation from Love
(1938) (uncredited)            Young Dr. Kildare
Young Dr. Kildare
(1938) Artists and Models Abroad
Artists and Models Abroad
(1938) Zaza (1939) (uncredited) Midnight (1939) Never Say Die (1939) Man About Town (1939)

Honeymoon in Bali
Honeymoon in Bali
(1939) (uncredited) Dancing Co-Ed
Dancing Co-Ed
(1939) See Your Doctor (1939 short) (uncredited) The Man Who Came to Dinner
The Man Who Came to Dinner
(1942) as Sheridan Whiteside The Pied Piper (1942) Life Begins at Eight-Thirty
Life Begins at Eight-Thirty
(1942) Holy Matrimony (1943) Since You Went Away
Since You Went Away
(1944) Irish Eyes Are Smiling
Irish Eyes Are Smiling
(1944) Molly and Me
Molly and Me
(1945) Night and Day (1946) Paris 1900 (1947 documentary) (narrator of US version) The Bishop's Wife
The Bishop's Wife
(1947) Miss Tatlock's Millions (1948) As Young as You Feel
As Young as You Feel
(1951) Kismet (1955)

Radio appearances[edit]

Year Program Episode/source

1942 Philip Morris Playhouse The Man Who Came to Dinner[32]

1943 Duffy's Tavern Christmas show 12/21/43

References[edit] Notes

^ Truitt, Evelyn Mack. Who Was Who Onscreen New York: Bowker (1977) ^ Obituary Variety, May 8, 1963, page 223. ^ a b " Actor
Actor
Monty Woolley
Monty Woolley
Dies in Hospital at 74". Miami News. May 6, 1963. ^ a b "Heart, Kidneys give out, Monte Woolley dies at 74". The Evening Independent. May 4, 1963. p. 3A.  ^ a b " Monty Woolley
Monty Woolley
to Appear in a Series of Television Films". Schenectady Gazette', NY, July 11, 1953. p. 8. Retrieved August 9, 2010. ^ Harbin, Billy J.; Marra, Kim; Schanke, Robert A., eds. (2005). The Gay and Lesbian Theatrical Legacy: A Biographical Dictionary of Major Figures in American Stage History in the Pre-Stonewall Era (Triangulations: Lesbian/Gay/Queer Theater/Drama/Performance). University of Michigan Press. p. 392. ISBN 978-0-472-09858-3. CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link) ^ Green, Stanley (1976). Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre. Da Capo Press. p. 323.  ^ a b " Monty Woolley
Monty Woolley
Dies In Albany". St. Petersburg Times, May 7, 1963. Retrieved August 9, 2010. ^ a b Crowther, Bosley (January 2, 1942) "The Man Who Came to Dinner". Review. New York Times. Retrieved 9 August 2010. ^ "Played himself" is something of a stretch. In the movie he played himself "as a relentless 'skirt chaser' despite the fact that in real life Woolley, himself gay, chased pants (particularly if they encased a sailor) and not skirts." George F. Curten, "Where Is the Life that Late He Led? Hollywood's Construction of Sexuality in the Life of Cole Porter", in Larry Gross & James D. Woods, eds., The Columbia Reader on Lesbians and Gay Men in Media, Society, and Politics (1999, NYC, Columbia Univ. Press) page 320. ^ Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: the Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. p. 423. ISBN 0-19-507678-8.  ^ Everitt, David (2000). King of the half hour: Nat Hiken and the golden age of TV comedy. Syracuse University Press. ISBN 978-0-8156-0676-5. Retrieved August 9, 2010. ^ a b Hawes, William (2001). Filmed television drama, 1952-1958. McFarland & Company. pp. 23, 29. ISBN 978-0-7864-1132-0.  ^ Thomas, Bob (AP) (June 27, 1955). "Monte Woolley Snorts At Liberace, Bore Bars". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved August 9, 2010. ^ Gould, Jack. (October 15, 1954). "Television in Review; Bite Taken Out of Man Who Came to Dinner". New York Times. Retrieved August 9, 2010. ^ "Television: Program Preview, Oct. 11, 1954". Time Magazine. October 11, 1954. Retrieved August 9, 2010.  ^ a b Cerf, Bennett (1944). Try and stop me: a collection of anecdotes and stories, mostly humorous. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 57–59. ASIN B0007EW7W8. Retrieved March 19, 2011.  ^ 1940s Archived 2011-03-02 at the Wayback Machine.. Grauman's Chinese Theatre ^ "Monty Woolley". hollywoodchamber.net. Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.  Note: Official category is Motion Pictures but his star bears the television emblem. ^ "Hollywood Star Walk—Monty Woolley". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-07-25. ^ Harbin, Billy J.; Marra, Kim; Schanke, Robert A., eds. (2005). The Gay and Lesbian Theatrical Legacy: A Biographical Dictionary of Major Figures in American Stage History in the Pre-Stonewall Era (Triangulations: Lesbian/Gay/Queer Theater/Drama/Performance). University of Michigan Press. p. 395. ISBN 978-0-472-09858-3. CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link) ^ Schwartz, Charles (1979). Cole Porter: A Biography. Da Capo Press. pp. 38, 49, 111 & etc. ISBN 0-306-80097-7.  ^ Harbin, Billy J.; Marra, Kim; Schanke, Robert A., eds. (2005). The Gay and Lesbian Theatrical Legacy: A Biographical Dictionary of Major Figures in American Stage History in the Pre-Stonewall Era (Triangulations: Lesbian/Gay/Queer Theater/Drama/Performance). University of Michigan Press. pp. 11, 321, 393. ISBN 978-0-472-09858-3. CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link) ^ Hadleigh, Boze (2001). The Lavender Screen: The Gay and Lesbian Films--Their Stars, Makers, Characters, and Critics. Citadel Press. p. 213. ISBN 978-0-8065-2199-2.  ^ Gross, Larry; Woods, James D., eds. (1999). The Columbia Reader on Lesbians & Gay Men in Media, Society, and Politics. Columbia University Press. p. 310. ISBN 978-0-231-10447-0. CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link) ^ Harbin, Billy J.; Marra, Kim; Schanke, Robert A., eds. (2005). The Gay and Lesbian Theatrical Legacy: A Biographical Dictionary of Major Figures in American Stage History in the Pre-Stonewall Era (Triangulations: Lesbian/Gay/Queer Theater/Drama/Performance). University of Michigan Press. pp. 393–394. ISBN 978-0-472-09858-3. CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link) ^ Cerf, p. 57. (remainder of quote). ^ Brunsdale, Mitzi M. (2010). Icons of Mystery and Crime Detection: From Sleuths to Superheroes. 2. Greenwood. p. 440. ISBN 978-0313345302.  ^ "Monty Woolley". Internet Broadway Database.  ^ Green, p. 455. ^ "Ladies In Love". TV Guide.  ^ "Johnny Presents". Harrisburg Telegraph. July 10, 1942. p. 11. Retrieved August 6, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. 

External links[edit]

Monty Woolley
Monty Woolley
on IMDb Monty Woolley
Monty Woolley
at the Internet Broadway Database
Internet Broadway Database
Monty Woolley
Monty Woolley
at Find a Grave

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 49424929 LCCN: n87847182 ISNI: 0000 0001 1638 4772 GND: 1023171422 SUDOC: 147110408 BNF: cb14045631p (data) BNE: XX4962332 SN