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Francis Curray McHugh (May 23, 1898 – September 11, 1981), was an American stage, radio, film and television actor.

Frank McHugh
Frank McHugh in Four Daughters trailer.jpg
From the trailer for the film
Four Daughters (1938)
Francis Curray McHugh

(1898-05-23)May 23, 1898
DiedSeptember 11, 1981(1981-09-11) (aged 83)
OccupationActor of stage, radio, film, and television
Years active1925–1969
Spouse(s)Dorothy Spencer McHugh (1933-1981, his death)
Parent(s)Edward A. McHugh
Katherine Curry McHugh


Early yearsEdit

Born in Homestead, Pennsylvania of Irish descent,[1] McHugh came from a theatrical family. His parents, Edward A. "Cutie" McHugh and Katherine Curry "Katie" McHugh, ran the McHugh stock theater company in Braddock, Pennsylvania.[2] As a young child he performed on stage. His brother Matt and sister Kitty performed an act with him[3] by the time he was ten years old, but the family quit the stage about 1930. Another brother, Ed,[4] became a stage manager and agent in New York.[5]


Leaving the family stage company when he was 17, McHugh went to Pittsburgh as leading man and stage manager at the Empire Theater there. He spent nine years in stock companies and road troupes before going on Broadway.[6]

McHugh debuted on Broadway in The Fall Guy, written by George Abbott and James Gleason in 1925.[6] He also appeared in Show Girl (1929), a musical.[7] In that same year, he made his first film, If Men Played Cards as Women Do, a short produced by Paramount.[2] First National Pictures hired him as a contract player in January 1930.[6]

McHugh played everything from lead actor to sidekick and would often provide comedy relief. He appeared in more than 150 films and television productions and worked with almost every star at Warner Bros. He was a close friend of James Cagney and appeared in more Cagney movies than any other actor. He appeared with Cagney in eleven films between 1932 and 1953. Their friendship lasted until McHugh's death.

Cast as Father Timothy O'Dowd in the 1944 Bing Crosby film, Going My Way, McHugh later played William Jennings Depew in the 1962 episode "Keep an Eye on Santa Claus" in the ABC television series, Going My Way, starring Gene Kelly, and loosely based on the earlier film.

From 1954-56, he starred in the radio program Hotel For Pets.[8] By the 1950s, his film career had begun to decline, as evinced by his smaller role in the 1959 film Career.

From 1964-65, he played Willie Walters, a live-in handyman in the 27-episode ABC sitcom The Bing Crosby Show, which reunited him once again onscreen with Bing Crosby. The show also co-starred Beverly Garland. McHugh's last feature film role was as a comical "sea captain" in the 1967 Elvis Presley caper film Easy Come, Easy Go. McHugh's last television appearance was as handyman Charlie Wingate in "The Fix-It Man", an episode of CBS's Lancer western series,[2] which starred Andrew Duggan.

On radio, McHugh had the role of Fairchild Finnegan in Phone Again, Finnegan (1946-1947).[9] He also co-starred in Hotel for Pets (1954-1956).[9]:365

Personal lifeEdit

McHugh was married to Dorothy Spencer from 1933 until his death.[3] They had three children[2] and two grandchildren. His brother Matt McHugh and sister Kitty McHugh were also actors who both appeared in many films.


On September 11, 1981, McHugh died in Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, Connecticut. He was 83 years old.[10]


Short subjects as himself:

  • An Intimate Dinner in Celebration of Warner Bros. Silver Jubilee (1930)
  • Hollywood Newsreel (1934) (uncredited)
  • A Dream Comes True (1935)
  • Screen Snapshots Series 15, No. 3 (1935)
  • Screen Snapshots Series 16, No. 1 (1936)
  • A Day at Santa Anita (1937)
  • Sunday Night at the Trocadero (1937)
  • Breakdowns of 1938 (1938)


  1. ^ Frank McHugh: A Beloved Character Actor Who Played an Important Role in World War II, New York Public Library, April 3, 2012; retrieved April 24, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Dennis, Ken (Winter 2017–18). "Frank McHugh: Master of Mirth". Films of the Golden Age (91): 42–50.CS1 maint: Date format (link)
  3. ^ a b Nollen, Scott A. (2014). Glenda Farrell: Hollywood's Hardboiled Dame. Midnight Marquee & BearManor Media. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  4. ^ Ed A. McHugh at the Internet Broadway Database
  5. ^ "The Unsung Joe". The Unsung Joe.
  6. ^ a b c "Warner and F.N. Players". Variety. June 25, 1930. p. 30. Retrieved March 31, 2016. 
  7. ^ The Oxford Companion to the American Musical. p. 482. ISBN 9780195335330. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  8. ^ Cox, Jim (2009-07-17), The A to Z of American Radio Soap Operas, p. 103, ISBN 9780810863491
  9. ^ a b Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 272. ISBN 978-0-7864-4513-4.
  10. ^ "Frank McHugh, longtime character actor, is dead". Chicago Tribune. Illinois, Chicago. New York Times News Service. September 14, 1981. p. Section 3 - 27. Retrieved July 13, 2018 – via  

External linksEdit