Edward Woods

Edward Woods (July 5, 1903 – October 8, 1989) was an American actor. He is probably best known for his extensive role as Matt Doyle in The Public Enemy opposite James Cagney.

Edward Woods
Born(1903-07-05)July 5, 1903
DiedAugust 10, 1989(1989-08-10) (aged 86)
Alma materUniversity of Southern California
Years active1923-1942
Spouse(s)Gabrielle Margery Morris (19??-1989; his death); 1 daughter
ChildrenRobin Woods

Life and careerEdit

James Cagney and Edward Woods in The Public Enemy (1931)

Woods' parents were Mary Clark and William B. Woods, and he had two brothers, Roy C. and William B. Woods. After graduating from the University of Southern California, Woods became an actor. He appeared at the old Salt Lake Theatre in The Copperhead, as Lionel Barrymore's teenage son. In New York City, he appeared in many successful Broadway productions then began a movie career. He worked with Cary Grant, Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow, John Barrymore, and Clark Gable.[1]

His most famous role was playing "Matt Doyle" opposite James Cagney's "Tom Powers" in The Public Enemy (1931). Although he initially cast Woods in the lead role as Powers, director William Wellman switched Woods' role with Cagney's after viewing Cagney's performance in the dailies. In the sequences at the beginning of the film, the children's appearances are reversed because those scenes were filmed before the switch and the studio opted not to pay to refilm them, which has confused viewers ever since. The studio had promised to make the role switch up to him with later parts but reneged and dropped him when his contract expired.[citation needed]

Woods' acting credits on Broadway included Tortilla Flat (1938), One Good Year (1935), Houseparty (1929), Zeppelin (1929), Trapped (1928), and Speak Easy (1927).[2] He was the producer of Buttrio Square (1952) on Broadway.[2]

After his film acting career ended, Woods went into producing, directing, and theatrical management, working with the Schubert Organization and 20th Century Fox.[3] During World War II, he worked with Warner Bros. star Ronald Reagan making training films for the U.S. Army.[citation needed]


He retired in 1975, and moved to Salt Lake City, Utah. Woods married Gabrielle Margery Morris, and the couple had a daughter, Robin.[citation needed]


Year Title Role Notes
1930 Mothers Cry Daniel 'Danny' Williams
1931 The Public Enemy Matt Doyle
1931 Local Boy Makes Good Spike Hoyt
1932 They Never Come Back Ralph Landon
1932 Hot Saturday Conny Billop
1933 Reckless Decision (archive footage)
1933 Bondage Earl Crawford
1933 Tarzan the Fearless Bob Hall
1933 Dinner at Eight Eddie
1933 Marriage on Approval Billy McGee
1935 Fighting Lady Jimmie Hanford
1937 Navy Blues Julian Everett
1938 Shadows Over Shanghai Peter Roma (final film role)

Broadway AppearancesEdit

  • Tortilla Flat, Jan 12, 1938 - Jan 1938
  • One Good Year, Nov 27, 1935 - Jun 1936
  • Houseparty, Sep 9, 1929 - Feb 1930
  • Zeppelin, Jan 14, 1929 - Mar 1929
  • Trapped, Sep 11, 1928 - Sep 1928
  • Speak Easy, Sep 26, 1927 - Nov 1927


  1. ^ Obituary, Salt Lake Tribune, October 10, 1989.
  2. ^ a b "Edward Woods". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on 18 August 2019. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  3. ^ Edward Woods profile, nytimes.com; accessed October 31, 2015.

External linksEdit