Harry Beresford

Harry J. Beresford (November 4, 1863 – October 4, 1944) was an English-born actor on the American stage and in motion pictures. He used the professional name Harry J. Morgan early in his career.

Harry Beresford
Beresford in The Old Soak (1922)
Henry William Walter Horseley Beresford

(1863-11-04)November 4, 1863
London, UK
DiedOctober 4, 1944(1944-10-04) (aged 80)
Los Angeles, California, US
Other namesHarry J. Morgan
Years active1880–1938
(m. 1897; div. 1909)
  • Edith Wylie (m. 19??)


Harry Beresford began his acting career in 1885, as a member of the chorus of Little Jack Sheppard at the Gaiety Theatre, London. After moving to the United States in 1886, he performed throughout the country in repertory theatre and with various touring companies—including his own—for the next 30 years. His first major Broadway theatre success was in 1919, in Boys Will Be Boys, which was soon followed by a starring role in Shavings (1920). In August 1922, he created the role of the alcoholic Clem Hawley in Don Marquis's comedy The Old Soak, a character Beresford made famous and played for two years. He won praise for his character performances in the Broadway productions of Stolen Fruit (1925) and The Perfect Alibi (1928).[1]

Between 1926 and 1938, Beresford appeared as a supporting actor in more than 50 Hollywood films, including Doctor X (1932), The Sign of the Cross (1932), Dinner at Eight (1933), I Cover the Waterfront (1933), David Copperfield (1935) and Follow the Fleet (1936). He made his final film appearance in 1938, and received original story credit for the 1939 horse racing film, Long Shot.[2]

Personal lifeEdit

Beresford was born in London November 4, 1863, to Henry George and Sarah Christie.[3] His professional name was Harry J. Morgan at the time of his first marriage, to actress Emma Dunn, on October 4, 1897, in Chicago.[4] They divorced on February 10, 1909, in New York City, and Dunn was awarded sole custody of their young daughter, Dorothy.[5][6] Beresford married actress Edith D. Wylie,[7][8] who had appeared opposite him in the play, The Other House. They were married for the remainder of his life.[1]

Dunn, who likewise worked in Hollywood pictures in her later years, recalled testing for the role of a bullied wife in a 1935 film. When the casting director said she was too small for the part, she asked to be seen beside the actor who would play her husband—and discovered it was Harry Beresford.[9] In 1936, columnist Jimmie Fidler reported that Beresford, then aged 72, had collapsed while working on an RKO Pictures soundstage. Unconscious for two hours, he was cared for by Dunn, who happened to be working on a set nearby.[6]

Beresford died October 4, 1944, at his home in Toluca Lake, Los Angeles, of a heart ailment.[1] He was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.[10]

Theatre creditsEdit

Theatrical poster for Harry Beresford in Our New Man (c. 1904)
Date Title Role Notes
December 1885 – Little Jack Sheppard Chorus member Gaiety Theatre, London; debut[1]
November 1893 – Walker, London Andrew McPhail National tour including several weeks at the Grand Opera House, Chicago[11][12]
November 30 – December 6, 1902 The Wrong Mr. Wright Mr. Sites National tour beginning at Morosco's Burbank Theatre, Los Angeles[13][14]
October 13 – November 1919 Boys Will Be Boys Peep O'Day Belmont Theatre, New York City[15]
February 16 – June 1920 Shavings J. Edward Winslow Knickerbocker Theatre, New York City[16]
August 22, 1922 – August 1923 The Old Soak Clem Hawley Plymouth Theatre, New York City[17]
June 1924 She Stoops to Conquer Aminadab Empire Theatre, New York City[18]
1924 Out-a-Luck Touring production[1][19]
February 3 – February 1925 The Undercurrent Jason Mills Cort Theatre, New York City[20]
October 7 – December 1925 Stolen Fruit Ballou Eltinge 42nd Street Theatre, New York City[21]
November 27, 1928 – July 1929 The Perfect Alibi P. C. Ballet Charles Hopkins Theatre, New York City[22]
December 3, 1929 – July 1930 Michael and Mary P. C. Tuff Charles Hopkins Theatre, New York City[23]


