Frank Faylen (born Charles Francis Ruf, December 8, 1905 – August 2, 1985) was an American film and television actor. Largely a bit player and character actor, he occasionally played more fleshed-out supporting roles during his forty-two year acting career, during which he appeared in some 223 film and television productions, often without credit.
December 8, 1905
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
|Died||August 2, 1985 (aged 79)|
Burbank, California, U.S.
|Resting place||San Fernando Mission Cemetery|
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Faylen began his acting career as an infant appearing with his vaudeville-performing parents on stage. The family lived on a showboat, and performed throughout his youth.
Faylen became a stage actor at 18 and eventually began working in films in the 1930s. He began playing a number of bit parts for Warner Bros., then freelanced for other studios in gradually larger character roles. He appeared as Walt Disney's musical conductor in The Reluctant Dragon, and as a stern railroad official in the Laurel and Hardy comedy A-Haunting We Will Go. Faylen and Laurel and Hardy supporting player Charlie Hall were teamed briefly by Monogram Pictures.
Faylen's breakthrough came in 1945, where he was cast as Bim, the cynical nurse at Bellevue's alcoholic ward in The Lost Weekend. In the following year, he played Ernie Bishop, the friendly taxi driver in Frank Capra's 1946 film It's a Wonderful Life. Faylen's career also stretched to television, where he appeared in a number of western series, such as Maverick and Zane Grey Theater, as well as playing series regular long-suffering grocer Herbert T. Gillis, the father of the title character on the 1950s-'60s television sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. He also played Bert Hollinger in the ABC comedy That Girl.: 1065