Partner Gavin Gordon
Columbia University (Ivy League), 116th St and Broadway, New York, NY 10027
Boys and Girls High School, 1700 Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY 11213, Stati Uniti
Oberlin College, 173 W Lorain St, Oberlin, OH 44074, Stati Uniti
Belleigh Acres, 5521 Amestoy Ave, Encino, CA 91316, Stati Uniti
Forest Lawn Memorial-Parks & Mortuaries, 1712 S Glendale Ave, Glendale, CA 91205, Stati Uniti
Edward Everett Horton (March 18, 1886 – September 29, 1970) was an American character actor. He had a long career in film, theater, radio, television, and voice work for animated cartoons. Leading man Edward Everett Horton was well known to be homosexual, and Franklin Pangborn, whose name would forever be linked with Horton's in their later movie careers, also top-lined Majestic shows. Borth Horton and Pangborn began appearing infrequently in movies in the 1920s. During the movies' own pansy craze, no sissy was more famous than Horton. Extremely popular with audiences and within the industry, he was called by Frances Marion "one of the kindest men in theatrical business." As manager and lead actor of Los Angeles' Majestic Theater, Horton was both part of and separate from the movie industry.
Horton was born in Brooklyn, New York (then an independent city), to Edward Everett Horton, Sr., a compositor for The New York Times, and Isabella S. Diack. His mother was born in Matanzas, Cuba, to George Diack and Mary Orr, natives of Scotland. He attended Boys' High School, Brooklyn, and Baltimore City College, where he was later inducted into their Hall of Fame.
He began his college career at Oberlin College in Ohio. However, he was asked to leave after he climbed to the top of a building, and after a crowd gathered, threw off a dummy, making them think he had jumped. He then attended Brooklyn Polytechnic, followed by Columbia University, where he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi.
Horton began his stage career in 1906, singing and dancing and playing small parts in vaudeville and in Broadway productions. In 1908, he joined the troupe of noted actor Louis Mann, from whom he learned all the basics of the theater: props, sound effects, stage management, acting. With A Fool There Was, the play Theda Bara would make famous on the screen, his overwrought, hysterical husband brought the house down.
In 1919, he moved to Los Angeles, California, joining the Thomas Wilkes company at the Majestic Theatre in Los Angeles and he began acting in Hollywood films. He signed up for three films at Vitagraph. His first starring role was in the comedy Too Much Business (1922), and he portrayed the lead role of an idealistic young classical composer in Beggar on Horseback (1925). His biggest silent-screen success was Paramount's Ruggles of Red Gap (1923), playing the "veddy" proper English butler made more famous by Charles Laughton a decade later.
In 1925, Horton purchased 21 acres in the district of Encino and lived on the property at 5521 Amestoy Avenue until his death. He named the estate, which contained Horton's own house and houses for his brother, his sister and their respective families, Belleigh Acres. In the 1950s, the state of California forced Horton to sell a portion of his property for construction of the Ventura Freeway. The freeway construction left a short stump of Amestoy Avenue south of Burbank Boulevard and shortly after his death, the city of Los Angeles renamed that portion Edward Everett Horton Lane.
Becoming a producer himself, he leased the Vine Street Theatre, later the Huntington Hartford, in February 1928. Perhaps the quintessential Horton play was "The Nervous Wreck," costarring Lois Wilson, which he'd performed first for Wilkes in 1923 and played again with his own company. Although he gave up stage-producer status in early 1930, he continued appearing in local productions, and his legacy as a producer was trumpeted by critics.
Horton's companion for many years was actor Gavin Gordon, who was 15 years his junior and had been an actor with his company. They both appeared (but shared no scenes) in only one film, Pocketful of Miracles (1961). They also appeared together in at least one play, a 1931 production of Noël Coward's Private Lives.
In the late 1920s, Horton starred in two-reel silent comedies for Educational Pictures, and made the transition to talking pictures with Educational in 1929. As a stage-trained performer, he found more film work easily, and appeared in some of Warner Bros.' early talkies, including The Terror (1928) and Sonny Boy (1929).
