Known for movies

Short Info

DiedDecember 28, 1983, Palm Springs, California, United States
SpouseLucile Thayer
MarkAlways played hilariously flummoxed tough guys
FactBiography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith. Pg. 135. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387

William Demarest was an American actor. He was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, on February 27, 1892, to Norwegian immigrant parents. His father was a carpenter and his mother was a homemaker. He had four siblings: two brothers and two sisters. He attended public schools in Saint Paul and graduated from high school in 1910.

He began his career as a vaudeville performer, touring the country with various acts. He eventually made his way to Hollywood, where he found work as a character actor in films. He appeared in over 200 films during his career, including It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), The Awful Truth (1937), and My Little Chickadee (1940). He was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in The Miracle Worker (1962).

He died of a heart attack on December 28, 1983, at the age of 91.

General Info

Full NameWilliam Demarest
DiedDecember 28, 1983, Palm Springs, California, United States
ProfessionActor, Soldier, Professional Boxer


SpouseLucile Thayer
ParentsWilhelmina Demarest, Samuel Demarest
SiblingsRube Demarest


NominationsAcademy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, TV Land Favorite Nanny Award
MoviesSullivan's Travels, Along Came Jones, The Lady Eve, The Jolson Story, The Great McGinty, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Viva Las Vegas, Hail the Conquering Hero, The Palm Beach Story, The Jazz Singer, Christmas in July, Escape from Fort Bravo, Whispering Smith, Charl...
TV ShowsMy Three Sons, Tales of Wells Fargo, Love and Marriage

Social profile links


#Marks / Signs
1Always played hilariously flummoxed tough guys


1Interestingly, Mr. Demarest appeared in "The Jazz Singer" (albeit uncredited) starring Al Jolson and also appeared in the "The Jolson Story" (and later "Jolson Sings Again") which recounts (among other things) the making of "The Jazz Singer." He appears to be the only performer to have appeared in both movies. [Actually, Al Jolson is in both films. He plays himself in some long shots in "The Jolson Story".].
2Played a character with the name Steve Martin in two movies The Jolson Story (1946) and Jolson Sings Again (1949).
3Hated to talk about his boxing career.
4Had a falling-out with actor/singer Al Jolson.
5Former professional boxer.
6A golf enthusiast, he died the same day and year as pro golfer Jimmy Demaret.
7Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith. Pg. 135. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
8Co-starred on NBC Radio's "The Eddie Bracken Story" (1945).
9Began his career in vaudeville.
10Brother of actor Rube Demarest.




