Edward Brophy

Edward Santree Brophy (February 27, 1895 – May 27, 1960) was an American character actor and comedian, as well as an assistant director and second unit director during the 1920s. Small of build, balding, and raucous-voiced, he frequently portrayed dumb cops and gangsters, both serious and comic.

Edward Brophy
Edward Brophy in The Thin Man Goes Home (1945).png
Brophy in the trailer for The Thin Man Goes Home (1945)
Edward Santree Brophy

(1895-02-27)February 27, 1895
New York City, U.S.
DiedMay 27, 1960(1960-05-27) (aged 65)
Resting placeWoodlawn Memorial Cemetery
Years active1920–1960
Ann S. Brophy
(m. 1925)

He is best remembered as the sidekick to The Falcon in the Tom Conway film series of the 1940s, and for voicing Timothy Q. Mouse in Walt Disney's Dumbo (1941).

Early lifeEdit

Edward Santree Brophy was born on February 27, 1895 in New York City and attended the University of Virginia.[1]


His screen debut was in Yes or No? (1920). In 1928, with only a few minor film roles to his credit, Brophy was working as a production manager for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer when he was on location with Buster Keaton for the feature film The Cameraman. An actor failed to show up, and rather than having to wait for the studio to send a substitute, Keaton recruited Brophy on the spot to take the actor's place. As two occupants of a bath-house, Brophy and Keaton attempt to undress and put on bathing suits while sharing a single tiny changing room. Each time Keaton attempts to hang his clothes on one hook, Brophy removes the clothes and hands them back to Keaton and gestures to the other hook. He manhandles the smaller, more slender Keaton, at one point picking him up by the feet and dumping him out of his trousers. Appearing only in this one brief scene, Brophy attracted enough attention to receive more and better roles.

Keaton used Brophy again in his military comedy Doughboys (1930), with Brophy as a loud-mouthed drill sergeant. This defined Brophy's screen persona as a Brooklyn-accented, streetwise character. His subsequent films for MGM cast him in the same vein: comic foils in four more Keaton features; the loyal fight manager in The Champ (1931); a circus proprietor in Freaks (1932 film) (1932); and as a hired gun in The Thin Man (1934).

Edward Brophy (center) with Jackie Cooper and Wallace Beery in The Champ (1931)
Calling Philo Vance (1940) Edward Brophy (pictured right) with James Stephenson

By 1940 Brophy was so identified as a Runyonesque character with a Brooklynese speech pattern that he was cast as the voice of Timothy Q. Mouse in Dumbo, even though he was uncredited for this role. Brophy worked steadily through the 1950s, in both featured roles and uncredited bits, almost always in light film fare. Very rarely was he called upon to display dramatic ability, as in the police procedural Arson, Inc. (1949), in which he played a potentially dangerous firebug. He also made several appearances in the films of director John Ford, notably as "Ditto" Boland in The Last Hurrah (1958), Brophy's last film.

Brophy was the model for comic-book character Doiby Dickles,[2] the cab-driving sidekick to Green Lantern in the 1940s.


Brophy died on May 27, 1960 during the production of Ford's Two Rode Together. (One source says Brophy "died while watching a prizefight on television."[3]) He was 65. He was buried in Santa Monica's Woodlawn Cemetery next to his wife Ann S. Brophy. (Another source listed "widow, Ann" as a survivor.[4])



  1. ^ Katz, Ephraim (1979). The Film Encyclopedia: The Most Comprehensive Encyclopedia of World Cinema in a Single Volume. Perigee Books. ISBN 0-399-50601-2. P.171.
  2. ^ Dulaney, Sean (September 2017). "Green Lantern 60th Anniversary Panel". Alter Ego. 3 (148): 47. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  3. ^ "Edward Brophy Dies". The Kansas City Times. May 31, 1960. p. 1. Retrieved October 26, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  
  4. ^ "Edward Brophy, Movie Actor, Dies Watching Fight". The Times Record. May 31, 1960. p. 7. Retrieved October 26, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  

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