Arthur Joseph O'Connell (March 29, 1908 – May 18, 1981) was an American stage and film actor. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for both Picnic (1955) and Anatomy of a Murder (1959). He made his final film appearance in The Hiding Place (1975), portraying a watch-maker who hides Jews during World War II. O'Connell bore a physical resemblance to actor Jack Albertson. The two were cast together in The Poseidon Adventure.
From Bus Stop (1956)
|Born||March 29, 1908|
New York City, U.S.
|Died||May 18, 1981 (aged 73)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Calvary Cemetery in Queens, New York|
|Occupation||Stage, film, and television actor|
Ann Hall Dunlop
(m. 1962; div. 1972)
O'Connell was born on March 29, 1908 in Manhattan, New York. His father died when O'Connell was two; he lost his mother when he was 12. O'Connell was raised by his aunt and won a scholarship to St John's College. He worked as a salesman of advertising space, then went into acting in 1929. He worked in summer stock but in the mid 1930s fell seriously illy.
He made his legitimate stage debut in the middle 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 already had appeared in Freshman Year (1938) and had costarred in two Leon Errol short subjects as Errol's conniving brother-in-law.
He entered the army in 1945 and served in the signal corps. After he left the army he was spotted in little theatre by Charles Laughton and joined a travelling Shakesperean company.
His career breakthrough came on Broadway, where he appeared as the middle-aged swain of a spinsterish schoolteacher in Picnic - a role he played in the 1956 film version, earning an Oscar nomination in the process.
Later, the jaded looking O'Connell frequently was cast as 40ish 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 a second Oscar nomination.
He also frequently appeared as a paterfamilias in movies starring teen idols such as Elvis Presley, Pat Boone and Fabian.
In 1959, O'Connell also played the part of Chief Petty Officer Sam Tostin, engine room chief of the fictional World War II submarine USS Sea Tiger, opposite Cary Grant and Tony Curtis in Operation Petticoat. In 1961, O'Connell played the role of Grandpa Clarence Beebe in the children's film Misty, the screen adaptation of Marguerite Henry's story of Misty of Chincoteague. In 1962, he portrayed the father of Elvis Presley's character in the motion picture Follow That Dream, and in 1964 in the Presley-picture Kissin' Cousins. In the same year, O'Connell portrayed the idealist-turned-antagonist Clint Stark in The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, which has become a cult classic, and in which O'Connell's is the only character other than star Tony Randall to appear as one of the "7 faces." O'Connell continued appearing in choice character parts on both television and films during the 1960s, but avoided a regular television series, holding out until he could be assured top billing.
On Christmas Day, 1962, O'Connell was cast as Clayton Dodd in the episode "Green, Green Hills" of the western series Empire, starring Richard Egan as the rancher Jim Redigo. This episode features Dayton Lummis as Jason Simms and Joanna Moore as Althea Dodd. In 1966, he guest-starred as a scientist who regretfully realized that he has created an all-powerful android in an episode of the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, titled "The Mechanical Man." In the February 1967 episode "Never Look Back" of the TV series Lassie, he played Luther Jennings, an elderly ranger who monitors the survey tower at Strawberry Peak and who takes it hard when he finds he'll lose his job when the tower is slated for destruction.
At the time of his death from Alzheimer's disease in California in May 1981, O'Connell was appearing by his own choice solely in these commercials. O'Connell is interred at Calvary Cemetery, Queens, New York.
