Howard Petrie

Howard Alexander Petrie (November 22, 1906 - March 24, 1968) was an American radio, television, and film actor.

Howard Petrie
Howard Alexander Petrie

(1906-11-22)November 22, 1906
DiedMarch 24, 1968(1968-03-24) (aged 61)
Years active1929-1965
Spouse(s)Alice Wood; 1 child

Early lifeEdit

Howard Petrie was born in Beverly, Massachusetts on November 22, 1906. When Howard was three years old his family moved to Concord. The Petries later lived in Arlington and then Somerville, where Petrie received his secondary school education. A talented musician, he conducted his high school glee club and played with various instrumental groups. He was a member of the debating team, a captain in the School Regiment and Chairman of the Senior Night Committee. He appeared in school dramatic productions including a starring role as "Marquis de la Seigliere" in the senior class play and the Jules Sandeau three-act comedy, Mademoiselle de la Seigliere.

Radio careerEdit

After he graduated from Somerville High School in 1924, Petrie worked briefly as a bank clerk and a securities salesman. While on a sales call to a radio station, his sonorous bass voice landed him a job. He joined WBZ Radio in Boston in 1929 as a junior announcer.[1] After ten months at the WBZ studios, Petrie left for New York City in June, 1930 where he joined the staff of NBC.[2]

Petrie soon became the head announcer for many of the network's shows. His first major network assignment was on Everything Goes, starring Garry Moore. He was the announcer for scores of shows including Abie's Irish Rose,[3] Big Sister, Camel Caravan, Blondie, The Ray Bolger Show, The Judy Canova Show, The Jimmy Durante Show, and The Garry Moore Show.

In 1936, Petrie won the Batten, Barten and Durstine Award for Good Announcing.[2] In 1942 he was the recipient of the H.P. Davis Memorial Announcers' Award for "personality, adaptability, diction, voice and versatility". He moved to California in 1943 to become the announcer for The Judy Canova Show. As a "personality announcer", he became a character in the show.

Film and television careerEdit

In 1947, a movie producer who was looking for a tall man for a character role, saw Petrie on the radio stage and offered him the part. At 6 feet four and 240 pounds, Petrie played numerous "big man" roles. He worked as a character actor in over thirty feature films and forty television shows. He often appeared in Westerns in both mediums.

Personal lifeEdit

On April 21, 1933, Petrie married Alice Wood, whom he met when he worked at NBC, where she was a hostess[4] between 1931 and 1936.[citation needed] She had been an actress.[4] The Petries had one son.

Later years and deathEdit

Howard Petrie had been living in semi-retirement at his home, Autumn Hill, in Walpole, New Hampshire, when he died in Keene, New Hampshire, on March 24, 1968.


