Roscoe Todd Karns (January 15, 1921 – February 5, 2000) was an American actor. He is perhaps best remembered for playing George Bailey's younger brother, Harry Bailey, in the 1946 film It's a Wonderful Life.
Roscoe Todd Karns
January 19, 1921
Hollywood, California, U.S.
|Died||February 5, 2000 (aged 79)|
|Resting place||Ajijic Cemetery|
|Spouse(s)||Katherine Karns, m. 1944-2000 (his death)|
Karns was the son of the well-known character actor Roscoe Karns and his wife Mary Fraso. He initially planned to have a career as a newspaper reporter, but participation in a little theater production changed his mind, turning him toward acting.
Karns started his film career in 1941 as Harry Land in two Andy Hardy movies with Mickey Rooney, but shortly after that, his beginning film career was interrupted by the Second World War, where Karns served in the Army Air Corps. When he returned to Hollywood, Karnes portrayed his signature role as Harry Bailey in Frank Capra's Christmas classic It's a Wonderful Life (1946).
Karns played Jackson Jones in Jackson and Jill (1949–1953), the first weekly situation comedy for television. He also appeared with his father Roscoe in the criminal series Rocky King, Detective (1950–1954), playing Sergeant Hart. He retired from film and television in the mid-1950s.
Karns and his wife Katherine with their three children moved to Mexico near Guadalajara where they opened the English-language venue, Lakeside Little Theater in 1971. There Karns produced and directed plays for the next three decades, until his death from cancer at age 79.
In addition to acting, Karns also made numerous paintings. He began painting in January 1948 and went on to sell his works to individuals and to businesses. A newspaper reporter wrote, "His style is strictly his own and bears no resemblance to anything ever heard in an art class or put in a book."
- Andy Hardy's Private Secretary (1941) as Harry Land
- The Courtship of Andy Hardy (1942) as Harry Land
- Eagle Squadron (1942) as Meyers
- It's a Wonderful Life (1946) as Harry Bailey
- Good Sam (1948) as Joe Adams
- Jackson and Jill (1949, TV series) as Jackson Jones
- My Foolish Heart (1949) as Her escort
- It's a Small World (1950) as Sam
- Let's Dance (1950) as Sergeant (uncredited)
- The Magnificent Yankee (1950) as Secretary (uncredited)
- Drums in the Deep South (1951) as Union Captain (uncredited)
- The Red Badge of Courage (1951) as Soldier (uncredited)
- Mutiny (1952) as Andrews
- Jet Job (1952) as Peter Arlen
- My Son John (1952) as Bedford (uncredited)
- The Story of Will Rogers (1952) as 1st Mechanic (scenes deleted)
- Battle Zone (1952) as Officer
- Flat Top (1952) as Judge
- Invaders from Mars (1953) as Jim as Gas Station Attendant (uncredited)
- Mission Over Korea (1953) as 2nd Lt. Jerry Barker (uncredited)
- Clipped Wings (1953) as Lt. Dave Moreno
- China Venture (1953) as Lt. March (uncredited)
- Sea of Lost Ships (1953) as Co-Pilot (uncredited)
- Rocky King, Detective (1953–1954, TV-series) as Sergeant Hart
- The Caine Mutiny (1954) as Petty Officer 1st Class Stillwell (uncredited)
- Wilson, Scott (August 19, 2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons (3d ed.). McFarland. p. 392. ISBN 978-1-4766-2599-7.
- "Local Theatre Attractions". Santa Cruz Sentinel. March 9, 1941. p. 10. Retrieved December 18, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010. McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7. Retrieved December 24, 2020.
- Terrace 2011, p. 905.
- "Todd Karns, 79, Who Played Brother in 'It's a Wonderful Life'". The New York Times. February 20, 2000.
- "Todd Karns (Harry Bailey) – Artist". It's a Wonderful Life Museum.
- Keavy, Hubbard (March 13, 1949). "'Anybody Can Paint – Todd's Record Reveals". The Decatur Herald. Associated Press. p. 8. Retrieved December 17, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- Lentz, Harris M., III (June 1, 2001). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2000: Film, Television, Radio, Theatre, Dance, Music, Cartoons and Pop Culture. McFarland. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-7864-1024-8. Retrieved December 18, 2016.