Olin Howland

Olin Ross Howland (February 10, 1886 – September 20, 1959) was an American film and theatre actor.

Olin Howland
Olin Howland in Angel and the Badman.jpg
Howland in Angel and the Badman (1947)
Born(1886-02-10)February 10, 1886
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
DiedSeptember 20, 1959(1959-09-20) (aged 73)
Hollywood, California, U.S.
Years active1918–1959
RelativesJobyna Howland (sister)

Life and careerEdit

Howland was born in Denver, Colorado, to Joby A. Howland, one of the youngest enlisted participants in the Civil War, and Mary C. Bunting.[citation needed] His sister was stage actress Jobyna Howland.[1]

From 1909 to 1927, Howland appeared on Broadway in musicals, occasionally performing in silent films. The musicals include Leave It to Jane (1917), Two Little Girls in Blue (1921) and Wildflower (1923). He was in the film Janice Meredith (1924) with Marion Davies. With the advent of sound films, his theatre background proved an asset, and he concentrated mostly on films thereafter, appearing in nearly two hundred movies between 1918 and 1958.

Howland often played eccentric and rural roles in Hollywood. His parts were often small and uncredited, and he never got a leading role. He was a personal favorite of David O. Selznick,[citation needed] who cast him in his movies Nothing Sacred (1937) as a strange luggage man, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938, as the teacher Mr. Dobbins) and Gone with the Wind (1939) as a carpetbagger businessman.[2] He also played in numerous westerns from Republic Pictures, including the John Wayne films In Old California (1942) and Angel and the Badman (1947). As a young man, Howland learned to fly at the Wright Flying School and soloed on a Wright Model B. This lent special sentiment in his scenes with James Stewart in the film The Spirit of St. Louis (1957), as Stewart was also a pilot in real life. The Spirit of St. Louis and Them! (1954), where he played a drunken old man, and The Blob (1958), were his last films.[citation needed]

He also played in television shows during the 1950s. One of Olin's memorable television appearances was in an episode of "I Love Lucy." Entitled "First Stop", air date January 17, 1955 Olin played the humorous role of a cafe and motel proprietor offering dubious accommodations to the road-weary Ricardos and Mertzes as they traveled by car en-route from New York to California. In 1958 and 1959, he was cast as Charley Perkins in five episodes of ABC's sitcom The Real McCoys, starring Walter Brennan.

Howland was also a dancer, a dancing teacher, and a headliner in vaudeville shows. He toured Europe performing dancing exhibitions.[3]

Howland never married and had no children. He worked until his death in Hollywood, California, at the age of 73.

Selected filmographyEdit


  1. ^ "Olin Howland". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on March 23, 2022. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
  2. ^ Hal Erickson (2014). "Olin Howland". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 17, 2014. Retrieved February 3, 2016.
  3. ^ "Olin Howland, actor, to broadcast on WJAS". The Pittsburgh Press. Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh. January 19, 1930. p. 59. Retrieved April 19, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.

External linksEdit