|1939||Murder in Soho||Lefty|
|1940||And One Was Beautiful||Moroni's Parking Attendant||Uncredited|
|Two Girls on Broadway||Reporter at Wedding||Uncredited|
|I Take This Oath||Court Clerk||Uncredited|
|The Golden Fleecing||Cameraman||Uncredited|
|Dr. Kildare Goes Home||New Interne||Uncredited|
|The Leather Pushers||Reporter||Uncredited|
|1942||Man from Headquarters||Goldie Shores|
|Law of the Jungle||Simmons|
|Yokel Boy||Second Assistant Director||Uncredited|
|Canal Zone||New Recruit||Uncredited|
|Shepherd of the Ozarks||Bruce||Uncredited|
|Blondie's Blessed Event||Interne||Uncredited|
|Fingers at the Window||Photographer||Uncredited|
|Hello, Annapolis||Pharmacist Mate||Uncredited|
|The Naked City||Sgt. Shaeffer||Uncredited|
|State of the Union||First Reporter||Uncredited|
|One Touch of Venus||Reporter||Uncredited|
|The Countess of Monte Cristo||Assistant Director Jensen|
|Force of Evil||Link Hall||Uncredited|
|1950||Love That Brute||Newspaperman at Funeral||Uncredited|
|1951||The Whistle at Eaton Falls||Jim Brewster|
|1956||The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit||Gordon Walker|
|The Proud Ones||Jim Dexter|
|The Solid Gold Cadillac||Mark Jenkins|
|Bus Stop||Virgil Blessing|
|The Monte Carlo Story||M. Homer Hinkley|
|1957||Operation Mad Ball||Col. Rousch|
|The Violators||Solomon Baumgarden|
|April Love||Uncle Jed Bruce|
|1958||Voice in the Mirror||William R. 'Bill' Tobin|
|Man of the West||Sam Beasley|
|Anatomy of a Murder||Parnell Emmett McCarthy|
|Hound-Dog Man||Aaron McKinney|
|Operation Petticoat||Chief Machinist's Mate Sam Tostin|
|1961||The Great Impostor||Warden J.B. Chandler|
|A Thunder of Drums||Sgt. Karl Rodermill|
|Pocketful of Miracles||Count Alfonso Romero|
|1962||Follow That Dream||Pop Kwimper|
|1964||Kissin' Cousins||Pappy Tatum|
|7 Faces of Dr. Lao||Clint Stark|
|Your Cheatin' Heart||Fred Rose|
|1965||Nightmare in the Sun||Sam Wilson|
|The Monkey's Uncle||Darius Green III|
|The Great Race||Henry Goodbody|
|The Third Day||Dr. Wheeler|
|1966||Ride Beyond Vengeance||The Narrator|
|The Silencers||Joe Wigman|
|Fantastic Voyage||Colonel Donald Reid|
|Birds Do It||Prof. Wald|
|1967||A Covenant with Death||Judge Hockstadter|
|The Reluctant Astronaut||Arbuckle Fleming|
|1967-1968||The Second Hundred Years||Edwin Carpenter||TV Series|
|1968||The Power||Professor Henry Hallson|
|If He Hollers, Let Him Go!||Prosecutor|
|1970||Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came||Mr. Kruft|
|There Was a Crooked Man...||Mr. Lomax|
|Do Not Throw Cushions Into the Ring||Business Agent|
|1971||The Last Valley||Hoffman|
|They Only Kill Their Masters||Ernie|
|The Poseidon Adventure||Chaplain John|
|1973||Wicked, Wicked||Mr. Fenley|
|1974||Huckleberry Finn||Col. Grangerford|
|1975||The Hiding Place||Caspar ten Boom|
Arthur O'Connell was born to Julia (nee Byrne) & Michael O'Connell in New York City, New York. He was the youngest of four children. His siblings names were William, Kathleen & Juliette. In 1962, O'Connell married Ann Hall Dunlop (née Ann Byrd Hall; 1917–2000) of Washington, D.C., widow of William Laird Dunlop III (1909–1960). Arthur O'Connell and Ann Hall Dunlop divorced in December 1972 in Los Angeles.
- "Arthur O'Connell, 73, Nominated For Oscars For Supporting Roles". The New York Times. May 19, 1981. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
- Looking at Hollywood: O'Connell Story: Break in Films After 50 Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Tribune 17 Sep 1963: a1.
- "History of Misty of Chincoteague". Misty's Heaven. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
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