Don't Tell the Wife1937Larry 'Horace' Tucker
Time Out for Romance1937Willoughby Sproggs
Mind Your Own Business1936Droopy
Charlie Chan at the Opera1936Sgt. Kelly
Love on the Run1936Lees Berger - City Editor
Wedding Present1936'Smiles' Benson
The Great Ziegfeld1936Gene Buck (uncredited)
White Lies1935Roberts
Hands Across the Table1935Natty (uncredited)
Diamond Jim1935Harry Hill
Bright Lights1935Detective
The Murder Man1935'Red' Maguire
The Casino Murder Case1935Auctioneer (uncredited)
After Office Hours1935Police Detective (uncredited)
Fugitive Lady1934Steve Rogers
Many Happy Returns1934Brinker
Fog Over Frisco1934Spike Smith
The Run Around1932Short
Seeing Things1930
The Crash1928Louie
The Butter and Egg Man1928Jack McLure
Five and Ten Cent Annie1928Briggs
Pay as You Enter1928'Terrible Bill' McGovern
The Escape1928Trigger Caswell
A Girl in Every Port1928Man in Bombay (uncredited)
Sharp Shooters1928'Hi Jack' Murdock
The Night Court1927ShortDefense Counsel (uncredited)
A Reno Divorce1927James, the chauffeur
Amateur Night1927ShortTheatre Manager
The Jazz Singer1927Buster Billings (uncredited)
A Sailor's Sweetheart1927Detective
The Bush Leaguer1927John Gilroy
A Night at Coffee Dan's1927ShortM.C.
The First Auto1927The Village Cut-Up
What Happened to Father?1927Detective Dibbin
The Black Diamond Express1927Fireman
Simple Sis1927Oscar
A Million Bid1927George Lamont
Matinee Ladies1927Man-About-Town
The Gay Old Bird1927Mr. Fixit
Don't Tell the Wife1927Ray Valerian
Finger Prints1927Cuffs Egan
The Millionaire1978TV MovieOscar Pugh
Won Ton Ton: The Dog Who Saved Hollywood1976Studio Gatekeeper
Ellery Queen1975TV SeriesAlexander 'Pop' Denny
McMillan & Wife1973-1975TV SeriesAndy Kenesaw / Cyrus McFee
The Wild McCullochs1975Father Gurkin
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark1973TV MovieMr. Harris
My Three Sons1965-1972TV SeriesUncle Charley O'Casey
To Rome with Love1970TV SeriesUncle Charley O'Casey
That Darn Cat!1965Mr. MacDougall
Bonanza1963-1964TV SeriesAngus Tweedy / Enos Milford
Ben Casey1964TV SeriesLeonard Lonsdale
Burke's Law1964TV SeriesCharlie Who
The Farmer's Daughter1964TV SeriesSenator Richards
The Greatest Show on Earth1964TV SeriesPaul Keller
The Twilight Zone1964TV SeriesJoe Britt
Viva Las Vegas1964Mr. Martin
Dr. Kildare1964TV SeriesMr. Aimes
It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World1963Police Chief Aloysius
Going My Way1963TV SeriesMarty
Son of Flubber1963Mr. Hummel
Tales of Wells Fargo1961-1962TV SeriesJeb Gaine / Jeb Gaines / Jeb
Make Room for Daddy1957-1961TV SeriesMr. Daly
Twenty Plus Two1961Desmond Slocum
King of the Roaring 20's: The Story of Arnold Rothstein1961Henry Hecht
Wagon Train1961TV SeriesMr. Hennessey
The Rebel1960TV SeriesUlysses Bowman
Pepe1960Movie Studio Gateman
The Red Skelton Hour1960TV SeriesSenator Burnside
Love and Marriage1959-1960TV SeriesWilliam Harris
Alfred Hitchcock Presents1958TV SeriesTom Akins
Studio 571957TV Series
The Mountain1956Father Belacchi
Hell on Frisco Bay1955Dan Bianco
The Rawhide Years1955Brand Comfort
Sincerely Yours1955Sam Dunne
Lucy Gallant1955Charles Madden
The Private War of Major Benson1955John
The Far Horizons1955Sgt. Gass
Jupiter's Darling1955Mago
The Yellow Mountain1954Jackpot Wray
Escape from Fort Bravo1953Campbell
Here Come the Girls1953Dennis Logan
Dangerous When Wet1953Pa Higgins
The Lady Wants Mink1953Harvey Jones
The Blazing Forest1952Syd Jessup
What Price Glory1952Cpl. Kiper
Behave Yourself!1951Officer O'Ryan
The Strip1951Fluff
Excuse My Dust1951Harvey Bullitt
The First Legion1951Monsignor Michael Carey
He's a Cockeyed Wonder1950Bob Sears
Never a Dull Moment1950Mears
Riding High1950Happy
When Willie Comes Marching Home1950Herman Kluggs
Red, Hot and Blue1949Charlie Baxter, Press Agent
Jolson Sings Again1949Steve Martin
Sorrowful Jones1949Regret
Whispering Smith1948Bill Dansing
Night Has a Thousand Eyes1948Lieut. Shawn
The Sainted Sisters1948Vern Tewilliger
On Our Merry Way1948Floyd
Variety Girl1947Barker
The Perils of Pauline1947George 'Mac' McGuire
The Jolson Story1946Steve Martin
Our Hearts Were Growing Up1946Peanuts Schultz
Pardon My Past1945Chuck Gibson
Hollywood Victory Caravan1945ShortBill, the Security Guard
Duffy's Tavern1945William Demarest
Along Came Jones1945George Fury
Salty O'Rourke1945Smitty
The Great Moment1944Eben Frost
Hail the Conquering Hero1944Sgt. Heffelfinger
Once Upon a Time1944Brandt
Nine Girls1944Walter Cummings
The Miracle of Morgan's Creek1944Constable Edmund Kockenlocker
True to Life1943Uncle Jake
Dangerous Blondes1943Detective Gatling
Stage Door Canteen1943William Demarest
Johnny Doughboy1942Harry Fabian
Life Begins at Eight-Thirty1942Police Officer
Behind the Eight Ball1942McKenzie
The Palm Beach Story1942First Member Ale and Quail Club
Pardon My Sarong1942Detective Kendall
My Favorite Spy1942Flower Pot Policeman
True to the Army1942Sgt. Butts
Glamour Boy1941Papa Doran
Sullivan's Travels1941Mr. Jones
All Through the Night1941Sunshine
Dressed to Kill1941Inspector Pierson
Country Fair1941Stogie McPhee
Ride on Vaquero1941Bartender Barney
Rookies on Parade1941Mike Brady
The Devil and Miss Jones1941First Detective
The Lady Eve1941Muggsy
Little Men1940Constable Tom Thorpe
Christmas in July1940Mr. Bildocker
Comin' Round the Mountain1940Gutsy Mann
The Golden Fleecing1940Swallow
The Great McGinty1940Skeeters - The Politician
The Farmer's Daughter1940Victor Walsh
Wolf of New York1940Bill Ennis
Laugh It Off1939Barney 'Gimpy' Cole
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington1939Bill Griffith
Miracles for Sale1939Quinn
The Cowboy Quarterback1939Rusty Walker
The Gracie Allen Murder Case1939Police Sgt. Ernest Heath
King of the Turf1939Arnold
The Great Man Votes1939Charles Dale
While New York Sleeps1938Red Miller
Peck's Bad Boy with the Circus1938Daro
Josette1938Joe, Diner Owner
One Wild Night1938Editor Collins
Romance on the Run1938Police Lt. Eckhardt
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm1938Henry Kipper
Rosalie1937Army Coach
Big City1937Beecher
Wake Up and Live1937Radio Station Attendant
Blonde Trouble1937Paul Sears
Easy Living1937Wallace Whistling
The Great Gambini1937Sergeant Kirby
The Great Hospital Mystery1937Mr. Beatty
The Hit Parade1937Parole Officer
Oh, Doctor1937Marty Short


