Carl William Demarest (February 27, 1892 – December 28, 1983) was an American character actor, known especially for his roles in screwball comedies by Preston Sturges and for playing Uncle Charley in the sitcom My Three Sons Demarest, who frequently played crusty but good-hearted roles, was a prolific film and television actor, appearing in over 140 films, beginning in 1926 and ending in the late 1970s. Before his career in motion pictures, he performed in vaudeville for two decades.
Carl William Demarest
February 27, 1892
Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
|Died||December 28, 1983 (aged 91)|
Palm Springs, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California|
(m. 1923; div. 1941)
Carl William Demarest was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the youngest of three sons of Wilhelmina (née Lindgren) and Samuel Demarest. During William's infancy, the family moved to New Bridge, a hamlet in Bergen County, New Jersey.
Demarest served in the United States Army during World War I.
Demarest started in show business working in vaudeville, performing initially in his youth with his two older brothers and later with his wife Estelle Collette (real name Esther Zichlin) as "Demarest and Colette". He then moved to work in the "legitimate theatre" on Broadway. Demarest, by 1926 also began working in films, often in productions directed by Preston Sturges and as a member of a "stock" troupe of actors whom Sturges repeatedly cast in his screen projects. He appeared in ten films written by Sturges, eight of which were under his direction, including The Lady Eve, Sullivan's Travels, and The Miracle of Morgan's Creek. Demarest was such a familiar figure at the Paramount studio that just his name was used in the movie Sunset Boulevard as a potential star for William Holden's unsold baseball screenplay.
Demarest appeared with veteran Western film star Roscoe Ates in the 1958 episode "And the Desert Shall Blossom" of CBS's Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
In 1959, Demarest was named the lead actor of the 18-week sitcom Love and Marriage on NBC in the 1959–1960 season. Demarest played William Harris, the owner of a failing music company who refuses to handle popular rock and roll music, which presumably might save the firm from bankruptcy.
He played folksy Jeb Gaine, an occasional sidekick to the main character, in the 1961–62 season of the Western series Tales of Wells Fargo.
Demarest appeared as Police Chief Aloysius of the Santa Rosita Police Department in the film It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), as well as in a memorable episode ("What's in the Box") of Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone, portraying a hen-pecked husband who murders his wife.
His most famous television role was in the ABC and then CBS sitcom My Three Sons from 1965 to 1972, playing Uncle Charley O'Casey. He replaced William Frawley, whose failing health had made procuring insurance impossible. Demarest had worked with Fred MacMurray previously in the films Hands Across the Table (1935), Pardon My Past (1945), On Our Merry Way (1948), and The Far Horizons (1955) and was a personal friend of MacMurray.
Demarest received a single Academy Award nomination for his supporting role in The Jolson Story (1946), playing Al Jolson's fictional mentor. He had previously shared the screen with the real Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer.
Demarest also received an Emmy nomination for the 1968–1969 season of My Three Sons as Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Role.
Demarest has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to motion pictures, bestowed upon him on August 8, 1979, by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. In attendance at the ceremony and then later at Musso & Frank Grill for celebrations were his My Three Sons co-stars Fred MacMurray and his wife June Haver, Tina Cole, Stanley Livingston, Barry Livingston, and Dawn Lyn.
In 1998 a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to him.
Personal life and later yearsEdit
Demarest was married twice. His first wife was his vaudeville partner Estelle Collette, born Esther Zichlin. Demarest helped raise her daughter, author Phyllis Gordon Demarest, from her earlier marriage, in 1907, to English poet and novelist Samuel Gordon, who had divorced Zichlin before his death. Demarest's second wife was Lucille Thayer, born Lucille Theurer, whom he married in Prescott, Arizona on August 31, 1942. Thayer, who later became an activist on health issues in the motion picture industry, was, in October 1960, appointed California's lay-chairman of the American Nurses Association.
Demarest died at his home in Palm Springs, California on December 28, 1983, and his body was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.