Horton starred in many comedy features in the 1930s, usually playing a mousy fellow who put up with domestic or professional problems to a certain point, and then finally asserted himself for a happy ending. He is best known, however, for his work as a character actor in supporting roles. These include The Front Page (1931, he's Bensinger, the pansy reporter who, by contrast, assures the heterosexual credentials of Adolphe Menjou and Pat O'Brien, "All those New York reporters wear lipstick."), Trouble in Paradise (1932), Alice in Wonderland (1933), Design for Living (1933, directed by Ernest Lubitsch where he played the cuckholded husband), The Gay Divorcee (1934, the first of several Astaire/Rogers films in which Horton appeared, he is Astaire's fairy friend "Aunt" Egbert, who plays with dolls and waxes nostalgic about his childhood pale pink pajamas), The Merry Widow (1934, directed by Ernest Lubitsch, where he is the harried ambassador), Top Hat (1935), Danger - Love at Work (1937), Lost Horizon (1937), Holiday (1938), Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), Pocketful of Miracles (1961), It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), and Sex and the Single Girl (film) (1964). His last role was in the comedy film Cold Turkey (1971), in which his character communicated only through facial expressions.
In 1938, the New York Times headlined its piece on Edward Everett Horton "Hailing a New Horton." The actor, the Times observed, had "developed a certain muliebrity of manner which has caused certain of the more captious among filmgoers to accuse him of effiminacy... That's why it's all the more remarkable to find Edward Everett Horton, of all people, playing a straight college professor (in the film Holiday, ironically directed by George Cukor). Suddenly a new Horton is hatched, a Horton without a double-take-em to his name, without grimaces or mock shudders, a Horton with authentic dignity and, crowning wonder, a Horton married to a wife who respects his manly feelings."
Horton continued to appear in stage productions, often in summer stock. His performance in the play Springtime for Henry became a perennial in summer theaters.[
From 1945-47, Horton hosted radio's Kraft Music Hall. An early television appearance came in the play Sham, shown on The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre on 13 December 1948. During the 1950s, Horton worked in television. One of his best-remembered appearances is in an episode of CBS's I Love Lucy, in which he is cast against type as a frisky, amorous suitor, broadcast in 1952. In 1960, he guest-starred on ABC's sitcom The Real McCoys as J. Luther Medwick, grandfather of the boyfriend of series character Hassie McCoy (Lydia Reed). In the story line, Medwick clashes with the equally outspoken Grandpa Amos McCoy (played by Walter Brennan).
He remains, however, best known to the Baby Boomer generation as the venerable narrator of Fractured Fairy Tales in The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show (1959–61), an American animated television series that originally aired from November 19, 1959, to June 27, 1964, on the ABC and NBC television networks.
In 1962, he portrayed the character Uncle Ned in three episodes of the CBS television series Dennis the Menacee. In 1965, he played the medicine man, Roaring Chicken, in the ABC sitcom F Troop. He echoed this role, portraying Chief Screaming Chicken, on ABC's Batman as a pawn to Vincent Price's Egghead in the villain's attempt to take control of Gotham City.
Horton died of cancer at age 84 in Encino, California. His remains were interred in Glendale's Whispering Pines section of Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery.
Edward Everett Horton Lane ends at Burbank Boulevard, and begins in the shadow of the Ventura Freeway. On the other side of the boulevard is a bus stop also named for Edward Everett Horton, between bus stops at Aldea and Balboa. The borderline of Anthony C. Beilenson Park is directly across the street from the corner of Burbank Boulevard and EE Horton Lane. The opposite end of the lane leads to a foot bridge that overlooks the Ventura Freeway and ends up on the Amestoy Avenue side.
British Radio DJ and Comedian Kenny Everett adopted the name of Everett in honor of Horton who was a childhood hero of his. (Kenny's real name was Maurice Cole)
For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Horton has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6427 Hollywood Boulevard.
My published books:
BACK TO HOME PAGE