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Leon Errol

leon errol, leon errol biography
Leon Errol July 3, 1881 - October 12, 1951, was an Australian-born American comedian and actor, popular in the first half of the 20th century for his appearances in vaudeville, on Broadway, and in films

Contents

  • 1 Biography
  • 2 Films
  • 3 Partial filmography
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links

Biographyedit

Born Leonce Errol Sims in Sydney to Joseph and Elizabeth Sims, Errol had toured Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain and Ireland in a variety of theatrical settings, including circuses, operettas, and Shakespeare According to his petition for naturalization 1914, he first came to the United States in 1898, arriving at the Port of San Francisco in 1898 By 1905, in Portland, Oregon he managed a touring vaudeville company troupe, giving an early boost to the career of a young comedian named Roscoe Arbuckle1 In 1908, he made the United States his home

By 1911 Errol had graduated to the New York big time in the 1911 Ziegfeld Follies on Broadway, notably in two skits with the legendary Bert Williams Errol's sister, Leda Errol née Sims was a personal friend of Ziegfeld Follies star Fanny Brice, and she appeared with him in the Ziegfeld Follies doing one- and two-act plays He appeared every year in the Follies through 1915, when he is also credited as director of the show 2 that included WC Fields, Ed Wynn, as well as Marion Davies as one of the Ziegfeld Girls

While balancing vaudeville appearances and a dozen Broadway shows, like the original 1920 production of Jerome Kern's Sally, in 1919 Errol achieved the pinnacle of vaudeville success: headlining at the Palace3

Filmsedit

Errol made his first film, a comic short subject called Nearly Spliced, in 1916 it was not released before 1921, for pioneering east-coast producer George Kleine By 1930 he'd left Broadway and turned his full attention to movies, third-billed for Samuel Goldwyn's One Heavenly Night in 1931 The box-office for that film was disappointing, but overall Errol made a smooth transition to films in a variety of comedy roles His comic trademark was a wobbly, unsteady walk, moving as though on rubber legs; this bit served him well in drunk routines

Errol starred in a long string of two-reel comedy shorts, which began at Columbia Pictures in 1933 He also starred in two early three-strip Technicolor shorts made at Warner Brothers, Service With a Smile released 28 July 1934 and Good Morning, Eve! released August 5, just beating the RKO Radio Pictures release La Cucaracha 31 August as the first live action, wholly Technicolor release

Moving to RKO Radio Pictures in 1934, he continued to make six shorts per year until his death in 1951 Most of these were marital farces in which Leon would get mixed up with a pretty girl or an involved business proposition, and face the wrath of his wife usually Dorothy Granger; the theme tune to the series was the nursery rhyme, London Bridge Is Falling Down

Leon Errol is well remembered for his energetic performances in the Mexican Spitfire movies opposite Lupe Vélez 1939–43, in which Errol had the recurring dual role of affable Uncle Matt and foggy British nobleman Lord Epping Monogram signed Errol to appear as fight manager Knobby Walsh in the eight entries of their "Joe Palooka" sports comedies 1946–50 Leon Errol's most famous non-series appearance is in the nonsensical comedy feature Never Give a Sucker an Even Break 1941, starring fellow vaudeville and Ziegfeld alumnus W C Fields

On February 4, 1950, Errol appeared on television as a guest on The Ed Wynn Show, broadcast live to the West Coast on CBS seen on kinescope film to the East and Midwest on February 18, 1950

Errol's next-to-last film, Lord Epping Returns in 1951, reprised his famous characterization and some of the gags from Mexican Spitfire

Footage from Errol's short subjects was incorporated into RKO's compilation features Variety Time, Make Mine Laughs, Footlight Varieties, and Merry Mirthquakes RKO kept Leon Errol in the public eye by reissuing his older comedies through the mid-1950s His RKO shorts soon became a staple of syndicated television

Errol married Stella Chatelaine born 1886 in Denver, Colorado in 1906 She died on November 7, 1946 in Los Angeles Five years later Errol suffered a fatal heart attack, on October 12, 1951, aged 70 They had no children

Partial filmographyedit

  • Yolanda 1924
  • Clothes Make the Pirate 1925
  • Paramount on Parade 1930
  • Only Saps Work 1930
  • One Heavenly Night 1931
  • Her Majesty, Love 1931
  • Alice in Wonderland 1933
  • Service With a Smile 28 July 1934 and Good Morning, Eve! 5 August 1934, two Warner Brothers shorts that make first use of the three-strip Technicolor process
  • The Captain Hates the Sea 1934
  • We're Not Dressing 1934
  • The Notorious Sophie Lang 1934
  • Princess O'Hara 1935
  • Should Wives Work 1937
  • The Girl from Mexico 1939
  • Mexican Spitfire and seven other "Mexican Spitfire" movies with Lupe Velez through 1943
  • Six Lessons from Madame La Zonga 1941
  • Dancing Co-Ed 1939
  • Never Give a Sucker an Even Break 1941
  • Moonlight in Hawaii 1941
  • Strictly in the Groove 1942
  • The Invisible Man's Revenge 1944
  • Hat Check Honey 1944
  • Mama Loves Papa 1945
  • Joe Palooka, Champ 1946, and ten other "Joe Palooka" sequels
  • Riverboat Rhythm 1946
  • The Noose Hangs High 1948
  • Joe Palooka in the Big Fight 1949

Referencesedit

  1. ^ Errol did not own Portland's Orpheum Theater, as is widely repeated http://travsdwordpresscom/2009/07/03/stars-of-vaudeville-27-leon-erroll/
  2. ^ http://wwwibdbcom/personphpid=14717
  3. ^ http://travsdwordpresscom/2009/07/03/stars-of-vaudeville-27-leon-erroll/

External linksedit

  • Works by or about Leon Errol at Internet Archive
  • Leon Errol on Internet Movie Database
  • Leon Errol at the Internet Broadway Database
  • Leon Errol at Find a Grave

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