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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:

Dr. Alexander Q. Tower: Well, Mitchell, I don't know at all your approach to medicine. Perhaps you regard it as an opportunity to become one of those bedside manners with a list of proper pills to give the patient - particularly when you don't know what is the matter with him. Or perhaps your aim is to become an eminent carpenter with a knife and a chisel and a saw. Perhaps even you'll flow over with the nobility of relieving humanity's suffering. I'll tell you my approach to medicine! It is a game in which man pits his brains against the forces of destruction and disease. In the beginning I don't expect you to participate in the game. You'll only listen and accept. You will study and you will make notes and you will memorize... and you will do all this only because I tell you to.

Anne Crandall: [Defending her life] It's comfortable
Jonathan Crandall Sr: You're too young to be comfortable.
Anne Crandall: I have, you, you miserable old reprobate!
Jonathan Crandall Sr: I can think of a couple of things you haven't got.
Anne Crandall: What?
Jonathan Crandall Sr: Well, tou're a widow!
Anne Crandall: Yes?
Jonathan Crandall Sr: And, uh, don't be so darn difficult.

Seton Mansley aka Alfred Crane: Suddenly, it had come to me that I was the only one out of 28,000 guys who wasn't allowed to come home every night at six o'clock and smoke his slippers, and read his dinner, and eat his pipe.

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Also a Gemini

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Best Supporting Actor Oscar 1943

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Charles Coburn on the
Hollywood Walk of Fame

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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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