Acknowledged as the inspiration for Mr. Peabody on "Bullwinkle Show, The" (1961)
Appeared on the New York stage in 1925 in a dance act with Mary Hay.
Created the role of Charles Condomine in Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit on the London and New York stages.
Featured in "Bad Boys: The Actors of Film Noir" by Karen Burroughs Hannsberry (McFarland, 2003).
His elegant taste kept him on Hollywood's best-dressed lists for decades. His scrupulously-private gay life remained free of scandal.
In 1892, his formidable mother, Mabelle (1869-1960), moved to New York with her beloved "little Webb," as she called him for the remainder of her life. She dismissed questions about his father, Jacob Grant Hollenbeck, a railroad ticket clerk, by saying, "We never speak of him. He didn't care for the theater." Webb and Maybelle lived together until her death at age 91. When Clifton's obsessive grieving for his mother continued on for well over a year, close friend Noel Coward, keeping their lengthy friendship in mind, is said to have remarked with a bit of exasperation, "It must be difficult to be orphaned at seventy." Webb never recovered from his mother's death. He made one film, then spent the remainder of his life in ill health and seclusion.
In 1925 Clifton appeared on stage in a dance act with vaudeville star and silent film actress Mary Hay. Later that year, when she and her husband, film star Richard Barthelmess, decided to produce and star in their own film vehicle New Toys (1925), they chose Webb to be second lead. The movie proved to be financially successful, but nineteen more years would pass before Webb appeared in another feature film.
Interred at Hollywood Memorial Cemetery (now called Hollywood Forever), Hollywood, California, USA, in the Abbey of the Psalms.
Introduced Irving Berlin's classic song Easter Parade on the Broadway stage.
Studied painting with the renowned Robert Henri and voice with the equally famous Victor Maurel
The part that got away: Ayn Rand wanted him to play suave villain Ellsworth Toohey in the 1949 adaptation of The Fountainhead (1949) and indeed it would have been superb casting which might have significantly improved the flawed film, but studio chiefs vetoed this idea.
There followed an interlude in Hollywood in the early 1930s when Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer put Webb on a salary of $3,000 a week. While socially it turned out to be a pleasant experience, professionally it was a disaster. For eighteen months, he swam, attended gala parties, met all the important people, but never once appeared in a motion picture. He referred to Hollywood as "a land of endowed vacations."
Was a close personal friend of co-star (in The Little Show, Three's a Crowd, and You Never Know) Libby Holman. Sharing a common homosexual lifestyle, Webb (with his mother) would accompany Holman on frequent vacations and would remain friends from 1929 until the mid-1940s.
Webb's career ascent on Broadway paralleled Libby Holman, with whom he co-starred in successful Broadway shows in 1929-30. He tended to dance while she sang. The two (actually three, if you count Webb's mother) became lifelong friends and would re-team for the troubled 1938 production of Cole Porter's You Never Know, which folded after only 73 performances.