Robert Greig

Robert Greig (December 27, 1879 – June 27, 1958) was an Australian-American actor who appeared in more than 100 films between 1930 and 1949, usually as the dutiful butler. Born Arthur Alfred Bede Greig, he was the nephew of Australian politician and solicitor William Bede Dalley. He was commonly known as "Bob".

Robert Greig
Robert Greig in Algiers.jpg
Greig in Algiers (1938)
Born(1879-12-27)December 27, 1879
DiedJune 27, 1958(1958-06-27) (aged 78)
Years active1928–1949


Greig was born near Melbourne, in 1878. He married fellow actor Beatrice Denver Holloway in 1912. After a successful career in Melbourne, he and his wife sailed for the United States, and he made his Broadway debut in 1928[1] in an operetta, Countess Maritza.[2] His next production was the Marx Brothers' comedy Animal Crackers,[3] in which he portrayed "Hives" the butler. He reprised the role in the 1930 film version, which was his movie debut and set the pattern for much of his career, as he was often cast as a butler or other servant.[4]

He performed in several other productions on Broadway, the last in 1938.[1] Greig worked steadily in films, again appearing with the Marx Brothers in Horse Feathers (1932), in which he played a biology professor, and was featured in the 1932 short Jitters the Butler. Notable films in which he broke out of butler-mode were Cockeyed Cavaliers (1934), starring Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey, in which Greig played the "Duke of Weskit", Uncle John to Irene Dunne's Theodora in Theodora Goes Wild (1936), and Algiers (1938), in which he was "Giraux", the wealthy and gross protector of Hedy Lamarr's character.

Publicity photo from Sullivan's Travels (1941)

In the 1940s, Greig was part of Preston Sturges' unofficial "stock company" of character actors, appearing in six films written and directed by Sturges.[5] His performances in Sullivan's Travels, The Lady Eve and The Palm Beach Story, in which he played a member of the "Ale & Quail Club", were among his best.[4]

Greig's last film was Bride of Vengeance, a 1949 Paulette Goddard vehicle, in which he played the uncredited part of a "Councillor."


Greig died in Los Angeles on June 27, 1958 at the age of 78: he is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.


Chico Marx, Greig, and Harpo Marx in his film debut, Animal Crackers (1930)


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