Charles Winninger: Actor (1884-1969) (1884 - 1969) | Biography
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Charles Winninger

Charles Winninger

Charles Winninger
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Actor
Was Actor Stage actor
From United States of America
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender male
Birth 26 May 1884, Athens, USA
Death 27 January 1969, Palm Springs, USA (aged 84 years)
Star sign Gemini
Spouse: Blanche Ring
The details (from wikipedia)


Charles J. Winninger (May 26, 1884 – January 27, 1969) was an American stage and film actor, most often cast in comedies or musicals.


Winninger began as a vaudeville actor. His most famous stage role was as Cap'n Andy Hawks in the original production of Show Boat, the Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein II musical classic, in 1927. He played the role in the 1932 stage revival and the 1936 film version of the show. He became so identified with the role and with his "persona" as a riverboat captain that he played several variations of the role, notably on the radio program Maxwell House Show Boat, which was clearly inspired by the Broadway musical.

Winninger's pre-Code film career includes Night Nurse, a 1931 Barbara Stanwyck drama about two little girls being systematically starved to death by the family chauffeur, played by Clark Gable. Winninger portrays a kindly physician who attempts to save the suffering children. After the film of Show Boat in 1936, Winninger appeared in 1936's Three Smart Girls (as the father of Deanna Durbin's character), 1937's Nothing Sacred (as the drunken doctor who misdiagnoses Carole Lombard's character), 1939's Destry Rides Again (as Wash, the sheriff), 1941's Ziegfeld Girl (as the father of Judy Garland's character), and 1945's State Fair (as Abel Frake). He returned to Broadway only once more – for the 1951 revival of Kern and Hammerstein's Music in the Air.

Winninger had the lead role in only one film, 1953's The Sun Shines Bright, John Ford's remake of Judge Priest. Winninger played the role that Will Rogers portrayed in 1934.

Winninger made a notable television appearance in 1954 in I Love Lucy as Barney Kurtz, the former vaudevillian partner of Fred Mertz (played by William Frawley) in an episode titled "Mertz and Kurtz". He made his last film in 1960.

Personal life

On November 12, 1912, Winninger married actress Blanche Ring. They were divorced on June 12, 1951. He married Gertrude Walker in 1951, which lasted until his death.


Winninger died in 1969 and is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles.


In 1960, Winninger received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his radio contributions.

Complete filmography

Winninger in State Fair (1945)
  • Mister Flirt in Wrong (1915, Short) - Mr. Rawsberry
  • Lizzie's Shattered Dreams (1915, Short) - 2nd Stranger from the City
  • The Doomed Groom (1915, Short) - The Groom
  • A September Mourning (1916, Short) - The Artist
  • Pied Piper Malone (1924) - Louie - the Barber
  • The Canadian (1926) - Pop Tyson
  • Summer Bachelors (1926) - Preston Smith
  • Soup to Nuts (1930) - Otto Schmidt
  • Fighting Caravans (1931) - Marshall
  • Bad Sister (1931) - Mr. Madison
  • Gun Smoke (1931) - Tack Gillup
  • God's Gift to Women (1931) - John Churchill
  • Night Nurse (1931) - Dr. Bell
  • Children of Dreams (1931) - Dr. Joe Thompson
  • The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931) - Photographer
  • Flying High (1931) - Doctor Brown
  • Husband's Holiday (1931) - Mr. Reid
  • Social Register (1934) - Jonesie
  • Show Boat (1936) - Cap'n Andy Hawks
  • White Fang (1936) - Doc McFane
  • Three Smart Girls (1936) - Judson Craig
  • Woman Chases Man (1937) - B.J. Nolan
  • Cafe Metropole (1937) - Joseph Ridgeway
  • The Go Getter (1937) - Cappy Ricks
  • You Can't Have Everything (1937) - Sam Gordon
  • Nothing Sacred (1937) - Dr. Enoch Downer
  • Every Day's a Holiday (1937) - Van Reighle Van Pelter Van Doon
  • You're a Sweetheart (1937) - Cherokee Charlie
  • Goodbye Broadway (1938) - Pat Malloy
  • Hard to Get (1938) - Ben Richards
  • Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939) - Judson Craig
  • Babes in Arms (1939) - Joe Moran
  • Destry Rides Again (1939) - Washington Dimsdale
  • Barricade (1939) - Samuel J. Cady
  • If I Had My Way (1940) - Joe Johnson
  • Beyond Tomorrow (1940) - Michael O'Brien
  • My Love Came Back (1940) - Julius Malette
  • Little Nellie Kelly (1940) - Michael Noonan
  • Pot o' Gold (1941) - C.J. Haskell
  • Ziegfeld Girl (1941) - 'Pop' Gallagher
  • The Getaway (1941) - Dr. Josiah Glass
  • My Life with Caroline (1941) - Bliss
  • Mister Gardenia Jones (1942, Documentary short) - John Jones
  • Friendly Enemies (1942) - Karl Pfeiffer
  • Coney Island (1943) - Finnigan
  • Hers to Hold (1943) - Judson Craig
  • A Lady Takes a Chance (1943) - Waco
  • Flesh and Fantasy (1943) - King Lamarr (Episode 3)
  • Broadway Rhythm (1944) - Sam Demming
  • Sunday Dinner for a Soldier (1944) - Dudley 'Granfeathers' Osborne
  • Belle of the Yukon (1944) - Pop Candless
  • State Fair (1945) - Abel Frake
  • She Wouldn't Say Yes (1945) - Doctor Lane
  • Lover Come Back (1946) - William 'Pa' Williams, Sr.
  • Living in a Big Way (1947) - D. Rutherford Morgan
  • Something in the Wind (1947) - Uncle Chester Read
  • The Inside Story (1948) - Uncle Ed
  • Give My Regards to Broadway (1948) - Albert Norwick
  • Father Is a Bachelor (1950) - Professor Mordecai Ford
  • Torpedo Alley (1952) - Oliver J. Peabody
  • The Sun Shines Bright (1953) - Judge William Pittman Priest
  • A Perilous Journey (1953) - Captain Eph Allan
  • Champ for a Day (1953) - Pa Karlsen
  • Those Were the Days (1953, TV Movie)
  • Las Vegas Shakedown (1955) - Ernest Raff
  • Raymie (1960) - R.J. Parsons
  • The Miracle of the White Reindeer (1960) - Zoo Keeper (final film role)

Radio appearances

Year Program Episode/source
1942 Philip Morris Playhouse Friendly Enemies
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 21 Apr 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is Charles Winninger best known for?
A: Charles Winninger was an American stage and film actor, known for his comedic roles. He was best known for his portrayal of Captain Henry Berg in the musical film "Show Boat" (1936).
Q: When and where was Charles Winninger born?
A: Charles Winninger was born on May 26, 1884, in Athens, Wisconsin, United States.
Q: What was Charles Winninger's career in theater?
A: Charles Winninger had a long and successful career in theater. He made his Broadway debut in 1912 and went on to appear in numerous productions, including the Ziegfeld Follies. He was highly regarded for his comedic timing and ability to deliver humorous lines.
Q: What were some of Charles Winninger's notable films?
A: Some of Charles Winninger's notable films include "Broadway Melody of 1936" (1935), "Springtime in the Rockies" (1942), and "The Sun Comes Up" (1949). He often played lovable and comedic characters in his films.
Q: Did Charles Winninger receive any awards for his acting?
A: Charles Winninger received a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his role in the Broadway production of "Take Me Along" in 1960. His talent and contributions to the entertainment industry were recognized and celebrated.
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