Edward Arnold, date unknown
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Edward Arnold
Forecourt Ceremony held on Tuesday, January 6,1942
Born: Gunther Edward Arnold Schneider, February 18, 1890, in New York City, New York
Age at the time of the ceremony: 51
Died: April 26, 1956, in Encino, California, age 66
Edward Arnold was a major supporting player in films of the 1930s, most notably as the heavy in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (released in October 1939). Unmistakable in any costume, his smooth voice and manner of expression (along with the pince-nez glasses), made him movie short-hand for "villian."

The son of German immigrants, Gunther grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He became interested in acting from an early age, appearing as Lorenzo in a production of The Merchant of Venice at the age of 12, then making his professional debut in 1907, at age 17.

He began hanging around the movie studios in Fort Lee New Jersey, where he got extra work, eventually landing a larger role in The Misleading Lady, with Edna Mayo (released in January 1916). Arnold made many films in 1916 and 1917. He got married in 1917 and fathered three children. Arnold focused on the stage thoughout the 1920s, appearing in a number of successful Broadway shows, including playing the role of the producer Harry Lee opposite George Jessel in the revival of The Jazz Singer in April 1927.

But when the movies found their voices in the early 1930s, newly divorced Arnold was there to resume his film career. His first picture was Okay America! (released in September 1932), with Lew Ayres at Universal; he then made a film of one of his Broadway plays, Whistling in the Dark (released in January 1933) for M-G-M, where he played a gangster.

All actors wait for that role that they "were born to play." For Arnold, that role was that of Diamond Jim Brady in Diamond Jim (released in September 1935) for Universal, and for which he recieved top billing (over Jean Arthur!). Arnold was a star now. He played the lead in the adaptation of Edna Ferber's Come and Get It (released in November 1936) for Goldwyn, and played John Sutter in Sutter's Gold (released in March 1936) for Universal. Arnold was tapped to play the title detective in Meet Nero Wolfe (released in July 1936) for Columbia. Hard to belive, but Arnold got top billing over Cary Grant in The Toast of New York (released in July 1937) for R-K-O.

Fond of good food and the ladies, Arnold decided to forget about being a leading man and focused on supporting roles: "The bigger I got, the better character roles I received." He played the heavy in director Frank Capra's You Can't Take it with You (released in September 1938) for Columbia, played the heavy Jim Taylor in his most iconic role in Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (released in October 1939) also for Columbia. He got to play Diamond Jim Brady again in the film Lillian Russel (which played the Chinese in May 1940) for 20th, and played another wheeler-dealer in Meet John Doe (released in May 1941) for Columbia. He returned to headliner status in The Devil and Daniel Webster (released in October 1941) for R-K-O. Arnold was the president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1940 to 1942. He offered Lorenzo Goes to Hollywood: The Autobiography of Edward Arnold, which appeared in bookstores in 1940.

Edward Arnold had been a rather big star when he laid down his footprints at the Chinese in January of 1942. In October, Arnold was tapped to play the blind detective Duncan Maclain in the film Eyes of the Night (played the Chinese in December 1942), and its sequel The Hidden Eye (played the Chinese in March 1946), both for M-G-M. He got a meaty role in the film of Annie Get Your Gun (released in May 1950).

Naturally, someone as avuncular and stereotyped as Arnold would become a darling of the Republican Party, which was considering putting him up for US Sentator. He narrowly lost being elected to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, saying at the time, that he thought that perhaps actors shouldn't become politicians.

Arnold was active in radio as well, starring in the program Mr. President on ABC, running from 1947 to 1953, and on The Charlotte Greenwood Show on ABC in 1944, and on NBC from 1944 to 1946. He hosted the Spotlight Story on the Mutual network in 1953. Television saw him as host of Your Star Showcase in syndication in 1954.

Arnold died at his home from a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 66.
Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, California. Edward Arnold Forecourt block. Executed by JJean Klossner, Tuesday, January 6, 1942. 47 x 42 inches.
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