- When the Wife's Away (1926)
- Finger Prints (1927) as Cuffs Egan
- Don't Tell the Wife (1927) as Ray Valerian
- The Gay Old Bird (1927) as Mr. Fixit
- Matinee Ladies (1927) as Man-About-Town
- A Million Bid (1927) as George Lamont
- Simple Sis (1927) as Oscar
- The Black Diamond Express (1927) as Fireman
- What Happened to Father? (1927) as Detective Dibbin
- The First Auto (1927) as The Village Cut-Up
- The Bush Leaguer (1927) as John Gilroy
- A Sailor's Sweetheart (1927) as Detective
- The Jazz Singer (1927) as Buster Billings (uncredited)
- A Reno Divorce (1927) as James, the chauffeur
- Sharp Shooters (1928) as 'Hi Jack' Murdock
- A Girl in Every Port (1928) as Man in Bombay (uncredited)
- The Escape (1928) as Trigger Caswell
- Pay as You Enter (1928) as 'Terrible Bill' McGovern
- Five and Ten Cent Annie (1928) as Briggs
- The Butter and Egg Man (1928) as Jack McLure
- The Crash (1928) as Louie
- Seeing Things (1930)
- Fog Over Frisco (1934) as Spike Smith
- Many Happy Returns (1934) as Brinker
- The Circus Clown (1934) (scenes deleted)
- Fugitive Lady (1934) as Steve Rogers
- After Office Hours (1935) as Police Detective (uncredited)
- The Casino Murder Case (1935) as Auctioneer (uncredited)
- The Murder Man (1935) as 'Red' Maguire
- Bright Lights (1935) as Detective
- Diamond Jim (1935) as Harry Hill
- Hands Across the Table (1935) as Natty (uncredited)
- White Lies (1935) as Roberts
- The Great Ziegfeld (1936) as Gene Buck (uncredited)
- Wedding Present (1936) as 'Smiles' Benson
- Love on the Run (1936) as Editor Lees Berger
- Charlie Chan at the Opera (1936) as Sgt. Kelly
- Mind Your Own Business (1936) as Droopy
- Time Out for Romance (1937) as Willoughby Sproggs
- Don't Tell the Wife (1937) as Larry 'Horace' Tucker
- Oh, Doctor (1937) as Marty Short
- The Hit Parade (1937) as Parole Officer
- The Great Hospital Mystery (1937) as Mr. Beatty
- The Great Gambini (1937) as Sergeant Kirby
- Easy Living (1937) as Wallace Whistling
- Blonde Trouble (1937) as Paul Sears
- Wake Up and Live (1937) as Radio Station Attendant
- Big City (1937) as Beecher
- Rosalie (1937) as Army Coach
- Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938) as Henry Kipper
- Romance on the Run (1938) as Police Lt. Eckhardt
- One Wild Night (1938) as Editor Collins
- Josette (1938) as Joe, Diner Owner
- Peck's Bad Boy with the Circus (1938) as Daro
- While New York Sleeps (1938) as Red Miller
- The Great Man Votes (1939) as Charles Dale
- King of the Turf (1939) as Arnold
- The Gracie Allen Murder Case (1939) as Police Sgt. Ernest Heath
- The Cowboy Quarterback (1939) as Rusty Walker
- Miracles for Sale (1939) as Quinn
- Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) as Bill Griffith
- Laugh It Off (1939) as Barney 'Gimpy' Cole
- Wolf of New York (1940) as Bill Ennis
- The Farmer's Daughter (1940) as Victor Walsh
- The Great McGinty (1940) as Skeeters – The Politician
- Comin' Round the Mountain (1940) as Gutsy Mann
- The Golden Fleecing (1940) as Swallow
- Christmas in July (1940) as Mr. Bildocker
- Little Men (1940) as Constable Tom Thorpe
- The Lady Eve (1941) as Muggsy
- The Devil and Miss Jones (1941) as First Detective
- Rookies on Parade (1941) as Mike Brady
- Ride on Vaquero (1941) as Bartender Barney
- Country Fair (1941) as Stogie McPhee
- Dressed to Kill (1941) as Inspector Pierson
- All Through the Night (1941) as Sunshine
- Sullivan's Travels (1941) as Mr. Jonas
- Glamour Boy (1941) as Papa Doran
- True to the Army (1942) as Sgt. Butts
- My Favorite Spy (1942) as Flower Pot Policeman
- Pardon My Sarong (1942) as Detective Kendall
- The Palm Beach Story (1942) as First Member Ale and Quail Club
- Behind the Eight Ball (1942) as McKenzie
- Life Begins at Eight-Thirty (1942) as Police Officer
- Johnny Doughboy (1942) as Harry Fabian
- Stage Door Canteen (1943) as William Demarest
- Dangerous Blondes (1943) as Detective Gatling
- True to Life (1943) as Uncle Jake
- The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944) as Constable Edmund Kockenlocker
- Nine Girls (1944) as Walter Cummings
- Once Upon a Time (1944) as Brandt
- Hail the Conquering Hero (1944) as Sgt. Heffelfinger
- The Great Moment (1944) as Eben Frost
- Salty O'Rourke (1945) as Smitty
- Along Came Jones (1945) as George Fury
- Duffy's Tavern (1945) as HImself
- Pardon My Past (1945) as Chuck Gibson
- Our Hearts Were Growing Up (1946) as Peanuts Schultz
- The Jolson Story (1946) as Steve Martin
- The Perils of Pauline (1947) as George 'Mac' McGuire
- Variety Girl (1947) as Barker
- On Our Merry Way (1948) as Floyd
- The Sainted Sisters (1948) as Vern Tewilliger
- Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948) as Lieut. Shawn
- Whispering Smith (1948) as Bill Dansing
- Sorrowful Jones (1949) as Regret
