Charley Grapewin: American actor (1869 - 1956) | Biography
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Charley Grapewin
American actor

Charley Grapewin

Charley Grapewin
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American actor
Was Actor Stage actor
From United States of America
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender male
Birth 20 December 1869, Ohio
Death 2 February 1956, Corona (aged 86 years)
Star sign Sagittarius
The details (from wikipedia)


Charles Ellsworth "Charley" Grapewin (December 20, 1869 – February 2, 1956) was an American vaudeville performer, writer and a stage and silent and sound actor, and comedian who portrayed Aunt Em's husband, Uncle Henry in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's The Wizard of Oz (1939) in grayscale and black-and-white, as well as Jeeter Lester in the film version of Tobacco Road and Grandpa Joad in the film The Grapes of Wrath (1940). He usually portrayed elderly folksy-type characters in a rustic setting, in all appearing in over 100 films.


Born in Xenia, Ohio, Charles Ellsworth Grapewin ran away from home to be a circus acrobat which led him to work as an aerialist and trapeze artist in a traveling circus before turning to acting. He traveled all over the world with the famous P. T. Barnum circus. Interestingly, Grapewin also appeared in the original 1903 Broadway production of The Wizard of Oz, 36 years before he would appear in the famous Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film version.

After this he continued in theatre, on and off stage, for the next thirty years, starting with various stock companies, and wrote stage plays as a vehicle for himself. His sole Broadway theatre credit was the short-lived play It's Up to You John Henry in 1905.

Grapewin married actress Anna Chance (1875–1943) in 1896 and they remained a devoted couple until her death some 47 years later. Two years after his first wife's death, Grapewin married Loretta McGowan Becker on 10 Jan 1945.

Grapewin began in silent films at the turn of the century. His very first films were two "moving image shorts" made by Frederick S. Armitage and released in November 1900; Chimmie Hicks at the Races (also known as Above the Limit) and Chimmie Hicks and the Rum Omelet, both shot in September and October 1900 and released in November of that year. During his long career, Grapewin appeared in more than one hundred films, including The Good Earth, The Grapes of Wrath, Tobacco Road, and in what is probably his best-remembered role: Uncle Henry in The Wizard of Oz. He also had a recurring role as Inspector Queen in the Ellery Queen film series of the early 1940s,.

Grapewin died of natural causes in Corona, California at age 86, and his ashes are interred with his wife's in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California, at the Great Mausoleum's Columbarium of Inspiration.

Partial filmography

  • The Shannons of Broadway (1929)
  • The Millionaire (1931)
  • Hell's House (1932)
  • The Big Timer (1932)
  • Are You Listening? (1932)
  • Lady and Gent (1932)
  • No Man of Her Own (1932)
  • The Kiss Before the Mirror (1933)
  • Heroes for Sale (1933)
  • Midnight Mary (1933)
  • Pilgrimage (1933)
  • Beauty for Sale (1933)
  • Torch Singer (1933)
  • Judge Priest (1934)
  • Caravan (1934)
  • The President Vanishes (1934)
  • Anne of Green Gables (1934)
  • Party Wire (1935)
  • One Frightened Night (1935)
  • Shanghai (1935)
  • Alice Adams (1935)
  • Rendezvous (1935)
  • Ah, Wilderness! (1935)
  • The Petrified Forest (1936)
  • Small Town Girl (1936)
  • Libeled Lady (1936)
  • Sinner Take All (1936)
  • The Good Earth (1937)
  • A Family Affair (1937)
  • Captains Courageous (1937)
  • Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937)
  • The Bad Man of Brimstone (1937)
  • Of Human Hearts (1938)
  • The Girl of the Golden West (1938)
  • Three Comrades (1938)
  • Three Loves Has Nancy (1938)
  • Listen, Darling (1938)
  • Stand Up and Fight (1939)
  • The Wizard of Oz (1939)
  • Dust Be My Destiny (1939)
  • The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
  • Johnny Apollo (1940)
  • Rhythm on the River (1940)
  • Texas Rangers Ride Again (1940)
  • Tobacco Road (1941)
  • They Died with Their Boots On (1941)
  • Follow the Boys (1944)
  • Gunfighters (1947)
  • Sand (1949)

Prior to The Wizard of Oz, Grapewin appeared in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's Broadway Melody of 1938 with both Judy Garland (Oz's Dorothy) and Buddy Ebsen (Oz's original Tin Man). He also appeared with Garland in Listen, Darling.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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