Year Title Role Notes
1947 The Hal Roach Comedy Carnival George Baxter, in "Fabulous Joe"
The Fabulous Joe George Baxter
1950 Fancy Pants Secret Service Man Uncredited
Walk Softly, Stranger Bowen
Rocky Mountain Cole Smith / California Beal
1951 No Questions Asked Franko
Cattle Drive Cap
The Racket The Governor Uncredited
The Golden Horde Tugluk Alternative title: The Golden Horde of Genghis Khan
1952 Bend of the River Tom Hendricks Alternative title: Where the River Bends
The Wild North Brody
Carbine Williams Sheriff
Red Ball Express Major General Lee Gordon
Woman of the North Country Rick Barton
Pony Soldier Insp. Frazer
1953 Fair Wind to Java Reeder
Trouble Along the Way Marvin Adams Uncredited
Fort Ti Maj. Rogers
The Veils of Bagdad Karsh
1954 Border River Newlund
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Pete Perkins
The Bounty Hunter Sheriff Brand
The Bob Mathias Story Dr. Charles Mathias
Sign of the Pagan Gundahar
1955 Timberjack 'Axe-Handle' Ole
Rage at Dawn Lattimore, Prosecuting Attorney Alternative title: Seven Bad Men
How to Be Very, Very Popular Desk Sergeant
The Return of Jack Slade Joseph Ryan
1956 The Maverick Queen Butch Cassidy
A Kiss Before Dying Howard Chesser, Chief of Police
Johnny Concho Joe Helguson, Blacksmith
1957 The Tin Star Mayor Harvey King
Year Title Role Notes
1954 Waterfront Hugh Perry 1 episode
1955 The Ford Television Theatre Baker 1 episode
1956 Gunsmoke Abe Brant 1 episode "Yorky"
1957 Broken Arrow Sam Carson 1 episode
Letter to Loretta Scoutmaster 1 episode
Casey Jones George Newsome 1 episode
1958 The Californians Stryker 1 episode
Alcoa Theatre Lieutenant Gifford 1 episode
Cheyenne Burt Wrangel 1 episode "Wagon-Tongue North"
1959 Frontier Justice Kroll 1 episode
Bonanza Major Ormsby 1 episode
Lawman Hal Mead 1 episode
Maverick Mike Burke 1 episode
Colt .45 John Porter 1 episode
The DuPont Show with June Allyson Abbott 1 episode
1960 Shotgun Slade Major Kennedy 1 episode
M Squad Mr. Patrick - Head of heist team 1 episode
Have Gun – Will Travel Jack Foster 1 episode
Mr. Lucky John Dort 1 episode
Johnny Ringo Ed Blanchard 1 episode
Bat Masterson Hugh Blaine 4 episodes
The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp Governor Gibbs 2 episodes
Bronco Rigby 1 episode
Hennesey Admiral Wright 1 episode
Peter Gunn Lockland 1 episode
1960–1962 Death Valley Days Joseph Hooker 2 episodes, (final appearance)
1961 National Velvet Bjorensen 1 episode
The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis Col. McCurdy 1 episode
1964–1965 The Edge of Night Otto Zimerman Unknown episodes


  1. ^ "Before the Mike". The Daily Tribune. Wisconsin, Wisconsin Rapids. November 26, 1930. p. 9. Retrieved May 13, 2018 – via  
  2. ^ a b "Howard Petrie Wins Medal for Good Announcing". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Missouri, St. Louis. March 1, 1936. p. 8. Retrieved May 13, 2018 – via  
  3. ^ Buxton, Frank and Owen, Bill (1972). The Big Broadcast: 1920-1950. The Viking Press. SBN 670-16240-x. P. 4.
  4. ^ a b "Studio Hostess, Announcer United in Radio Wedding". The Morning Call. Pennsylvania, Allentown. April 23, 1933. p. 18. Retrieved May 13, 2018 – via  
  • Beverly (Mass.) City Directory and North Shore Map. Crowley and Lunt, 1907, 1908, 1909.
  • Birth record: 1906, Vol. 558, page 407. Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841–1910. From original records held by the Massachusetts Archives. Online database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2004.
  • Buxton, Frank, and Bill Owen. The Big Broadcast, 1920-1950. New York: Viking Press, 1976.
  • Dunning, John. Tune in Yesterday: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, 1925-1976. Englewood Cliffs. N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1976.
  • Frizzell, Martha McDanolds. A History of Walpole, New Hampshire. Walpole: Walpole Historical Society, 1963, page 263.
  • Jones, Ken D., Arthur F. McClure and Alfred E. Twomey. Character People, The Stalwarts of the Cinema. Secaucus, N.J.:, 1976, page 163.
  • "Howard Petrie, 61, A Radio Announcer and Actor, Is Dead." March 26, 1968, New York Times, page 46.
  • "Obituaries," March 27, 1968, Boston Globe, page 44.
  • Poindexter, Ray. Golden Throats and Silver Tongues: The Radio Announcers. Conway, Ark: River Road Press, 1978, page 68.
  • Somerville (Mass.) City Directory. Boston: W.A. Greenough Co., 1924, pages 122, 457.
  • The Radiator, 1924. Somerville (Mass.) High School Yearbook.
  • U.S. Census Records, 1910 and 1920, for Beverly and Arlington, Massachusetts.

External linksEdit