- Jolson Sings Again (1949) as Steve Martin
- Red, Hot and Blue (1949) as Charlie Baxter, Press Agent
- When Willie Comes Marching Home (1950) as Herman Kluggs
- Riding High (1950) as Happy
- Never a Dull Moment (1950) as Mears
- He's a Cockeyed Wonder (1950) as Bob Sears
- The First Legion (1951) as Monsignor Michael Carey
- Excuse My Dust (1951) as Harvey Bullitt
- The Strip (1951) as Fluff
- Behave Yourself! (1951) as Officer O'Ryan
- What Price Glory (1952) as Cpl. Kiper
- The Blazing Forest (1952) as Syd Jessup
- The Lady Wants Mink (1953) as Harvey Jones
- Dangerous When Wet (1953) as Pa Higgins
- Here Come the Girls (1953) as Dennis Logan
- Escape from Fort Bravo (1953) as Campbell
- The Yellow Mountain (1954) as Jackpot Wray
- Jupiter's Darling (1955) as Mago
- The Far Horizons (1955) as Sgt. Gass
- The Private War of Major Benson (1955) as John
- Lucy Gallant (1955) as Charles Madden
- Sincerely Yours (1955) as Sam Dunne
- Hell on Frisco Bay (1956) as Dan Bianco
- The Rawhide Years (1956) as Brand Comfort
- The Mountain (1956) as Father Belacchi
- Pepe (1960) as Movie Studio Gateman
- The Big Bankroll (1961) as Henry Hecht
- Twenty Plus Two (1961) as Desmond Slocum
- Son of Flubber (1963) as Mr. Hummel
- It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) as Aloysius, Chief of the Santa Rosita Police Department
- Viva Las Vegas (1964) as Mr. Martin
- That Darn Cat (1965) as Mr. MacDougall
- Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark (1973) as Mr. Harris
- The Wild McCullochs (1975) as Father Gurkin
- Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976) as Studio Gatekeeper
- A Night at Coffee Dan's (1927) as M.C.
- Amateur Night (1927) as Theatre Manager
- The Night Court (1927) as Defense Counsel (uncredited)
- Seeing Things (1930)
- The Run Around (1932)
- The Danny Thomas Show in 5 episodes (1957–1958) as Mr. Daly
- The Rebel in "The Hope Chest (1960) as Ulysses Bowman
- Love and Marriage (1959–1960) as William Harris
- Tales of Wells Fargo (1961–1962) as Jeb Gaine
- Going My Way in "The Slasher" (1963) as Marty
- Bonanza in the episode "The Hayburner" (1963) as Enos Milford
- Bonanza in the episode "Old Sheba" (1964) as Angus Tweedy
- The Twilight Zone in the episode "What's in the Box?" (1964) as Joe Britt
- My Three Sons (215 episodes, 1965–1972) as Uncle Charley O'Casey
- McMillan and Wife [Two Dollars on Trouble to Win] S2/Ep07 (1973) as Uncle Cyrus
|1940||Stars over Hollywood||The Town Constable|
- ^ Obituary Variety, January 4, 1984.
- ^ a b c Pareles, Jon (1983). "William Demarest, 91, Actor, Known for Roles in Comedies", obituary, The New York Times, December 29, 1983, p. D19. Retrieved via subscription to ProQuest Historical Newspapers (Ann Arbor, Michigan), August 27, 2022.
- ^ "Minnesota, Birth and Death Records, 1866-1916," database, Carl William Demorest [sic], February 28, 1892; FHL microfilm 1,309,044, Public Health Center records, Saint Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota. Retrieved via FamilySearch archives, Salt Lake City, Utah.
- ^ Kaufman, Dave (1968). TV 69: Who's Who, What's What in the New TV Season (mass market paperback). New York: Signet. p. 129.
- ^ "William Demarest". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
- ^ "William Demarest". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
- ^ Archived 8 May 2018 at the Wayback Machine[dead link]
- ^ "New Life Member". Vaudeville News. September 30, 1921. p. 8. Retrieved January 20, 2021 – via Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections.
- ^ "New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1938", subscribed online database, Carl William Demarest and Esther (née Zichlin) Gordon, February 5, 1923; records of Manhattan, New York accessed via FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, August 29, 2022.
- ^ Jewish Chronicle of London, January 14, 1927, issue and June 14, 1907, issue. Obituary of her first husband Samuel Gordon (b. 1871 Buk, Bavaria, German Empire, m. June 12, 1907, Miss Esther Zichlin, "a violinist of great promise. There was one child of the marriage, a daughter.", d. 1927 in Wandsworth, London, England).
- ^ Jewish Chronicle of London, April 3, 1908, issue.
- ^ "Arizona, County Marriages, 1871-1964," database with images, Carl William Demarest and Lucille Theurer, 31 August 1942 in Prescott, Yavapai County, Arizona; FHL microfilm record 004251853 in Arizona Department of Libraries, Archives, and Public Records, Phoenix. Original marriage documents accessed via FamilySearch, August 29, 2022.
- ^ "Ancestry® | Family Tree, Genealogy & Family History Records". www.ancestry.com.
- ^ "Forever L.A." Gibbs Smith. August 27, 2010 – via Internet Archive.
- ^ "Those Were the Days". Nostalgia Digest. 39 (1): 32–41. Winter 2013.