James Ridley Osgood Perkins (May 16, 1892 – September 21, 1937) was an American actor.[1]

Osgood Perkins
Perkins as Walter Burns in The Front Page (1928)
James Ridley Osgood Perkins

(1892-05-16)May 16, 1892
DiedSeptember 21, 1937(1937-09-21) (aged 45)
Years activeunknown–1935
Janet Esselstyn Rane (m. 1922)
ChildrenAnthony Perkins
RelativesOz Perkins (grandson)
Elvis Perkins (grandson)

Life and careerEdit

Perkins was born in West Newton, Massachusetts, son of Henry Phelps Perkins Jr., and his wife, Helen Virginia (née Anthony).[2] His maternal grandfather was wood engraver Andrew Varick Stout Anthony.[3] He was a descendant of Mayflower passenger John Howland[citation needed] and a graduate of Harvard College.[4]

Perkins made his Broadway debut in 1924 in the George S. KaufmanMarc Connelly play Beggar on Horseback. In the next 12 years, he would appear in 24 Broadway productions, including The Front Page and Uncle Vanya.

Despite his success as a leading man in the theatre, Hollywood viewed him as a character actor. He appeared in 12 silent films, including Puritan Passions, before moving to talkies such as Scarface and Gold Diggers of 1937.

"The best actor I ever worked with was Osgood Perkins," Louise Brooks told Kevin Brownlow. "You know what makes an actor great to work with? Timing. You don't have to feel anything. It's like dancing with a perfect dancing partner. Osgood Perkins would give you a line so that you would react perfectly. It was timing -- because emotion means nothing." Brooks and Perkins appeared together in Love 'Em and Leave 'Em (1926).

Perkins married Janet Esselstyn Rane in 1922. They had one child, actor Anthony Perkins. Osgood died of a heart attack in Washington, D.C., at age 45. His son was five years old at the time.

Osgood Perkins was inducted, posthumously, into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1981.[5]


Year Title Role Notes
1922 The Cradle Buster Crack 'Spoony'
1923 Puritan Passions Dr. Nicholas
1924 Grit Boris Giovanni Smith
1925 Wild, Wild Susan M. Crawford Dutton
1926 Love 'Em and Leave 'Em Lem Woodruff
1927 High Hat The Assistant Director
1927 Knockout Reilly Spider Cross
1929 Syncopation Hummel
1929 Mother's Boy Jake Sturmberg
1931 Tarnished Lady Ben Sterner
1932 Scarface Johnny Lovo
1934 Madame DuBarry Duc de Richelieu
1934 Kansas City Princess Marcel Duryea - French Private Eye
1934 The President Vanishes Harris Brownell
1934 Secret of the Chateau Martin
1935 I Dream Too Much Paul Darcy
1936 Gold Diggers of 1937 Morty Wethered
1937 A Star Is Born Otto Uncredited, (final film)


  1. ^ Great Stars of the American Stage; in Historic Photographs, p.85 c.1983 edited by Stanley Appelbaum ISBN 0-486-24555-1
  2. ^ Winecoff, Charles (2009). Split File: The Life of Anthony Perkins. Diane Pub Co. p. 10. ISBN 078819870X.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-05-08. Retrieved 2016-11-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Monahan, Kaspar (October 9, 1932). "The Show Shops". The Pittsburgh Press. Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh. p. 31. Retrieved November 9, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.  
  5. ^ "26 Elected to the Theater Hall of Fame." The New York Times, March 3, 1981.

External linksEdit