Dangerous When Wet1953performer: "Ain't Nature Grand", "I Got Out Of Bed on the Right Side"
The Strip1951performer: "A Kiss to Build a Dream On"
Riding High1950performer: "The Whiffenpoof Song" 1909 - uncredited
The Great Ziegfeld1936performer: "Look for the Silver Lining" 1921 - uncredited


The Mike Douglas Show1979TV SeriesHimself - Actor
The Merv Griffin Show1979TV SeriesHimself - Guest
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson1973-1978TV SeriesHimself / Himself - Guest
A Thanksgiving Reunion with the Partridge Family and My Three Sons1977TV MovieHimself
Celebrity Bowling1976TV SeriesHimself
The Jerry Lewis Show1963TV SeriesHimself
Here's Hollywood1961TV SeriesHimself
Red Skelton Timex Special1960TV MovieHimself - Guest
Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse1959TV SeriesHimself
The 27th Annual Academy Awards1955TV SpecialHimself - Audience Member
KTLA Premiere1947TV MovieHimself
Meet the Stars #6: Stars at Play1941Documentary shortHimself

Archive Footage

Television: The First Fifty Years1999Video documentaryUncle Charlie O'Casey
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color1980TV SeriesMr. Hummel Wilbur MacDougall
Gunfight at Black Horse Canyon1961TV MovieJeb
The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Story1951Documentary


Won Awards

1960Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameMotion PictureOn 8 February 1960. At 6667 Hollywood Blvd.

Nominated Awards

2008TV Land AwardTV Land AwardsFavorite NannyMy Three Sons (1960)
1968Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a ComedyMy Three Sons (1960)
1947OscarAcademy Awards, USABest Actor in a Supporting RoleThe Jolson Story (1946)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

Write A Comment

Pin It