Classic Movie Hub (CMH)

Job Actor
Years active 1906-1970
Known for Anxious, worried characters; distinctive voice
Top Roles Horace Hardwick, Nick Potter, Egbert 'Pinky' Fitzgerald, Lovett, Roy V. Bensinger
Top GenresComedy, Romance, Musical, Drama, Fantasy, Film Adaptation
Top TopicsRomance (Comic), Based on Play, Screwball Comedy
Top Collaborators (Director), (Producer), ,
Shares birthday with Robert Donat, Smiley Burnette, Peggy Dow  see more..

Edward Everett Horton Overview:

Legendary character actor, Edward Everett Horton, was born Edward Everett Horton Jr. on Mar 18, 1886 in Brooklyn, NY. Horton appeared in 180 film and tv roles. His best known films include The Gay Divorcee (as Egbert 'Pinky' Fitzgerald), Top Hat (as Horace Hardwick), Lost Horizon (as Lovett), Shall We Dance (as Jeffrey Baird), Holiday (as Professor Nick Potter) and Arsenic and Old Lace (as Mr. Witherspoon). He was most famously heard as narrator of the "Fractured Fairy Tales" segment of the The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. Other notable television appearances include I Love Lucy (as Mr. Ritter, an amorous suitor in the 1952 episode "Lucy Plays Cupid"), Batman (as Chief Screaming Chicken), and F Troop (as Roaring Chicken). Horton died at the age of 84 on Sep 29, 1970 in Encino, CA and was laid to rest in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery (Glendale) in Glendale, CA.

Early Life

Edward Everett Horton was born on March 18th, 1886 in Brooklyn, New York - before it was even incorporated into New York City. His father, also named Edward Everett Horton, was a compositor for the New York Times while his mother was a stay-at-parent. He attended Brooklyn's oldest public school, Boys and Girl High School, before being sent off the Maryland to attend the prestigious preparatory school, Baltimore City College. After high school, Horton then went on to attend Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, were he was eventually expelled for comically disruptive behavior. He transferred to Brooklyn Polytechnic and then Columbia University. It was while at Columbia that Horton became involved with theatre. He soon found that the theatre stage held more sway in him than his studies ever could and dropped out of college to pursue a career in acting.

Early Stage Career

Although primarily remembered for his acting, Horton also spend his early career as a baritone singer. In 1907 he joined the Dempsey Light Opera Company based in Staten Island, acting in productions of Michael Balfe's The Bohemian Girl and Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado. The next year Horton would join the Louis Mann acting troupe, spending he next three to five years (depending on your source) working on his craft and honing his skills working with the company. He then made his Broadway debut with a small role in The Cheater directed by his mentor, Louis Mann. He remained busy through out the 1910s, traveling across the U.S to work in stock company's such as The Orpheum Players and Beaulah Jay's company in Philadelphia, Harry Davis' in Pittsburgh, The Baker Stock Company in Oregon, Thomas Wilke's in Los Angeles and even heading back to his hometown of Brooklyn to work with the Crescent Theater.

Move to Hollywood

After 13 years of traveling around the country in stock companies, Horton eventually settled in the Los Angeles by the 1920s. Horton and his brother/business manager, George, would lease the Majestic Theater. He took on the role of actor and manager at the theater, appearing in many comedies for several seasons. Along with his continued theater ventures, Horton also entered the motion picture business - a nature transition considering his new location. The 36-year old acting veteran made his film debut in the 1922 comedy Too Much Business under the name Edward Horton. He starred in two more films that year The Ladder Jinx and The Front Page Story. The next year he became well known to movies audiences with his performance in the 1923 film Ruggles of the Red Gap, and from then on would be identified as a comedic actor. He continued to be featured in comedy features for the remainder of the decade, showcasing his skills in films such as Helen's Babies, Marry Me, and Poker Face. By the end of the decade, Horton starred in successful series of comedy shorts produced by Educational Pictures including Dad's Choice, Behind the Counter, and Vacation Waves.

