Edward Arnold (born Gunther Edward Arnold Schneider; February 18, 1890 – April 26, 1956) was an American actor.
Arnold was born on the Lower East Side of New York City, the son of German immigrants Elizabeth (Ohse) and Carl Schneider. His schooling came at the East Side Settlement House.
Arnold was married three times: Harriet Marshall (1917–1927), with whom he had three children: Elizabeth, Jane and William (who had a short movie career as Edward Arnold Jr.); Olive Emerson (1929–1948) and Cleo McLain (1951 until his death).
Interested in acting since his youth (he made his first stage appearance at the age of 12 as Lorenzo in The Merchant of Venice), Arnold made his professional stage debut in 1907. He found work as an extra for Essanay Studios and World Studios, before landing his first significant role in 1916's The Misleading Lady. In 1919, he left film for a return to the stage, and did not appear again in movies until he made his talkie debut in Okay America! (1932).
He recreated one of his stage roles in one of his early films, Whistling in the Dark (1933).
His role in the 1935 film Diamond Jim boosted him to stardom. He reprised the role of Diamond Jim Brady in the 1940 film Lillian Russell.
He also played a similar role in The Toast of New York (1937), another fictionalized version of real-life business chicanery, for which he was billed above Cary Grant in the posters with his name in much larger letters.
Arnold appeared in over 150 movies. Although he was labeled "box office poison" in 1938 by an exhibitor publication (he shared this dubious distinction with Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Mae West, Fred Astaire and Katharine Hepburn), he never lacked for work. Rather than continue in leading man roles, he gave up losing weight and went after character parts instead. Arnold was quoted as saying, "The bigger I got, the better character roles I received." He was such a sought-after actor, he often worked on two pictures at the same time.
Arnold was an expert at playing rogues and authority figures, and superb at combining the two as powerful villains quietly pulling strings. He was best known for his roles in Come and Get It (1936), Sutter's Gold (1936), the aforementioned The Toast of New York (1937), You Can't Take It with You (1938), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), Meet John Doe (1941), and The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941).
He was the first actor to portray Rex Stout's famous detective Nero Wolfe, starring in Meet Nero Wolfe (1936), the film based on the first novel in the series.
He played blind detective Duncan Maclain in two movies based on the novels by Baynard Kendrick, Eyes in the Night (1942) and The Hidden Eye (1945).
Arnold made a posthumous cameo in the 1984 film Gremlins as the deceased husband (visible in a large framed photograph) of Mrs. Deagle, a character much like the rich, heartless characters Arnold was known for. Director Joe Dante mentioned that they received permission from Arnold's family to use his image.
From 1947 to 1953, Arnold starred in the ABC radio program Mr. President. He also played a lawyer, "Mr. Reynolds," in The Charlotte Greenwood Show. In 1953, he was host of Spotlight Story on Mutual.
Arnold was host for Your Star Showcase, "a series of 52 half-hour television dramas ... released by Television Programs of America." The series was launched January 1, 1954, to run in 1950 cities. He also co-starred in "Ever Since the Day," an episode of Ford Theatre on NBC.
Midwestern University awarded Arnold an honorary Doctor of Letters degree on May 24, 1951. Arnold has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 6225 Hollywood Blvd.
Arnold was president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1940 to 1942. In 1940, his autobiography Lorenzo Goes to Hollywood was published. He was the co-founder of the I Am an American Foundation.
Starting in the 1940s, Arnold became involved in Republican politics and was mentioned as a possible candidate for the United States Senate. He lost a closely contested election for Los Angeles County Supervisor and said at the time that perhaps actors were not suited to run for political office.
Arnold died at his home in Encino, California from a cerebral hemorrhage associated with atrial fibrillation, aged 66. He was interred in the San Fernando Mission Cemetery.