Harry Beresford in Doctor X (1932)
Year Title Role Notes
1926 The Quarterback Elmer Stone Film debut [2]
1931 Charlie Chan Carries On Kent [2]
Finn and Hattie Street cleaner [2]
Heaven on Earth Captain Lilly [2]
Scandal Sheet Arnold [2]
The Secret Call Frank Kelly [2]
Sob Sister Pa Stevens [2]
Sooky Mr. Willoughby [2]
Up Pops the Devil Mr. Platt [2]
1932 Dance Team Herbert Wilson [2]
Doctor X Dr. Duke [2]
Forgotten Commandments Priest [2]
High Pressure Dr. Rudolph [2]
The Match King Christian Hobe [2]
Scandal for Sale Brownie [2]
The Sign of the Cross Flavius [2]
So Big Adam Ooms [2]
The Strange Love of Molly Louvain Taxi driver [2]
Two Seconds [2]
1933 Bondage [2]
Bureau of Missing Persons The Man [2]
College Coach Professor [2]
Dinner at Eight Fosdick [2]
Ever in My Heart Eli [2]
I Cover the Waterfront Old Chris [2]
Little Women Doctor Bangs [2]
The Mind Reader Blaney [2]
Murders in the Zoo Professor Evans [2]
Night Flight Roblet [2]
1934 Cleopatra Soothsayer [2]
Fashions of 1934 Bookseller [2]
The Friends of Mr. Sweeney Claude [2]
The Little Minister John Spens [2]
The Merry Frinks Mr. Brumby [2]
1935 Anna Karenina Matve [2]
David Copperfield Dr. Chillip [2]
A Dog of Flanders Sacristan [2]
I Found Stella Parish James [2]
I'll Love You Always Henry Irving Clegg [2]
Page Miss Glory Kimball [2]
Seven Keys to Baldpate Lige Quimby [2]
1936 Follow the Fleet Captain Hickey [2]
Grand Jury Tom Evans [2]
In His Steps Davidson [2]
Klondike Annie Brother Bowser [2]
Postal Inspector Ritter [2]
1937 The Go Getter M. M. Baker [2]
The Prince and the Pauper The Watch [2]
She Asked for It Mr. Switch [2]
She's No Lady Uncle John [2]
They Won't Forget Confederate Soldier [2]
1938 Newsboys' Home O'Dowd Final film [2]
1939 Long Shot Original story[2][24]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Harry Beresford, Stage, Film Actor". The New York Times. October 5, 1944. Retrieved 2016-04-18.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb "Harry Beresford". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2016-04-18.
  3. ^ "Harry Beresford". Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936–2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, US; Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015; retrieved 2016-04-19.
  4. ^ "Harry J. Morgan". Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index, 1871-1920 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, US: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Retrieved 2016-04-19.
  5. ^ "Emma Dunn Stokes". National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 – March 31, 1925; Roll #: 2321; Volume #: Roll 2321 - Certificates: 317850-318349, 29 Jun 1923-30 Jun 1923. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, US: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2007. Retrieved 2016-04-19.
  6. ^ a b Fidler, Jimmie (August 10, 1936). "Hollywood Shots". Reading Eagle. Retrieved 2016-04-17.
  7. ^ "Actors' Society Notes". The Billboard. December 26, 1908. p. 19. Retrieved 2016-04-20.
  8. ^ "Edith Wylie, stage actress". J. Willis Sayre Photographs. University Libraries, University of Washington. Retrieved 2016-04-20.
  9. ^ Fidler, Jimmie (January 10, 1939). "Hollywood Shots". Reading Eagle. Retrieved 2016-04-19.
  10. ^ Resting Places
  11. ^ "'Walker, London' in the City". Chicago Tribune. November 12, 1893. Retrieved 2016-04-18.
  12. ^ "Plays and Players". The Illustrated American. New York. March 17, 1894. p. 297. Retrieved 2016-04-18.
  13. ^ "At the Theatres". The Capital. Los Angeles: The Capital Publishing Company. November 29, 1902. p. 6. Retrieved 2016-04-17.
  14. ^ "In the Theatres". Spokane Daily Chronicle. January 22, 1903. Retrieved 2016-04-17.
  15. ^ "Boys Will Be Boys". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 2016-04-18.
  16. ^ "Shavings". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 2016-04-18.
  17. ^ "The Old Soak". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 2016-04-18.
  18. ^ "She Stoops to Conquer". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 2016-04-18.
  19. ^ "Stage-News". Chicago Tribune. September 28, 1924. Retrieved 2016-04-18.
  20. ^ "The Undercurrent". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 2016-04-18.
  21. ^ "Stolen Fruit". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 2016-04-18.
  22. ^ "The Perfect Alibi". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 2016-04-18.
  23. ^ "Michael and Mary". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 2016-04-18.
  24. ^ "Long Shot". Internet Archive. Retrieved 2016-04-19.

External linksEdit