After acting in nearly 20 silent films, he finally began to utilize his voice by the 1930s making memorable appearances in the early 1930s The Front Page, Smart Woman and The Age for Love. He quickly established himself as a great character actor, his persona being that of a dignified man of tested patients with a trademark double-take that always left audiences laughing. He worked tirelessly, appearing in seven films in 1933, including The Way to Love, Design for Living and It's a Boy. The next year he appeared in 10 including his first with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, The Gay Divorcee. The next year he would work with Astaire and Rogers again, this time in Top Hat while also making time for nine other films. He worked with Astaire and Rogers one last time in the 1937 musical comedy Shall We Dance.

Film, Radio, and Televisions

Horton remained a popular character actor into the late 1930s and early 1940s, appearing in popular films such as Lost Horizons, Holiday Ziegfeld Girls, Here Comes Mr. Jordon, and Arsenic and Old Lace. By the mid-1940s Horton also entered the medium of radio, lending his voice to Kraft Music Hall as its host. He also began working on the burgeoning arena of television. His first appearance was on the NBC live anthology series Chevrolet on Broadway. He then moved away from the big screen to continue his work on TV, making appearance's on Don Ameche's Musical Playhouse, I Love Lucy, The Colgate Hour, and Powerhouse 90. He returned to the big screen after a 10-year hiatus with the sci-fi fantasy The Story of Mankind in 1957.

Later Career and Life

Horton worked mainly on TV into the next decade, appearing on popular television series such as Dennis the Menace, Our Man Higgins Burke's Law and even Batman. Horton did still periodically grace the silver screen; with a memorable appearance in the Stanley Kramer ensemble comedy It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World as well as Sex and the Single Girl, The Perils of Pauline and 2,000 years later. Despite being over 80 years old, he remained busy into the next decade with appearances on the series Love, American Style and The Governor & J.J. His final screen appearance in the feature film Cold Turkey, however, would not be enjoyed by audiences until after his death. Edward Everett Horton died on September 29th, 1970 in Encino, California. He was 84 years old.

(Source: article by Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub).


Edward Everett Horton appeared in three Fred Astaire / Ginger Rogers films: The Gay Divorcee (1934), Top Hat (1935) and Shall We Dance (1937).


Horton appeared as Chief Screaming Chicken in two episodes of TV's Batman: The Yegg Foes in Gotham (1966) and An Egg Grows in Gotham (1966).


Horton was narrator for "Fractured Fairy Tales" of the The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.



He was honored with one star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of Motion Pictures. Horton was never nominated for an Academy Award.

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What a Character! Blogathon – On December 16, 2017 By CarolIn Uncategorized . So immensely popular amongst Classic Hollywood buffs, I had to write his name in the sign-up for the blogathon as quickly as I could before so... Read full article

Know Your Charactor Actor:

By smumcountry on May 18, 2014 From Smum County

May 18, 2014 by smumcounty was born in 1886 in Brooklyn, the son of and Isabella Diack Horton. His grandfather was Edward Everett Hale, the author of the short story “Man Without a Country”. He first attended college at Oberlin College in Ohio but was aske... Read full article

Know Your Charactor Actor:

By smumcountry on May 18, 2014 From Smum County

May 18, 2014 by smumcounty was born in 1886 in Brooklyn, the son of and Isabella Diack Horton. His grandfather was Edward Everett Hale, the author of the short story “Man Without a Country”. He first attended college at Oberlin College in Ohio but was aske... Read full article

By Art on Mar 18, 2012 From Classic Cinema Gold

“I have my own little kingdom. I do the scavenger parts no one else wants and I get well paid for it.” ~ was an American character actor. He had a long career in film, theater, radio, television and voice work for animated cartoons. Horton i... Read full article

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Edward Everett Horton Quotes:

Gov. Don Paquito 'Paquitito': If you catch a man stealing, shoot him. Less trouble afterwards.

Max Plunkett: Immorality may be fun, but it isn't fun enough to take the place of one hundred percent virtue and three square meals a day.

Egbert Fitzgerald: It's no crime to be married. It just shows a weakness on the part of men that women take advantage of.

read more quotes from Edward Everett Horton...

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Edward Everett Horton on the
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Edward Everett Horton Facts
Interred at Forest Lawn, Glendale, CA., in the Whispering Pines section at the top of the hill.

Diagnosed with cancer, he was hospitalized at Glen Falls, New York for several weeks before returning home to his San Fernando, California home, where he died at the age of 83.

Tommy Bond was a regular on Horton's radio show in the 1930's.

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