The Misleading Lady (1916) as Sidney Parker (film debut)
The Strange Case of Mary Page (1916) as Dr. Foster
The Primitive Strain (1916)
Vultures of Society (1916) as Joseph Gripp
Sherlock Holmes (1916) as Moriarty Henchman In Striped Cap (uncredited)
The Return of Eve (1916) as Seymour Purchwell
The Slacker's Heart (1917) as Frank Allen
Phil for Short (1919) as Tom Wentworth
A Broadway Saint (1919) as Mr. Frewen
The Cost (1920) as Hampden Scarborough
Murder in the Pullman (1932, Short) as Nick Valentine
Okay, America! (1932) as Duke Morgan
Three on a Match (1932) as Ace
Afraid to Talk (1932) as Jig Skelli
Rasputin and the Empress (1932) as Dr A. Remezov
Whistling in the Dark (1933) as Dillon
The White Sister (1933) as Father Saracinesca
The Barbarian (1933) as Pasha Achmed
The Life of Jimmy Dolan (1933) as Inspector Ennis (uncredited)
Jennie Gerhardt (1933) as Sen. Brander
Secret of the Blue Room (1933) as Commissioner Forster
Her Bodyguard (1933) as Orson Bitzer
I'm No Angel (1933) as "Big Bill" Barton
Duck Soup (1933) as Politician (uncredited)
Roman Scandals (1933) as Emperor Valerius
Madame Spy (1934) as Schultz
Unknown Blonde (1934) as Frank Rodie
Sadie McKee (1934) as Jack Brennan
Thirty Day Princess (1934) as Richard M. Gresham
Hide-Out (1934) as Det. Lt. 'Mac' MacCarthy
Million Dollar Ransom (1934) as Vincent Shelton
Wednesday's Child (1934) as Ray Phillips
Biography of a Bachelor Girl (1935) as Mr. 'Feydie' Feydak
Cardinal Richelieu (1935) as Louis XIII
The Glass Key (1935) as Paul Madvig
Diamond Jim (1935) as Diamond Jim Brady
Remember Last Night? (1935) as Danny Harrison
Crime and Punishment (1935) as Insp. Porfiry
Sutter's Gold (1936) as Johan (John) Sutter
Meet Nero Wolfe (1936) as Nero Wolfe
Come and Get It (1936) as Barney Glasgow
John Meade's Woman (1937) as John Meade
Easy Living (1937) as J.B. Ball
The Toast of New York (1937) as Jim Fisk
Blossoms on Broadway (1937) as Ira Collins
The Crowd Roars (1938) as Jim Cain
You Can't Take It with You (1938) as Anthony P. Kirby
Idiot's Delight (1939) as Achille Weber
Let Freedom Ring (1939) as Jim Knox
Man About Town (1939) as Sir John Arlington
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) as Jim Taylor
Slightly Honorable (1939) as Vincent Cushing
The Earl of Chicago (1940) as Quentin 'Doc' Ramsey
Johnny Apollo (1940) as Robert Cain Sr.
Lillian Russell (1940) as Diamond Jim Brady
Meet John Doe (1941) as D.B. Norton
The Penalty (1941) as Martin 'Stuff' Nelson
The Lady from Cheyenne (1941) as James 'Jim' Cork
Design for Scandal (1941) as Judson M. Blair
The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941) as Daniel Webster
Unholy Partners (1941) as Merrill Lambert
Johnny Eager (1941) as John Benson Farrell
The War Against Mrs. Hadley (1942) as Elliott Fulton
Eyes in the Night (1942) as Duncan 'Mac' Maclain
Inflation (1942, Short) as The Devil
The Youngest Profession (1943) as Burton V. Lyons
Standing Room Only (1944) as T. J. Todd
Janie (1944) as Charles Conway
Kismet (1944) as The Grand Vizier
Mrs. Parkington (1944) as Amory Stilham
Main Street After Dark (1945) as Lt. Lorrgan
Ziegfeld Follies (1945) as Lawyer ('Pay the Two Dollars')
The Hidden Eye (1945) as Capt. Duncan Maclain
Week-End at the Waldorf (1945) as Martin X. Edley
Janie Gets Married (1946) as Charles Conway
Three Wise Fools (1946) as Theodore Findley
No Leave, No Love (1946) as Hobart Canford Stiles
The Mighty McGurk (1947) as Mike Glenson
My Brother Talks to Horses (1947) as Mr. Bledsoe
Dear Ruth (1947) as Judge Harry Wilkins
The Hucksters (1947) as David 'Dave' Lash
Three Daring Daughters (1948) as Robert Nelson
Big City (1948) as Judge Martin O. Abercrombie
Wallflower (1948) as Andrew J. Linnett
Command Decision (1948) as Congressman Arthur Malcolm
John Loves Mary (1949) as Sen. James McKinley
Take Me Out to the Ballgame (1949) as Joe Lorgan
Big Jack (1949) as Mayor Mahoney
Dear Wife (1949) as Judge Harry Wilkins
The Yellow Cab Man (1950) as Martin Creavy
Annie Get Your Gun (1950) as Pawnee Bill
The Skipper Surprised His Wife (1950) as Adm. Homer Thorndyke
Dear Brat (1951) as Senator Wilkins
Belles on Their Toes (1952) as Sam Harper
City That Never Sleeps (1953) as Penrod Biddel
Man of Conflict (1953) as J.R. Compton
Living It Up (1954) as The Mayor
Twelve Angry Men (1954, TV Series) as Juror #10
The Houston Story (1956) as Paul Atlas
The Ambassador's Daughter (1956) as Ambassador William Fisk
Miami Exposé (1956) as Oliver Tubbs (final film)
Year Program Episode/source
1942 Philip Morris Playhouse The Maltese Falcon
1. "Edward Arnold Is Often Called 'Mr. President' In Private Life." Denton Record-Chronicle. February 3, 1952. p. 14.
2. Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio (Revised ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. p. 150. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. The Charlotte Greenwood Show, situation comedy.
3. "MBS Sets Lineup for Program Plan" (PDF). Broadcasting. September 28, 1953. p. 73.
4. "Release of Film Series Costing $1.85 Million" (PDF). Broadcasting. December 14, 1953. p. 37.
5. "Production" (PDF). Broadcasting. October 12, 1953. p. 41.
6. "Edward Arnold." Hollywood Walk of Fame.
7. "Arnold Is Playhouse Guest Star." Harrisburg Telegraph. August 8, 1942. p. 25.