Job Actor
Years active 1901-61
Known for Monocled, cigar-smoking, 'elder' roles
Top Roles Holman, Mr. Oliver Oxley, Robert Drexel Gow, Col. Will Seaborn Effingham, Sir Simon Flaquer
Top GenresComedy, Drama, Romance, Crime, Historical, Musical
Top TopicsBook-Based, Romance (Comic), Marriage
Top Collaborators (Producer), (Director), (Director), (Director)
Shares birthday with Louis Jourdan, Moe Howard, Mildred Natwick  see more..

Charles Coburn Overview:

Legendary character actor, Charles Coburn, was born Charles Douville Coburn on Jun 19, 1877 in Savannah, GA. Coburn appeared in over 95 film and TV roles. His best known films include The More the Merrier, The Devil and Miss Jones, The Lady Eve, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Heaven Can Wait and Monkey Business. Coburn died at the age of 84 on Aug 30, 1961 in New York City, NY and was cremated and his ashes scattered in GA, MA and NY.


Although already an established stage actor for almost 40 years, Coburn made his feature film debut at 58 years old as Judge Hays in The People's Enemy (starring Preston Foster, Lila Lee and Melvyn Douglas). The monocled, cigar-smoking character actor played a variety of 'elder' roles, most notably the 'damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead' match-maker Mr. Dingle in The More the Merrier (starring Jean Arthur and Joel McCrea) and Sir Francis 'Piggy' Beekman (Marilyn Monroe's 'sugar daddy') in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (also starring Jane Russell).

(Source: article by Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub).



Charles Coburn was nominated for three Academy Awards, winning one for Best Supporting Actor for The More the Merrier (as Benjamin Dingle) in 1943.

Academy Awards

YearAwardFilm nameRoleResult
1941Best Supporting ActorThe Devil and Miss Jones (1941)John P. MerrickNominated
1943Best Supporting ActorThe More the Merrier (1943)Benjamin DingleWon
1946Best Supporting ActorThe Green Years (1946)Alexander GowNominated

He was honored with one star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of Motion Pictures.

BlogHub Articles:

Happy Birthday to Classic Film’s Cupid,

By Judy on Jun 19, 2017 From Cary Grant Won't Eat You

Today you need to embrace your love, ask out that crush, comfort your lovelorn friend, or play matchmaker yourself. Why? Because it’s ’s birthday. You know: the warm uncle/grandfather/parent type who plays the part of wing man, aiding couples in love. A Coburn character is ... Read full article

10 Things You May Not Know About

By Stephen Reginald on Apr 1, 2017 From Classic Movie Man

10 Things You May Not Know About (1877 – 1961) was one of the most beloved character actors, during Hollywood’s Golden Age, appearing in some of the most beloved films of 1940s and 1950s. Coburn started his career as a “program boy” and work... Read full article

Falling for , Matchmaker Extraordinaire

By Judy on Sep 27, 2015 From Cary Grant Won't Eat You

Has there ever been a Cupid more charming than ? He smartens up the debonair Henry Van Cleve (Don Ameche), ensuring he doesn’t lose his lovely wife, Martha (Gene Tierney) in Heaven Can Wait (1943). He pushes his widowed daughter-in-law (Irene Dunne) into frivolity and a new chan... Read full article

Day 24:

By Jill Blake on Aug 24, 2013 From Sittin' on a Backyard Fence

Thanks to everyone who participated in yesterday’s tribute to Elizabeth Taylor. Please make sure you check out all the contributions dedicated to Dame Elizabeth.? For the next 24 hours we honor one of the great character actors: . Trivia on : On to the blogging... Read full article

Know Your Character Actor –

By smumcountry on Aug 18, 2013 From Smum County

August 18, 2013 by smumcounty Born in Macon, Georgia in 1877, began his love affair with acting doing odd jobs at the local Savannah theater, handing out playbills, working as the doorman, and lastly at the age of 17 working as theater manager. He received his first part in that thea... Read full article

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Charles Coburn Quotes:

Burton F. 'B.F.' Fulton: [to Polly] It's just that I want you to know that lots of marriages... well, aren't the way they say in books... but still they're worth fighting for.

Sir Joseph, Counsel for the Prosecution: M'lord, I would like to have an opportunity to consider what bearing this has on the case: I've just been informed that the witness Latour has done away with himself.

Constance 'Connie' Milligan: ...I've made up my mind to rent to nobody but a woman.
Benjamin Dingle: So, let me ask you something. Would I ever want to wear your stockings?
Constance 'Connie' Milligan: No.
Benjamin Dingle: Well, all right. Would I ever want to borrow your girdle, or your red and yellow dancing slippers?
Constance 'Connie' Milligan: Of course not.
Benjamin Dingle: Well, any woman, no matter who, would insist upon borrowing that dress you got on right now. You know why? Because it's so pretty.
Constance 'Connie' Milligan: I made it myself.
Benjamin Dingle: And how would you like it if she spilled a cocktail all over it... at a party you couldn't go with her to because she borrowed it to go to it... in?
Constance 'Connie' Milligan: She might have something that I could wear.
Benjamin Dingle: Not her.
Constance 'Connie' Milligan: Why not?
Benjamin Dingle: Because she's so dumpy looking. Never has anything clean. That's why she's always borrowing your dresses.
Constance 'Connie' Milligan: How do I know you'd be any better?
Benjamin Dingle: Well, look at me. I'm neat, like a pin. Ah, let me stay.
Constance 'Connie' Milligan: Well, look, I...
Benjamin Dingle: I tell you what. We'll try it out for a week. End of the week comes, if you're not happy, we'll flip a coin to see who moves out.

read more quotes from Charles Coburn...

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Best Supporting Actor Oscar 1943

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Charles Coburn on the
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Charles Coburn Facts
His famous monocle was no affectation, but actually corrected an eye deficiency. "No point having two window panes where one will do," was always his explanation.

One of the few Hollywood actors who actually lived on Hollywood Blvd.

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