Job Actor
Years active 1915-1964
Known for Cynical, street-wise, wisecracking fellows; rapid-fire reporters; hero sidekicks
Top Roles Monahan, McCue, Agent, Cuffy, Carey
Top GenresDrama, Comedy, Romance, Crime, Adventure, Silent Films
Top TopicsRomance (Comic), Screwball Comedy, Book-Based
Top Collaborators (Director), (Producer), (Producer), (Director)
Shares birthday with Elia Kazan, Peter Lawford, Cliff Reid  see more..

Roscoe Karns Overview:

Character actor, Roscoe Karns, was born on Sep 7, 1891 in San Bernardino, CA. Karns died at the age of 78 on Feb 6, 1970 in Los Angeles, CA and was laid to rest in Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, Los Angeles County, CA.


Roscoe Karns began his stage career at the age of 15, coming to films about 10 years later, in 1915, during the early silent film era. Over the course of his 49-year film career, Karns appeared in over 145 roles, many times as cynical wisecracking fellows, fast-talking reporters or hero sidekicks. Some of his more memorable roles include Reporter McCue in His Girl Friday, Phil Whittaker in Woman of the Year, and the smooth-talking Shapeley who tries to pick-up Claudette Colbert in It Happened One Night. In 1951, he began his television career starring as Police Inspector Rocky King in the series "Rocky King, Detective". He later went on to play Captain Walter Shafer in the "Hennesey" TV Series which starred veteran classic movie actor Jackie Cooper in the title role. Karns' last film was Man's Favorite Sport in 1964.

Roscoe Karns is the father of Todd Karns who played George Bailey's (James Stewart's) younger brother Harry in It's a Wonderful Life. Todd Karns also appeared in some episodes of "Rocky King, Detective" along with his father.

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



BlogHub Articles:

What a Character Blogathon 2013:

By Annmarie Gatti on Nov 9, 2013 From Classic Movie Hub Blog

? Believe You Me, is quite a Character! “Fun-on-the-side Shapeley.”?Yep, that was the very first time I encountered character actor?. And, to this day, I still roll with laughter when I see the relentless, fast-talking Oscar Shapeley trying to ‘pick up̵... Read full article

Mini Tribute Character Actor:

By Annmarie Gatti on Sep 7, 2012 From Classic Movie Hub Blog

Born September 7, 1891, Character Actor ! appeared in over 145 roles, many times as a street-wise, wisecracking fellow. My favorite role??? Well, that would have to be Shapely in It Happened One Night! You know, there’s nothing I like better than to meet a... Read full article

See all articles

Roscoe Karns Quotes:

Owen O'Malley: O.J., I'm in no mood for a lot of fuzzy lamentations.

Shapeley: Now, you're just my type. Believe me, sister, I could go for you in a big way. 'Fun-on-the-side' Shapeley they call me, with accent on the fun, believe you me.

Oliver Webb: I don't know whether you realize it or not, Owen, but I've always had a terrific influence with her.
Owen O'Malley: Me too. Once I actually compelled her to admit it looked like rain.

read more quotes from Roscoe Karns...

Share this page:
Visit the Classic Movie Hub Blog CMH
Also a Virgo

See All Virgos >>
Roscoe Karns Facts
The unpublished memoirs of animator Friz Freleng mention that It Happened One Night was one of his favorite films. It has been claimed that it helped inspire the cartoon character Bugs Bunny. Three things in the film may have coalesced to create Bugs: the personality of a minor character, Oscar Shapely, an imaginary character named "Bugs Dooley" mentioned once to frighten Shapely, and most of all, a scene in which Clark Gable eats carrots while talking quickly with his mouth full, as Bugs does.

Father of Todd Karns.

See All Related Facts >>