Jack La Rue (born Gaspare Biondolillo;[1] May 3, 1902 – January 11, 1984) was an American film and stage actor.[1]

Jack La Rue
Jack La Rue in For Heaven's Sake.jpg
Jack La Rue in For Heaven's Sake (1950)
Gaspare Biondolillo

(1902-05-03)May 3, 1902
New York City, U.S.
DiedJanuary 11, 1984(1984-01-11) (aged 81)
Occupation(s)Film and stage actor
Years active1923–1977
Constance Deighton Simpson
(m. 1938; div. 1946)

Violet Edith von Rosenberg
(m. 1949; annul. 1955)

Anne Giordano
(m. 1962; annul. 1967)

Early yearsEdit

The son of Sicilian immigrants Pasquale and Concetta Biondolillo, La Rue was born in New York City.[2] His father sailed to the port of New York as an emigrant steerage passenger on the steamer Olympia, which sailed from the port of Naples in November 1895. According to the 1910 U.S. Census, Pasquale Biondolillo was employed as a piano varnisher.[citation needed]


La Rue went from high school to his first acting job in Otis Skinner's road company production of Blood and Sand.[2] He performed in Broadway plays from around 1923 to 1931. According to La Rue, while appearing in Mae West's play Diamond Lil, he was spotted by Howard Hawks, who offered him a part in the film Scarface (1932), starring Paul Muni.[3]


He moved to Hollywood, where he appeared in numerous films. However, Scarface was not one of them. La Rue stated in a newspaper article that, after four days, Hawks had to replace him with George Raft because La Rue was taller than Muni and had a more powerful voice.[3] Later, however, Raft turned down the role of the despicable villain in The Story of Temple Drake (1933), fearing it would damage his screen image, so the part went to La Rue. Sometimes mistaken for Humphrey Bogart, he played thugs and gangsters for the most part. However, director Frank Borzage atypically cast him as a priest in the 1932 version of A Farewell to Arms simply because, according to newspaper columnist Hubbard Keavy, he was "tired of seeing conventional characters".[2] La Rue stated he turned down a role in The Godfather (1972) and many parts in the television series The Untouchables because of the way they portrayed Italian-Americans.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

He was married three times.[1] La Rue married Los Angeles socialite Constance Deighton Simpson on September 22, 1938, in London.[4] She obtained a divorce on December 17, 1946, charging him with mental cruelty.[4] In 1955, he obtained an annulment from former Baroness Violet Edith von Rosenberg after six years of marriage, claiming she had only married him to obtain American citizenship and that they separated after less than two months.[5] He married Anne Giordano on August 12, 1962; she obtained an annulment in 1967.[6] Jack La Rue had no children.

La Rue died of a heart attack at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California,[7] at the age of 81. He was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California.

Complete filmographyEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Jack LaRue, Actor, Is Dead; In 200 Films, Often as Villain". The New York Times. United Press International. January 13, 1984.
  2. ^ a b c Hubbard Keavy (April 26, 1933). "Screen Life In Hollywood". Altoona Tribune. p. 4 – via Newspapers.com.  
  3. ^ a b c "Yesterday's Stars: La Rue doesn't like gangster stereotypes". The Mercury. Copley News Service. November 8, 1975. p. 40 – via Newspapers.com.  
  4. ^ a b "Jack La Rue's Wife Is Divorced From Movie's [sic] Bad Man". Nevada State Journal. December 17, 1946. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com.  
  5. ^ "Jack La Rue Marriage to Ex-Baroness Ended". The Bridgeport Post. Associated Press. May 13, 1955 – via Newspapers.com.  
  6. ^ "Mrs. Jack La Rue Given Annulment". The Daily Mail. Associated Press. February 16, 1967. p. 16 – via Newspapers.com.  
  7. ^ "Movie bad guy Jack LaRue dies". The Montreal Gazette. United Press International. January 12, 1984. p. D-9. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  8. ^ Workman, Christopher; Howarth, Troy (2016). "Tome of Terror: Horror Films of the Silent Era". Midnight Marquee Press. p. 324. ISBN 978-1936168-68-2.

External linksEdit