William Demarest Overview:

Character actor, William Demarest, was born Carl William Demarest on Feb 27, 1892 in St. Paul, MN. Demarest appeared in over 165 film and TV roles. His best known films include Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Sullivan's Travels, The Lady Eve, Easy Living, That Darn Cat -- and of course Uncle Charley on TV's My Three Sons (1965-1972). Demarest died at the age of 91 on Dec 28, 1983 in Palm Springs, CA and was laid to rest in Forest Lawn (Glendale) Cemetery in Glendale, CA.

MINI BIO:

Craggy and grizzled, William Demarest was a veteran actor of well over 100 films who became, from the 1930's to the 1960's, one of Hollywood's best-known and best-loved familiar faces. He began in vaudeville as a song-and-dance act with his brother Rubin (1886-1962), but moved into films right at the beginning of sound and, after a hiatus from 1929 to 1933, established himself with dozens of Brooklynese character studies. Although often a soft-hearted and slightly dense policeman, he also excelled at brooding suspicion and tight-lipped sarcasm. Oscar nomination for "The Jolson Story".  

(Source: available at Amazon Quinlan's Illustrated Dictionary of Film Character Actors).

HONORS and AWARDS:

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Although Demarest was nominated for one Oscar, he never won a competitive Academy Award.

Academy Awards

YearAwardFilm nameRoleResult
1946Best Supporting ActorThe Jolson Story (1946)Steve MartinNominated
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He was honored with one star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of Motion Pictures.

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William Demarest Quotes:

Sgt. Heppelfinger: It's an honor to meet you, kid. What's your name?
Woodrow Lafayette Pershing Truesmith: Woodrow Lafayette Pershing Truesmith. Go ahead and laugh.
Sgt. Heppelfinger: That ain't anything to laugh at to anyone who knows anything.


George Fury: You always want to shoot them in their right eye. It spoils their aim.


Detective Gatling: [unable to answer the quiz show question, "Who invented the machine gun?"] I know that as well as I know my own name!


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Best Supporting Actor Oscar 1946






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William Demarest on the
Hollywood Walk of Fame



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William Demarest Facts
Began his career in vaudeville.

Co-starred on NBC Radio's "The Eddie Bracken Story" (1945).

A golf enthusiast, he died the same day and year as pro golfer Jimmy Demaret.

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